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2018 Voter’s Guide to Ballot Issues

The official text for all these initiatives can be found on the Secretary of State’s website HERE.

Amendment V:  Lower Age Requirement for Members of the State Legislature – NO RECOMMENDATION 

 

Amendment W:  Election Ballot Format for Judicial Retention Elections – NO

Principles:  N/A

This is a solution in search of a problem.  Might decrease printing costs slightly, but the change might also confuse voters who think they are voting for all judges collectively instead of each judge individually.

  

Amendment X:  Industrial Hemp Definition – YES

Principles:  Limited government, Free markets, Property rights

By aligning our definition of “industrial hemp” with that of federal law, Colorado hemp farmers will not be disadvantaged in selling their products across state lines.

 

Amendments Y & Z:  Congressional and Legislative Redistricting – NO

Principles:  Limited government, Equal protection/Rule of law

These two are tricky.  Y refers to congressional redistricting and Z refers to legislative redistricting.  They should be considered together and voted similarly in order to remain consistent in principle.

While this amendment proposes to prevent gerrymandering by the party in power every census year, it also excludes minor parties from participating in the process. Furthermore, it places the power of redistricting into the hands of 12 people appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court and 3 former justices to create an “independent and politically balanced” board that will determine district lines.  Understand that we would be concentrating power in the hands of a few unelected, unaccountable appointees.  Recognize too, that this amendment will increase the length of the Colorado Constitution by over 12,000 words or 16% and would be extremely difficult to overturn if it doesn’t work or has unintended consequences.

 

Amendment A:  Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude in All Circumstances – YES

Principles:  Limited Government

It’s time to bury this issue.

 

Amendment 73:  Funding for Public Schools – NO

Principles:  Limited government, Equal protection/Rule of law

The reasons to oppose this are many. It does away with Colorado’s flat tax, pours more money into public schools with no accountability or guarantee of improved performance, and will tax corporations and small businesses yet again, driving them to set up shop in lower-tax states.

 

Amendment 74:  Just Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government Law or Regulation – NO RECOMMENDATION

 

Amendment 75:  Constitutional Campaign Contributions  NO RECOMMENDATION

 

Prop 109:  Statutory Authorization of Bonds for Transportation Projects (Fix Our Damn Roads)- YES

Principles:  Limited Government, Free Markets

While not perfect, this is a huge improvement over Prop 110.  No new taxes are involved, but it does increase state debt by $3.5 billion. This initiative serves as a defensive and strategic move on the part of Independence Institute and aligned liberty groups to cut the legs out from under Prop 110, which would increase the state sales tax by a whopping 21% with very little detail about how the funds would be distributed among transportation projects. 

 

Prop 110:  Statutory Transportation Funding – NO

Principles:  Limited Government, Free Markets

See Prop 109 above.

 

Prop 111: Statutory Payday Loans – NO

Principles:  Free markets, Limited government, Individual liberty/Individual responsibility

Where there’s a willing buyer and a willing seller, there’s a free market.  Government should not be allowed to dictate the terms of payday loans.

 

Prop 112:  Statutory Setback Requirement for Oil & Gas Development – NO

Principles:  Limited government, Property rights

This is a thinly-veiled attempt to ban fracking in Colorado.  While some make the case that local governments should decide whether or not fracking should be allowed within their boundaries, this would violate the property rights of those who would like to sell mineral rights to oil & gas interests.  These setbacks would take those rights away from property owners in about 85% of cases.

 

Ballot Issue 7G:  Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District Tax – NO

  • *Because this initiative affects multiple front range counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson), we are including it in our voter guide.

Principles:  Limited government, Equal protection/Rule of law

This special taxing district is run by unelected bureaucrats who want to increase the mill levy in some counties by as much as 100%.  The district is also asking to be removed from TABOR protections under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution, allowing them to increase the tax up to $24 million without a vote of the people. This is clearly “taxation without representation”.

Official text for 7G can be found HERE.

