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Politics

Boulder And Larimer County Party Chairs Weigh In On Colorado Election Issues

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Colorado Senate GOP
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A steady stream of ballots has been flowing into the Secretary of State's office since early voting began in mid-October. Now with just over a week until the election, KUNC’s Brian Larson discusses a few of the ballot questions and the possible change of power at the statehouse with Larimer County Republican Party chair Bob Moraine and Boulder County Democratic Party chair Ellen Burnes.

Interview Highlights

On some contested races that may change the balance of power in the Colorado Senate:

Bob Moraine, Larimer County Republican Party: We have a contested race for Senate in Senate District 15 in Larimer County – Rob Woodward and Rebecca Cranston. It’s been held by Republican Sen. (Kevin) Lundberg for the past two terms. We believe we’ll be able to hold that, Rob has run a very strong race. Obviously, we are not counting it until Nov. 6, but we believe we’ll hold that. So, as far as keeping the majority in the Senate statewide, we think we are doing our part.

Ellen Burnes, Boulder County Democratic Party: I have so much respect for Rebecca running in Larimer County. Also Tammy Story -- she represents the southern part of Boulder County as well, so we're really we’ve been actively supporting her and Faith Winter. Faith just has such an incredible track record from the statehouse and the national leadership she's provided as well, that I certainly hope that all three – or hopefully – least one of those women are elected.

On propositions 109 and 110, which both address transportation funding but in different ways, confusing voters:

Moraine: The frustration with transportation across the state right now is very high and I could see voters seeing two ballot issues, both addressing transportation, because of frustration and not fully understanding the ramifications of each voting yes on both, which, since they’re so opposite in their approach, could be a real challenge for the legislature moving forward.

On the other hand, it could also be all right. I don't know which of these I should choose I'm just gonna say no until we get a better question. So, I'm really not sure how that's going to move forward.

Burnes: I think two questions on the same issue is confusing. We would suggest no on 109 and yes on 110 though just as general guidance. No on 109 because it diverts money from education and others within the same very limited TABOR spending and in the state. And then 110 would provide the new funding to do the work that is required.

Morain: As a Larimer County Republican Party, we don't actually take positions on all the various ballot issues but our candidates have, and each one of our candidates is stressed that they're supporting 109 and encouraging opposition to 110 for the very reason that we don't believe that the voters and the state can afford increases in taxes the way that 110 would have it. And the and the measure itself doesn't mean that we're going to put all that money and improving the roads and bridges that we want to improve. The money can be used for other so-called transportation initiatives that are not the immediate need that people are actually going to vote for.

On Proposition 112, which would increase setback distances for oil and gas operations to 2,500 feet from the current 500-foot setback from homes and 1,000-foot setback from schools:

Burnes: First of all, it’s important for voters to understand that 112 is a statutory, not a constitutional, change. And so that means that as we go forward, our legislature, regardless of the control of the legislature, has the ability to make amendments to that or even take it out if it weren't working for Coloradans the way we expect.

So, we're asking for 112. We've tried to put it in legislatively, we tried other things and were really – the ability to have local control in the state is still imperative – that, I think, at the end of the day is why Boulder County supporting this.

Morain: This will limit oil and gas exploration dramatically over the next several years, the value of properties will go down, the economic support both through tax base and just through general revenues in the economy will be severely impacted.

The Democrats worry about funding education, and oil and gas severance taxes are a big part of funding education today. That will be a severe impact. Our candidates are recommending against it.

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