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Meet the candidates: House District 16

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Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 16:07:07-04

Colorado ballots have been mailed out and Election Day is coming up real soon.

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House District 16 is currently represented by Larry Liston for north El Paso County.

House District 16

The candidates in this upcoming General Election for House District 16 are Andres G. Pico (R), Stephanie Vigil (D), and John Carl Hjersman (L).

We sent out a questionnaire to the candidates regarding the recovery of COVID-19 economic impacts, legislation they hope to introduce and what they think should be done to help fund our schools. Here are the responses from the candidates who filled out the questionnaire:

Andres G. Pico

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A: Relax restrictions on businesses so that they can get back to work. Continue monitoring for health impacts but push the authority for health measures down to the County Commissions working with County Health Departments. The state should put the guidance and recommended measures out and trust our people and local communities.

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A: Allow Medicaid reimbursement for networked transportation companies and ztrip. This will make it easier for people to get to medical facilities as needed where transit options are not readily available and open up competition.

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A: Greater local control and responsibility for funding and allow funding to follow the student.

Stephanie Vigil

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A: Well to start, we can't spring to economic recovery without first prioritizing containing the spread of Covid-19, especially with a second wave potentially around the corner and so many lives on the line. I firmly believe that the economy should serve and support human beings, not the other way around, and we need to be cautious not to sacrifice what matters most for an economy that happens to look good on paper. That being said, our first priorities should be keeping people housed, especially in rentals and low-income homes, and employed as safely as possible. Pending leadership from a federal level (such as passage of the HEROES Act), it's also critical that we provide direct relief to small business owners -- actual relief, not just more loans -- that will keep them afloat until things get better.

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A: I intend to get to work on affordable housing solutions and stronger renters' rights. The lack of housing security for so many in our community takes a massive toll on our quality of life, and has enabled many landlords to become exploitative of their tenants. The scale has to be balanced in a reasonable way that doesn't give all the chips to property owners and their managers at the expense of people who rent.

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A: It's a serious problem, and one that we don't need to have in a state with an otherwise stable economy. All of Colorado's children deserve a world class education, and our long-term wellbeing depends on it. One of the things we can do in the short term is to vote yes on Amendment B and begin disentangling Colorado from the fiscal thicket. Unfortunately, successfully funding our schools is nearly impossible as long as the budget is squeezed between TABOR on one end, and Amendment 23 on the other. Correcting this requires the attention and involvement of ordinary citizens, not just our legislature, and an honest critique of what TABOR in particular has cost us as a state.

John Carl Hjersman

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A: As articulated by Cato Institute author, Michael D Tanner: Eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing regulations; Eliminate occupational zoning, particularly prohibitions on working from home; Deregulate childcare to increase its availability and affordability; Suspend scheduled minimum wage increases; and Eliminate barriers to low‐cost housing.

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A: A careful elimination of restrictive regulations, licensing, zoning, etc., that impede economic recovery and future economic freedom. Details to be developed.

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A: As articulated by the Director of the Center for Educational Freedom, Neal McCluskey: Enact universal education savings accounts; Allow any students who so desire to enroll in virtual charter schools up to a school’s capacity to serve them, and allow their public education dollars to follow them to such schools; and Let schools and districts determine whether students are receiving sufficient education rather than prescribing such measures as “seat time” for all schools. Promote action by US Congress to end state testing mandates. Education needs to revert to local control The US Constitution grants no such authority to the Federal Government.

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