 

We also encourage you to vote for all Republicans on your ballot, especially our endorsees:  Tim Neville in Senate District 16, Christine Jensen in Senate District 20 and Tony Sanchez in Senate District 22.

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Clear the Bench Colorado evaluates performance of judges

Matt Arnold, RLCCO member and author of Clear the Bench Colorado has done the legwork on judicial performance.  For his analysis go to Clear the Bench Colorado

 

Liberty Caucus Endorses Neville, Jensen and Sanchez

   Tim Neville      Christine Jensen      Tony Sanchez
The Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado (RLCCO), the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, is endorsing incumbent State Senator Tim Neville in Senate District 16, businesswoman Christine Jensen in Senate District 20 and political activist Tony Sanchez in Senate District 22.

Neville has served in the state Senate for five years and is considered one of its most conservative members.

Jensen, former chairman of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, owns her own business.  She is a strong advocate for small businesses and a role model for female entrepreneurs.

Sanchez is a former resident of California who has seen first hand how disastrous senseless government intervention affected the once great state. He and his wife Junco created Freedom For Education, a group that advocates for student privacy rights and education options.

“All three of these districts are considered ‘must-wins’ by both major parties. We think it’s great that the three candidates in these races are libertarian-leaning.  If you’re a Constitutional conservative living in one of these districts, you’ve got a solid candidate to vote for,” says Sue Moore, Chair of the RLCCO.

Republicans hold a one seat majority in the state Senate. According to left-leaning organization Colorado Resistance, these seats are critical wins for both major parties.  Voter registration numbers in these districts are split fairly evenly between the 2 major parties and independents.

“Neville, Jensen and Sanchez are fiscal conservatives and civil libertarians. Electing all three will give new energy to the liberty caucus in the Senate going forward. The RLCCO will be encouraging its members and Tea Party allies to get involved in these three campaigns.” according to Chairman Moore.

The Republican Liberty Caucus, also known as the “Conscience of the Republican Party,” was founded in 1991.  It is a political action organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual libertylimited government and free market economics within the Republican Party. Colorado Chair Sue Moore is the former chairman of the Denver Republican Party.

For more information on the Senate candidates, please go to rlcco.org or call Sue Moore at 303-349-6185.

Three Key State Senate Races. Three Liberty Candidates. Game On.

There must be something in the water in Jefferson County.  Maybe it’s the same stuff they put in that Banquet beer up there. But if you’re a liberty-minded voter in any of the 3 state Senate races in play this fall, you’ve got a solid Constitutional conservative to vote for.  That’s unusual and a cause for celebration.  It’s also a call to arms.  We’ll get to that later.

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado is pleased to announce our endorsements of all 3 Republican Senate candidates in JeffCo: 

Senator Tim Neville (incumbent) – SD16

Businesswoman Christine Jensen – SD20

Political Activist Tony Sanchez – SD22

Our standards are quite high and our vetting process is thorough.  Just having an R after your name doesn’t cut it.  If you aren’t steeped in the Constitution and the principles of free markets, limited government and civil liberties, you won’t get very far in the endorsement process.

That said, let’s look at our most recent endorsees.

 

Tim Neville

Tim Neville – SD16

Senator Neville has been a force for liberty over his 5 years in the state legislature.  He sponsored a bill in 2017 to allow free speech on college campuses that put a stop the practice of “corralling” student activists into a small parcel of grass somewhere far from the student body and calling it a “free speech zone.”  Of all places, Senator Neville contends, colleges should be “free speech zones” from one end of campus to the other.  This bill was signed into law on April 4, 2017.

Senator Neville was also instrumental in passing a bill to reform the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Confiscating assets from citizens on the mere “assumption” that a crime has been committed without due process has been abused by law enforcement for far too long.  SB 17-1313 passed and was signed into law on June 9, 2017.

