Independent candidate Nick Thomas is running for the 2nd Congressional District | SummitDaily.com

Independent candidate Nick Thomas is running for the 2nd Congressional District

Nick Thomas is an independent candidate running for the 2nd Congressional District.

With the amount of advertising the main parties bombard us with during election season, it might seem like a binary option: Democrat vs. Republican, like a much more unpleasant Coke vs. Pepsi. However, independent candidate Nick Thomas is trying to give the 2nd Congressional District's largest voting bloc — unaffiliated voters — a choice and a voice.

Thomas, who has worked as an aide to former Boulder state senator Ron Tupa as well as running several small businesses along with various other positions in business and government, said he felt compelled to run after the 2017 congressional baseball shooting.

"I was in D.C. when Rep. Scalise and others were shot, and I asked what happened," Thomas said. "The shooter asked an aide if the politicians practicing on the field were Democrats or Republicans. When they said Republicans, he pulled out his weapon and opened fire. Had the aide said Democrats, he might have walked away. It was not a random shooting, it was anger against one side."

Thomas said that it stuck with him, that rage the terrorist felt against a political party.

"It represented the craziness of our culture, or media or whatever else is wrong in this country right now," he said. "The other side is so evil he couldn't talk to them, he had to shoot them. It's a striking statement about society and how dangerous our division has become."

Thomas markets himself as a socially progressive, fiscally responsible independent who has worked with both parties, but answers to no party boss — just the people. He sees Teddy Roosevelt as his inspiration, and fashions himself a "Rockefeller Republican," and seeks to woo moderate Republicans who are embarrassed of Donald Trump as head of their party.

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Thomas is the only CD-2 candidate willing to self-limit his service to three terms, and has not accepted any PAC contributions or other special interest money. His latest FEC statement shows less than $7,000 in contributions, all from private donors.

"One of the fundamental issues I'm running on is getting money out of politics," he said.

"I'm working with a reformist caucus, a coalition of 200 previous governors, congressmen and ambassadors to get money out of politics, as it has become so acidic to our politics."

While not native to Summit, Thomas said he spent several summers in Breckenridge and attended Breckenridge baseball camp. "Breckenridge holds a special place in my heart," he said.

To that end, Thomas said he cares about the issues affecting High Country residents, especially health and transportation. He said that he sees the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," as a "hollow shell" of what it was supposed to be.

"It was actually based on Republican ideas for health care, starting with Nixon and developed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts," he said. "So Obama adopted it and dared Republicans to vote against it, which they did because of tribalism."

Long-term, Thomas supports radical healthcare policy reform as outlined in the Simpson-Bowles plan, or single-payer health care. Short-term, he sees the solution to driving down health care costs is being able to import cheaper pharmaceuticals from outside the country, as well as being able to buy health insurance across state lines.

Thomas said he is also the most environmentally-conscious candidate on the ballot, being the only candidate to endorse Proposition 112's 2500 foot setback on oil and gas drilling. He has spoken passionately about climate change and is concerned about looming water shortages in the west.

Finally, Thomas says transportation is his "bread and butter," and sees the Winter Olympics as a major catalyst for bringing transportation and housing dollars into the state.

"The Olympics is one of the highest forms of diplomacy, with sports diplomacy as the best alternative to violence and war," Thomas said. "But the Olympics also brings a big boost to infrastructure. The Olympic villages can be used as low-income housing, and the Olympics are known for expediting transportation plans in an area by 10 years."

Thomas envisions a thriving mass-transit system in Colorado in the future boosted by the Olympics, such as a bullet or magnetic levitation train from Cheyenne to Pueblo.

"The solution can't be to just add lanes or HOV lanes on highways," he said. "The best solution is to add some form of high speed mass transportation, with the government paying for the heavy infrastructure for access and then bringing in private companies for the first and last mile." Others on the Nov. 6 ballot include Democrat Joe Neguse, Republican Peter Yu and Libertarian Roger Barris.

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