Although The Daily Sentinel’s legislative endorsements primarily focus on Mesa County, we also are interested in legislative races in the surrounding region. With that in mind, we offer the following endorsements:
Al White in Senate District 8
This state Senate district includes Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt and Jackson counties, along with parts of Garfield and Eagle counties. It has been represented by Republican Jack Taylor for eight years.
We believe Republican Al White is the best candidate to represent Senate District 8. As a representative from House District 57, White has demonstrated he is a moderate member of the GOP, one willing to go against a majority of his party when he believes the situation warrants it — as when he supported Referendum C.
White, of Hayden, has also been a tireless supporter of the tourism industry and led the effort to secure additional state funding for tourism promotion in 2006. He also led efforts to protect Coloradans’ private property rights from condemnation by government entities for economic development. He carried the legislation that finally resulted in a statewide policy for concealed-carry weapons permits and created a program that allows neighboring communities — especially in resort areas — to provide affordable housing for workers.
His opponent, Democrat Ken Bremmer, is a member of the Steamboat Springs City Council. He is focusing his campaign, in part, in trying to make Colorado a leader in the new energy economy. While that is a laudable goal, he cannot match White’s record of accomplishment and bipartisanship in the Legislature.
Randy Baumgardner in House District 57
Two men with ranching backgrounds are vying to replace Al White in House District 57. Randy Baumgardner is a rancher and former employee of the Colorado Department of Transportation. Todd Hagenbuch is a former director of Historic Steamboat Springs who lives in Phippsburg, south of Steamboat, and works for the family ranch nearby.
The district includes most of Garfield County as well as Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Grand and Jackson counties.
Both men hew closely to their respective parties’ positions on things such as energy development, private property rights and taxes. In the solidly Republican District 57, Baumgardner appears best positioned to represent the residents of that area.
Scott Tipton in House District 58
Residents of House District 58, which includes part of Delta County, all of Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel and Dolores counties and most of Montezuma County, have two solid candidates to choose from in the race to replace outgoing Republican Ray Rose.
Former Montrose Mayor Noelle Hagan, a Democrat, is running against Republican Scott Tipton of Cortez, a businessman who ran for the 3rd Congressional District seat two years ago.
Hagen touts her experience in local government. She spent eight years as a member of the Montrose City Council, being elected mayor twice by her fellow council members. She also served two years on the board of the Colorado Municipal League.
She is a centrist Democrat who challenges the liberal orthodoxy on issues as diverse as gun rights and school accountability. And, while she has projects she would like to see sage government fund, she recognizes that the current economic situation is not the time to push for any expansion of state government.
However, Scott Tipton has his own type of experience — as a candidate, as chairman of the Republican Party for both Montezuma County and the 3rd Congressional District, as a member of Mesa Verde National Park Foundation and as a member of the advisory board for Pueblo Community College.
In short, Tipton is no stranger to government or its workings.
And, while Hagen sees reason to temporarily hold off on new government programs, Tipton will look for ways to restrain state budget growth all the time. In fact, he believes that legislators should examine existing state programs to see if they still meet original intentions and are necessary. Also, he wants to look at new ways of developing the state budget and producing more efficiency within state departments.
We believe Scott Tipton will best serve the residents of House District 58.