Lemon hopes to sour Miller’s election bid in House race | SummitDaily.com

Lemon hopes to sour Miller’s election bid in House race

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County is shaping up as the battleground for a neophyte Republican from Eagle-Vail seeking to prevent a two-term Leadville Democrat from representing the new 56th District in the state House of Representatives.

The one sure thing in this election is that Summit County will have the attention of the winner and won’t be relying on a distracted Front Range representative.

Redistricting this year formed a new district that includes Summit, Lake and most of Eagle County, minus the Roaring Fork Valley drainage.

Heather Lemon, the Republican nominee, believes her Eagle County professional and community work will carry the day there.

Incumbent Carl Miller, a Democrat who can serve only one more two-year term, should win Lake County. Summit is the toss-up. If Lemon’s theory holds, Miller will need a big vote from Summit to offset Eagle and augment the small voting population in Lake County.

While Miller offers a solid record of protecting Western Slope water, promoting tourism, cutting taxes and supporting business, Lemon offers “fresh leadership for how we live.”

“Carl is term-limited in two years. This is a new district. It needs fresh ideas to go with it,” said Lemon, who calls herself a “common-sense Republican.”

She, too, supports tourism promotion and small business protections. She believes water should be guarded, and existing reservoirs should be enlarged.

“Miller has been on the committee that hears water bills for six years- I have not seen one bill suggested by him. It is OK to block legislation, but that doesn’t fix the problem. We need to be proactive,” Lemon said.

“The Western Slope has to take the lead. We cannot wait for Denver to come up with a solution,”

Lemon, 49, is an attorney who practices what she calls “positive law.”

She will not do divorce or criminal cases and instead focuses on immigration and small business law. She is also a real estate broker.

“Doesn’t everybody have two jobs? I have two jobs, three teen-agers and a very supportive husband,” the candidate said. Lemon said she would be considered liberal on immigration issues.

“My opponent would send everybody back to Mexico,” Lemon said. Lemon said local businesses depend heavily on immigrant labor and ways must be found to give illegal workers legal status.

“When you find out how many workers are not legal here and ask the employers how well they would do if all of them were shipped back, you do not get positive remarks,” Lemon said.

Immigration law is a federal, not a state, issue. Lemon said the federal government should issue a waiver period where illegals could apply to be legal.

At the state level, Lemon said driver’s licenses should not address a person’s immigration status, and should be issued on driving ability alone, not on proof of being a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder.

“The purpose of a driver’s license is for driving, not as a national identification card,” Lemon said.

She said if the state changed this law, it would cut down on people driving without a license.

“Rep. Tom Tancredo would not agree with me,” she said of the Littleton U.S. congressman, a Republican who is leading a fight against illegal immigration.

If elected, Lemon said she wants to make herself a health-care expert in the legislature, based on some extreme health-care situations her family experienced. Health insurance needs reforming, she said.

She also said Colorado’s Medicaid program is so liberal that people move to the state to be treated under the program.

“It is growing at a rate that does not match population growth,” Lemon said.

Lemon offered “no easy solutions” to health-care issues, but promised to take the time “to investigate” improvements.

According to Lemon’s campaign literature, she believes in legislation that protects property rights, educational choice and free exercise of the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms.

The Colorado Conservation Voters (CCV), an arm of the Sierra Club endorses Lemon over Miller. In the last legislative session, Miller voted positively on CCV issues 50 percent of the time. In the battle of endorsements, Miller points to his backing by the National Federation of Independent Business-Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA and the Colorado Public Affairs Council, an arm of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Jim Pokrandt can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 227, or jpokrandt@summitdaily.com

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