Scott McInnis: Soapbox
When a political party suffers a series of major defeats it is important that it undertakes a period of self-examination. It is a healthy and necessary review of the status quo that allows for a stronger and more focused party to re-emerge; assuming that change follows study. If properly executed, it should acknowledge past failures and result in a mechanism that allows the party to develop and provide new solutions for both our state and our nation. Like many of you, I am conservative. I am also a firm believer of inclusion, listening to the many views of the people, and examining how we can help address their needs. By includ ing all aspects of the peoples needs we can begin building a multifaceted Republican team. We must examine the various tactical strategies employed by the party to deliver its messages, and compare and contrast them with those of our Democrat opponents. For many years the Colorado Republicans held the upper hand in communication. The Colorado Republican Party was one of the first to use computers for strategic campaigning, and was the first state political party to have a web page. Today, changes in campaign finance laws have left us outmaneuvered by the Democrats via their vast sums of money and use of massive 527 operations. The Democrats do not own leadership or all good policies, but they communicate as if they do. Our party must address these challenges with new and creative solutions. Here in Colorado I see reasons for optimism. While on the federal level we suffered some major defeats, we managed to increase our numbers in the Colorado House of Representatives. We were victorious in a number of key county commissioner races from Jefferson to Garfield counties. We defeated a popular Democratic state legislator, poised to serve as the next Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. These victories didnt just happen; they were the result of multifaceted candidates who communicated with common sense and vision. People believed in them and worked for their election. When that happens, we win. There are many young Republican leaders emerging in Colorados political and business communities. These young leaders are already hard at work offering new ideas and providing the party a bright future. Their diversity is critical. Just a few short years ago we had statewide representation, even in Democrat strongholds like Boulder and Denver. In order to regain our presence in these areas, the party must recognize the need for custom representation of every district, and understand that Republican candidates need the flexibility to reflect the views and concerns of their districts citizens. A one-size or one-issue voice is a path to failure. Diversity in our ranks allowed the GOP to maintain control of the Legislature for most of the past half century, and allowed our party to put forward many groundbreaking initiatives that made Colorado the great place it is today. As we move forward I firmly believe that we will return to the strong voice we once held. We can achieve this by remaining true to our core values of limited but effective government, individual responsibility, and personal liberty. We must work together to preserve these important ideals. We must move past the notion that those in the party calling for change are a threat, and instead recognize the opportunity for reflection and self-examination. Now is the time to work together, to remember and hold true to what we stand for, and to define and reclaim our place and voice in politics.
Scott McInnis represented Colorados 3rd district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. Soapbox runs weekly on the Sunday opinion page. This spot is a forum for valley residents to comment on local topics. If youd like to con tribute, contact Naomi Havlen at The Aspen Times at 925-3414, extension 17624, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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