The Republican primary race for the Second Congressional District began in earnest this weekend at a meeting of the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots in Larimer County. State Senator Kevin Lundberg and businessman Eric Weissmann both addressed the monthly meeting of the tea party group in Estes Park. Senator Lundberg mentioned that it was the first time the two candidates have met on the campaign trail.
The event was specifically not formatted as a debate. Both candidates largely focused their comments on Representative Jared Polis.
Having served as their legislator since 2003, Kevin Lundberg is well known in Estes Park. Lundberg opened his remarks by discussing the concept of natural rights–our rights are given to us by a higher power, not by government. Senator Lundberg responded to a number of questions about the current state legislative session. Senator Lundberg introduced a bill to set two criteria for licensing of children day care centers. First, health and safety and second an affordability criteria.
Sen. Lundberg at Estes Park Meeting
Lundberg has been a vocal critic of new state regulations for day care centers that contain numerous specific mandates for regulatory compliance. For example, the regulations specify the number of crayons provided to each child and that a certain number of displays at each day care must include “realistic” depictions of nature. “I’m not opposed to any particular displays,” said Lundberg, but he believes the state has no business focusing on such details of how a day care operates. Lundberg contends that witnesses who testified in favor of the detailed regulations based their appeal on a conflicting idea. “They say ‘we can’t trust day care center operators to know what’s best for children,” said Lundberg. At the same time, state witnesses told the panel that the legislature needs to “trust us [the regulators].”
Lundberg also questioned Polis’ opposition to the Pioneer Act amendment, a provision that would require leasing of federal lands for oil shale development. Altough the technology does not yet exist to extract oil shale for production, Lundberg wants the federal government to recognize its great potential. Lundberg said that the U.S. has a 1 trillion potential reser
Eric Weissmann recognizes question
Eric Weissmann is a political newcomer. Weissman contended that Polis “didn’t learn anything” from his private sector experience, based upon his voting record. “Polis thinks he’s smarter than you, me, or any of us. We need to be able to make our own decisions,” said Weissmann, instead of Washington making all sorts of decisions for us. Weissmann provided a lengthy list of harmful Polis votes, including Polis’ votes for the stimulus bill, cap & trade energy, and the Dodd-Frank bill, and his recent opposition to the Kestone pipeline. “Polis votes 89% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, 2% of the time with the GOP, and 9% of the time he did not show up,” Weissmann asserted.
Weissmann contended he entered the race in part to provide coattails to state legislative and local races. “I know how to build and organization with resources,” said Weissmann. Weissmann doesn’t like talking about process, but “process is important” to success.
During a series of audience questions, Weissmann explained that Jared Polis’ opposition to school reform convinced him he needed to run against Polis. Weissmann called Polis the night before a vote on school choice for the District of Columbia, one of America’s worst urban school districts. Polis opposed the bill. The Heritage Foundation has multiple posts about teacher union opposition to the SOAR Act. The bill’s sponsors were House Speaker John Boehner and (drummed out of the Democratic Party for being too) independent Senator Joe Lieberman. Polis stuck with the unions rather than disadvantaged children in the District of Columbia.
President Obama’s latest budget again eliminated funding for DC School Choice— schools the President won’t allow his own children to attend. Both Polis and the President are opposing a reform effort that has produced substantially higher graduation rates at a lower cost to taxpayers. School choice for DC residents began in 2003. If Polis and the President have their way, it will end this year.
Weissmann has been involved in multiple organizations committed to school reform, including the Alliance for Choice in Education (school choice scholarships to assist low-income parents), Colorado Uplift (a mentoring program to empower urban youth to lead successful lives) and the Wellness Initiative (wellness program for low income K-12 students). In other words, Weissmann is working to ensure that all Colorado children, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, have educational opportunity.
Polis contended as recently as Sunday that he is a staunch supporter of education. Perhaps he meant to say unions that fund Democratic Party candidates.
In the meantime, Rep. Jared Polis claimed to kick off his re-election campaign in Fort Collins on Sunday. That claim raises more questions about whether Polis violated House ethic rules by conducting official business in Loveland–which is not yet in his district. Lovelandpolitics.com and this blog have raised the questions. In responding to a question, State Senator Kevin Lundberg noted that a Polis staffer also attended a Loveland School District meeting and spoke in her official capacity. Since Loveland is not yet in Polis’ district, that would appear–if true–to be a clear violation of House ethics rules. The traditional media have thus far declined to investigate these stories, nor has the Denver Post written any follow-up to allegations concerning allegations of Jared Polis’ insider trading based on legislative knowledge.
Polis even called Sunday for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Polis is thus taking his cuts from another Boulder County resident–U.S. Senator Mark Udall. As the Republican campaigns get underway, Polis will begin sounding more moderate by the day. Conservatives face the need to choose a standard bearer who can prevail in November.
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