Tim was also a sponsor of this year’s bill that would require the state to adopt “least restrictive regulations for professions and occupations”.  Unfortunately, the bill died, but will no doubt be resurrected in future legislative sessions.

Having a 5-year voting record in the Colorado legislature is both a blessing and a curse for an incumbent candidate like Senator Neville.  His Principles of Liberty grade has been a consistent A to B+ for the first 4 years of his public service.  Oddly, Senator Neville scored a D+ in 2018, mostly due to his votes on bills where there were conflicting principles at play.  Regardless, it was the determination of the RLCCO Candidate Review committee that Senator Neville has, on balance, been one of the most vocal and effective champions for liberty principles in the Colorado legislature.

 

Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen – SD 20

Born & raised in Jefferson County, Christine is a mother, grandmother and small business owner in the mortgage industry, employing about dozen people.  Christine wants to bring business sense to government, especially in the area of fiscal responsibility.  She also thinks businesses are over-regulated on the state level.

Christine has 4 kids and throughout the years has navigated public, private and charter schools, and has experience in homeschooling to boot.  She’s well-versed in the strengths and weaknesses of each system and can certainly speak the language at the legislative level.

A 2016 graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, Christine has also served as Chairman of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, and still serves as the chair of their Government Affairs committee, which she started.  She serves as liaison to the coalition of JeffCo chambers and the JeffCo Business Lobby.  Christine’s district is very similar in makeup to Sanchez’ and Neville’s, with roughly 30% Rs, 30% Ds and the rest unaffiliated or minor parties.

Christine is running against former HD24 representative Jessie Danielson.  In the 2014 election, Republican Larry Queen lost to Democrat incumbent Cheri Jahn by 435 votes out of about 68,000 votes cast.  Christine has already raised over 50% more than Queen did in 2014, and has been canvassing her district for over a year.

 

Tony Sanchez

Tony Sanchez – SD22

Tony has been an activist for conservative causes in Colorado for several years.  He ran for SD22 in 2014 and won a decisive victory in the primary over Mario Nicolais, a more moderate Republican.  Tony went on to lose the general election narrowly to incumbent Andy Kerr, who is now term-limited. 

In the interim, Sanchez created an organization called Freedom For Education, proponents of school choice, education options and skills-based education for those who don’t intend to go to college.

Tony took the fight to the Colorado Board of Education to prevent educational software and app makers from collecting any data that can be linked directly back to an individual student.  HB16-1423 is now a nationwide model for this initiative and was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper on June 10, 2016.

Tony is opposed to President Trump’s tariff policies, is also opposed to the “Red Flag” bill that was considered by this year’s legislature and he doesn’t believe that having Republicans in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress has played out as well as it should have.  Our debt and deficit have continued to balloon out of control and the party isn’t willing to take tough stands on the budget, despite promises to the contrary.  Tony says he senses a lot of anger among his constituents on those particular subjects.

Tony is strong on gun rights and TABOR.  He feels that TABOR is the only reason that Colorado has continued to have a vibrant economy.  He also will emphasize accountability and transparency in government if elected,

Tony is running against Brittany Pettersen, the former representative for HD 28.  Pettersen is married to Ian Silverii, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado, an extreme left organization. 

Additional Notes:

All 3 candidates were endorsed by Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) despite the fact that all 3 refused to back the Chamber-endorsed Initiative 153 that would increase the state sales tax by .62% to fund roads and “transportation projects”.  Instead, all 3 vocally support the Independence Institute-sponsored “Fix Our Damn Roads” amendment which will fund road and bridge repair without pork projects for bike lanes and multimodal transportation.

All 3 of these Senate races are being targeted by Democrat operatives and big money donors aligned with liberal causes.  Think carpenter’s and electrician’s unions, teacher’s unions, NARAL and other national groups trying to paint our state dark blue.

