Scott, Robinson let ‘er rip in bare-knuckles exchange
Republican Ray Scott isn’t the best person for the job.
Democrat Dan Robinson supports Obamacare and giving the children of illegal immigrants cheaper tuition in Colorado colleges and universities.
In what turned out to be the liveliest of the legislative debates at Club 20’s annual meeting on Saturday, the two candidates for House District 55 went at each other over various issues.
Robinson said Scott invents facts and figures to make his arguments; Scott said Robinson should try reading the state budget before talking about it.
“He proposed earlier selling off state lands,” Robinson said. “Come on. That’s the kind of irresponsible, frankly off-the-wall proposal that isn’t going to solve the problem.”
“Representative Scott. You have a 30-second rebuttal,” the moderator said.
“Rebuttal to what?” Scott said, drawing laughs from the audience.
Robinson came out swinging right away, accusing Scott of engaging in petty politics, ideological thinking and even insulting Gov. John Hickenlooper.
He said doing such things doesn’t put a legislator in a position where he can negotiate with state leaders to benefit the district.
“This isn’t the time for somebody to be representing us in Denver in a very partisan, ideological way,” Robinson said in his opening remarks. “It gives us nothing, and that’s exactly what it got us, nothing.”
Scott said it’s that kind of independent thinking that’s consistent with Western Slope sentiments.
“When you do your job as a legislator, you get challenged by the other party,” the freshman lawmaker said. “That’s exactly what we face here today. If you’re up there fighting, getting the job done, you tend to upset the other side, so therefore they float a candidate against you. That’s just how it works, folks.”
Questions for the two candidates ranged from the state’s budgetary woes to health care to lower college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.
As a member of the Colorado Mesa University board of trustees, Robinson said he and that nine-member panel has already voted to support lowering tuition for such students.
The Grand Junction attorney added that the decision has now been backed up in court, saying a federal district judge in Florida just Friday ruled that charging such students more is a violation of the federal equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Scott, however, questioned giving such students cheaper rates, saying it’s unfair to citizens and legal residents.
“If you educate a student who’s an illegal immigrant, how do they get a job when they get out?” Scott asked. “We’ve got to figure out the (immigration) problem before we start fooling around with solutions that don’t make any sense.”
He said illegal immigrants are costing the state $1.4 billion a year. “Here again we hear an example: $1.4 billion,” Robinson rebutted. “He just comes up with these numbers. Nobody’s verified that number. You can’t invent things and expect your point to be right.”
The two went on to talk about health care, hydraulic fracturing and the state’s finances.