Issues and answers: Ray Scott and Bob Hislop
The Daily Sentinel asked Republican House District 54 candidates Ray Scott and Bob Hislop four questions on topics immediately facing the region. Below are their answers, edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation, but otherwise printed in their entirety. Each candidate was asked to limit his responses on each question to 100 words or less:
1) Recent laws have favored natural gas over coal. How would you promote one without hurting the other, or the environment?
HISLOP: “I don’t believe that it is government’s place to favor one industry over another. The industry that can deliver the best product at the cheapest rate without damaging the environment should be the recipient of the business. We need to let the free market and the entrepreneurial spirit of Coloradans develop the best and cheapest source of energy for the consumer. It isn’t the government’s job to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”
SCOTT: “I don’t believe in breaking one industry to fix another. It makes no sense. The coal industry and natural gas industry are both important to HD54 and must be protected to insure jobs now and for the future. Natural gas has a market currently worldwide, as does coal. It is the industry’s responsibility to promote these products. Government needs to stand down and let the free markets dictate the future demand of each product. From the state standpoint we should encourage new technology be used by either industry to make our environment is safe, it is in their best interest to do so. We should monitor, not control these industries. The state needs to be environmentally responsible without federal guidance.”
2) What is the first bill you would introduce that would help boost jobs in the district?
SCOTT: “The government cannot legislate job creation. Free markets can. We must lift any restriction, fee or regulations that are identified to stifle job growth by working with business owners to create a business-friendly environment, and then stay out of the way and let the free markets work. I would introduce a bill to promote free markets and address the above mentioned problem.”
HISLOP: “The repeal of the 12 tax credits hurt our consumers, agriculture, ranching and businesses. Returning these tax credits would put money back into the pockets of our employers. This would give them the opportunity to hire workers with these extra funds instead of laying off workers to pay for the new taxes.”
3) Immigration issues have returned to the forefront. How would you balance dealing with that issue without hurting the region’s agriculture workforce?
HISLOP: “Immigration is a federal issue that isn’t being addressed by the feds. If the states need to step up, as Colorado has, and embrace strong illegal immigration laws, then so be it. Legal migrant workers can obtain the appropriate visas to be part of our agriculture workforce. There is a need for temporary out-of-country workers and the federal government needs to establish a successful temporary worker program that oversees the departure of these workers when the job is completed. I would suggest the consideration of the “Red Card Solution” being put forward by the Krieble Foundation of Colorado.”
SCOTT: “The federal government has put the states in a terrible position. The Arizona law was passed to enforce the law that the federal government can’t seem to enforce. We have laws for a reason. They must be enforced. A worker program has to be established at the U.S. borders. Once illegals enter a state, how do you control the problem? I feel a worker visa program makes sense to make sure there are workers, but it must be controlled to make sure they return to their home when a job is complete. They must pay taxes as citizens pay, and for any other services they need. If they want to become a citizen, go through the process and become a legal U.S. citizen.”
4) The state budget always is an issue. What single thing would you push to cut right away?
SCOTT: “I would propose what any small business owner is doing today. As a small business owner, I am peeling the onion back layer by layer to see where I have waste. Every business has waste, but it must be identified and eliminated. I believe that every department within state government needs to be peeled back to see how much waste is taking place, how many assets need to be disposed of to generate revenue, how many agencies may be better run by private industry. Another area of concern is the supposed 4,000 new hires under the (Gov. Bill) Ritter hiring freeze. What was the purpose, and can most or all of them be eliminated to drive down costs?”
HISLOP: “We need a zero-based budget. Start with last year’s budget numbers, and have all department/agencies work with last year’s numbers with zero increases. They can make cuts where necessary, but not ask for increased funding. Additionally, a real hiring freeze needs to take place. Not a freeze that increases the size of the state government, but one that actually reduces the ballooning bureaucracy.”