Call to Action:

As an organization, Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado seeks to identify and endorse liberty-minded candidates, then works to get them elected.  It is our view that these three candidates will defend our principles of free markets, limited government and personal freedom at the state level.  If you agree, please donate to any or all of these campaigns and volunteer to help them in their quest to defend liberty in Colorado.

www.nevilleforcolorado.com

www.tonyforcolorado.com

www.christineforcolorado.org

RLCCO-endorsed Justin Everett Loses in a Squeaker to Brian Watson for State Treasurer

Justin Everett, the only RLCCO-endorsed candidate in the June 26th state primary election, lost narrowly to Brian Watson in the State Treasurer’s race.  “It was an extremely tight race, where Watson won by less than 5,000 votes. Justin ran a positive campaign for Treasurer.  His conservative bona fides were unmatched and we’re obviously disappointed in the outcome,” said Sue Moore, Chairman of RLCCO.  Watson will face Democrat Dave Young in the general election in November.

In other state races, Walker Stapleton won handily in the governor’s primary, while Wayne Williams and George Brauchler ran unopposed for Secretary of State and State Attorney General respectively.  Full results here.

Justin Everett Nabs RLCCO Endorsement in State Treasurer’s Race

Justin Everett
Justin Everett, Candidate for Colorado State Treasurer
 

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado, the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, has chosen Justin Everett to endorse in the State Treasurer’s race.  “Justin has been a consistent voice for free markets and limited government as a State Representative for the past 5 years.  He was also honored with RLCCO’s Barry Goldwater award in 2013 and has received top grades from Principles of Liberty and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers for his conservative voting record. We’re confident he’ll continue to be a loud and proud voice for fiscal conservatism in his new role as Treasurer” says Sue Moore, Chairman of the RLCCO.

The Republican Liberty Caucus, also known as the “Conscience of the Republican Party,” was founded in 1991.  It is a political action organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual libertylimited government and free market economics within the Republican Party in the United States. There are multiple state charters throughout the U.S.

“In reviewing voting records and statements made at various public forums, RLCCO has decided not to endorse in the Governor’s race.  Our standards are quite high and we don’t endorse unless we find a candidate in a race that has consistently upheld our principles.  While we like certain aspects of certain candidates, there wasn’t one that stood out for us and warranted an endorsement,” says Chairman Moore.

RLCCO is in the process of reviewing candidate questionnaires in several other races and will announce results in the near future.  For more information and summaries of the gubernatorial candidates, please go to rlcco.org or call Sue Moore at 303-349-6185.

No Endorsement from RLCCO in Governor’s Race

 

RLCCO will not be endorsing in the governor’s race.  Candidates are either not strong enough on our principles, or don’t have a voting record to draw from in order to guarantee their commitment to limited government, free markets and personal liberty. 

That aside, we offer the following analysis of each gubernatorial candidate on the primary ballot.

Walker Stapleton

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is widely thought to be the frontrunner in this race.  With name recognition, family pedigree (he’s a 2nd cousin of George W. and Jeb Bush) and strong fundraising abilities, Stapleton will most likely prevail in the primary, unless he has some major missteps (always a possibility in politics).

Stapleton’s educational background is impressive: graduate of Williams College, Masters in business economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard. 

Stapleton has worked in the private sector as an investment banker, and has served as State Treasurer for two terms.  He defeated Cary Kennedy by a narrow margin in 2010 and was reelected in 2014.

Stapleton is considered to be strong on border control and earned the endorsement of Tom Tancredo for that reason.  He has tried to be a strong voice for PERA transparency, but as only one of 15 PERA Board members, he hasn’t been able to accomplish much on that front. 

Stapleton took some heat in 2015 when he came out in support of House Bill 15-1388. The bill, which failed in a Senate committee, would have authorized issuance of Pension Obligation Bonds to lower the cost of PERA’s debt.  Stapleton drew sharp criticism from Dustin Zvonek of Americans for Prosperity who considered this a risky solution to shoring up PERA’s unfunded liabilities.  Stapleton eventually backpedaled his support of the bill.

