Menger in District 54

Libertarian Tim Menger knows his campaign for the state Legislature is an unusual one. As a third-party candidate, he entered the House District 54 race hoping to win 100 votes. Now he has at least a shot at actually winning.

To do that, Menger must defeat Republican Jared Wright, whose own election hopes have been hobbled by his self-inflicted scandals. There is no Democrat running.

We sincerely hope Menger defeats Wright. For one thing, as a third-party legislator in a House that may be closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, Menger could be in an enviable position of being able to seek support from both parties for legislative items important to Mesa County.

But by far, the most important reason we hope Menger wins is that Wright is simply not acceptable to represent roughly half of Mesa County in the Legislature.

He lied to this newspaper and the public about the reasons he was fired from the Fruita Police Department. He failed to tell Republican voters during the primary campaign about his personal bankruptcy, then blamed it on the economy, not his own spending practices.

Although he has started to attend some debates, Wright has basically been invisible for much of the general election season. That doesn’t bode well for constituents who might want to contact him, should he be elected and working in Denver.

Wright has declined to meet with the editorial board of The Daily Sentinel, which is certainly his prerogative. But his response to our request was to suggest the editorial board submit all questions to him in writing, and that this newspaper agree, sight unseen, to print all his responses verbatim.

We wouldn’t accept such conditions from any candidate of either party. Moreover, the purpose of an editorial board meeting is to engage in dialogue with the candidate so members of the editorial board get a sense of the candidate’s personality and character, not to seek canned responses to a predetermined set of questions.

Perhaps the biggest problem for this community, should Wright be elected, is that he would be toxic in Denver. Few people of either party would be eager to work with him, and his prospects for being the kind of powerful representative this community needs are nil.

The most important thing a lawmaker of either party can take to the Capitol is credibility, allowing other legislators to trust him and rely on him to do what he says. Wright has already squandered his credibility.

Menger, for his part, has no such baggage. He is a mostly down-the-line Libertarian. He’s committed to preventing tax increases and curbing spending. But he also believes consenting adults should be able to do what they want in most cases, without interference from government. That includes having civil unions with people of the same sex, smoking marijuana and carrying concealed weapons.

We don’t agree with everything Menger espouses, but we appreciate his willingness to meet with people in District 54 to listen to their concerns and explain his position. He would be a far better representative for Mesa County than Jared Wright.


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