District 54 candidates: Cut size of government

Tax-hike repeal, water protection among ideas discussed at forum

Diane Cox, holding sign, brings a “Stop Wild Govt Spending” sign to the debates at the Glacier Ice Arena.

Republican candidates for house district 54 Ray Scott addresses a small crowd at Glacier Ice Arena.

From left, Republican candidates for house district 54 Ray Scott, David Cox and Rob Hislop participate in a debate at the Glacier Ice Arena

Three Republican candidates for the District 54 House seat agreed on paring, if not slashing, the size of the state government, but offered varying priorities ranging from repealing tax increases to protecting Western Slope water during their first debate.

David Cox, Bob Hislop and Ray Scott spoke to about 40 Republicans gathered for lunch at Glacier Ice Arena, 2515 Riverside Parkway.

Scott, a Grand Junction businessman, said the Legislature itself needs reform. Cox emphasized his roots as a peach farmer on East Orchard Mesa and his familiarity with water issues. Hislop, retired from the Secret Service and Paul Mitchell Systems, said he wanted to start by undoing a signature effort of the administration of Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat who is retiring after one term.

The Mesa County Commission sued to stop the so-called mill-levy freeze, which critics said amounted to a tax increase without voter approval. Supporters said voters had approved the freeze when they approved measures lifting revenue limits on individual school districts.

The freeze should be repealed, “and that’s the first bill I’ll introduce and the one I’m going to work on,” Hislop said.

After he attended a meeting of legislators, lobbyists and candidates in Denver, Scott said he was aghast at the “human orgy” of lobbyists who promised to look to his every legislative need, from writing his speeches to writing checks to his campaign.

“Our government is not controlled by us anymore,” Scott said.

Cox told the Republicans he is looking favorably at a bill by Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, intended to prevent harm to downstream water users and said he wanted to support legislation aimed at encouraging the use of natural gas instead of oil.

Colorado’s government is overactive and needs to be reined in, Cox said.

Scott and Hislop took aim at 1,600 state workers hired by Ritter and said many, if not all, would be looking for work under a different Legislature, while Cox said the state needs to make cuts in education and Medicaid spending.


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