Because the office of Treasurer has had little direct affect on public policy in the past, it’s difficult to predict how Stapleton might perform as governor.  It is largely for this reason RLCCO is not comfortable endorsing him.

Greg Lopez

The former Mayor of Parker was the surprise addition to the primary ballot when he garnered 32% of the delegate vote at the State Assembly in April. Lopez was a relative unknown going into the vote, but gave an inspirational speech, focusing on his experience running the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and his time as Regional Director of the Small Business Administration.  He emphasized his ability to attract minority and unaffiliated voters and his commitment to limited government and reduced regulations that would allow small businesses to grow and thrive.

Lopez is a charismatic and articulate speaker.  He met with the majority of our Candidate Review Committee when he came to our March meeting.  His answers to our Liberty questions were on point and it was agreed that he would be a consideration for endorsement, except for the fact that his public service career dates back to the 90’s and he too has no voting record that would indicate his commitment to Liberty principles when push comes to shove.

Lopez’s fundraising has been anemic, even after his Assembly performance.  In the May 3-16 reporting period, Lopez had only $12k cash on hand to Stapleton’s $590k.  While this doesn’t disqualify a candidate for our support, it indicates lack of a ground game.

It is notable that Greg Lopez came out strongly against House Bill 18-1436, the so-called “Red Flag” bill that would allow law enforcement to confiscate a person’s guns should a family or household member declare to law enforcement that that person was mentally or emotionally unstable.  Walker Stapleton took a less-emphatic stance against the bill, while Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson supported it.  Most Liberty-leaning folks agree that the bill is ripe for abuse and one of the worst bills considered by this year’s legislature.  It was killed in senate committee but will no doubt be resurrected in the future.

Victor Mitchell

A former State House Representative from Douglas County, Victor Mitchell is a successful entrepreneur, having started or turned around multiple businesses over his career.  Mitchell served one term in the state legislature and declined to run for second term, citing the inability of the minority party to pass meaningful legislation.  He returned to the private sector, while also lending his political influence to assist the Romney and McCain presidential campaigns.

Mitchell has put $3 million of his own money into his campaign, while only raising an additional $6k in the last reporting period.  He chose to go through the petition process to gain access to the ballot, but ultimately had to go to court to have some signatures approved. 

Mitchell has some innovative ideas on the delivery of health care in Colorado.  He proposes a West Virginia-style model where nurses and medical para-professionals are given more latitude in administering primary care in rural communities where physicians aren’t readily available.  He posits that this will increase access and reduce costs.

As mentioned above, Mitchell came out in support of HB 18-1436 which would allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms on the suggestion of a family or household member for a 72-hour period to be followed by a court hearing.

While we have our own metrics for endorsement, we also consider Principles of Liberty (POL) and Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) ratings in our assessments.  POL didn’t exist when Mitchell was in the State House, but CUT measured Mitchell’s voting record on fiscal issues well below average for Republicans during his tenure there.

Doug Robinson

A retired investment banker, Doug Robinson also hails from political royalty as the nephew of Mitt Romney.  Robinson describes himself as an outside businessman who can “get things done” in Colorado.  He has said that transportation funding would be his first priority if elected and says he will find a fix without raising taxes.

Robinson has also agreed that RTD and alternative forms of transportation need to be supported although he hasn’t been specific about how much he would allocate to those vs. roads and bridges.

Like Victor Mitchell, Doug Robinson chose to collect petition signatures in order to gain ballot access. The Secretary of State’s office initially rejected Robinson’s petitions because he was 22 signatures short in the 2nd Congressional District. After filing suit, a judge ruled that Robinson should be added the ballot on the grounds that he had collected over 11,000 total valid signatures, which exceeded the 10,500 required overall.

Robinson also came out in support of the “Red Flag” bill, though did some backpedaling recently in an interview with Colorado Public Radio.  While he says he supports the idea of removing firearms from mentally ill people, he also supports due process and 2nd amendment rights.