GOP candidate for Senate blasts opponent for backing referendum

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck railed against Congress before the Western Slope Conservative Alliance on Thursday, but there was no showdown with another leading candidate in the race for U.S. Senate, Jane Norton.

Buck, a Republican, instead jousted with a stand-in for Norton, state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.

Norton’s father, Walter “Bus” Bergman, was buried earlier that day after a funeral at Mesa State College.

Buck took off first after the income tax, saying that Congress uses the income-tax code to pick winners and losers in the American economy. Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame for using the tax code to reward friends, he said.

He’s “the guy” to break the pattern, “because, frankly, I don’t have any friends,” he said.

Norton, Penry said, is accustomed to criticism from her time working as executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to prevent state funds being used for abortion to calling for the bureaucracy of the Department of Education to be slashed.

Norton can stand up to the Senate, as well, Penry said.

“We need somebody to kick (Nevada Democrat and Senate majority leader) Harry Reid in the shins and Jane is going to do that with her high heels,” Penry said.

Multiple federal programs need to be defunded, Buck said, citing the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Norton is the right person to pick a fight with Democrats on health care because of her background as head of the state health department, Penry said.

She also would lead the way to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, Penry said.

Buck faulted Norton for her support of Referendum C five years ago and said GOP support gave Democrats room to increase other taxes under different names, such as fees.

Republican Gov. Bill Owens, who chose Norton as his running mate, “made a bad deal” with Referendum C, but it’s now time to move ahead, Penry said.

Another Senate candidate, former GOP state Sen. Tom Wiens, has announced he will seek to petition onto the August primary ballot. A fourth, Cleve Tidwell, was unable to attend because of a death in the family.


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