Matt Soper: Irvine for HD61

Matt Soper
Austin, Colo.

Earlier this year I explored running for Colorado House District 61, and after meeting Debra Irvine, I discovered the best man for this office is a woman. As a native of Delta County, a recent law school graduate, and the youngest member of the Orchard City Town Council, I was honored to nominate Debra at the Republican assembly back in April.

This past week I attended a debate between Irvine and her opponent, David Justice, at Orchard City’s town hall. I was flabbergasted by Justice’s lack of knowledge regarding Colorado water law. He rhetorically asked the question: “Don’t water rights come with the real property?” Justice then made the case for the Riparian Doctrine. As a “scholar of the Constitution,” he sure doesn’t know the law. The Colorado Doctrine, as Debra Irvine correctly pointed out, stems from the ratio decidendi in Yunker v. Nichols (1872), and codified in right to appropriate clause of the Colorado Constitution, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Coffin v. Left Hand Ditch (1882).

Water is the life blood of Colorado, and in particular, House District 61, which contains two of the state’s largest river basins. It is horrifying to think a potential representative doesn’t know the basics of water law and policy. How could Justice ever begin to defend our water from greedy Front Range or downstream interests?

Justice has more baggage than just blatant ignorance of water law. He has been arrested at least once for failure to present a valid driver’s license.

Debra Irvine is the sensible choice to be our next state representative, and her platform of focusing on jobs, quality education and energy production is the right direction for Colorado.

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