Mike Mason, Republican candidate for House District 61, believes in the power of people
June 20, 2018
"That government is best which governs least." The quote often attributed to Henry David Thoreau is the credo of Mike Mason, Delta County resident and Republican candidate for House District 61 this November.
Mason, 77, has a degree in physics and was an engineer for 30 years, working on projects ranging from designing instrumentation to find life on Mars to developing traffic light synchronization systems. He is also a Navy veteran, having served in the Navy for two years and ending his career as an E-5 Missile Fire Control technician.
In his golden years, Mason and his wife Judy settled down on a 300-acre farm near the town of Cedaredge in Delta, where they grow alfalfa, wine grapes, raspberries, blackberries and house livestock. Mason is also a licensed industrial hemp producer, and believes it should be released from government regulation.
Mason's approach to legislating is to empower people to live their own lives on their own land without much, if any, government interference on matters; as long as others aren't harmed. Mason proudly says that he is not a politician corrupted by the existing political system, having never served elected office before. He sees many current legislators as career politicians who are too distant from the people they represent.
"Government is essentially a group of amateurs trying to regulate people who actually do things for a living and know what they're doing," Mason said in an interview with the Summit Daily. "These are people who only know politics, they have no real-life experience, they don't have enough knowledge to run everyone's life, so why should they?"
Mason does believe government has a function outside people's private lives, doing things that individual private citizens can't do on their own.
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"Government does have a valid role at times, such as with infrastructure, law enforcement, schools," Mason said. "But the question is what role?"
When it comes to affordable housing, for example, Mason said the government shouldn't be trying to get involved.
"Why should they be in the business of affordable housing?" Mason asked, adding that private companies like ski resorts that employ people should be taking care of housing issues, not taxpayers or the government.
Similarly with schools, Mason is concerned by how the United States invests more in education than any other country with poor results. He sees that as a problem with public education that has little input from people who should matter most to students — the parents.
"The government has a monopoly over education in this country," Mason said. "The only way to fix this problem is to encourage private innovation when it comes to education, as well as giving parents the option to choose religious schooling if they think it is best."
Mason sees a similar approach to securing public schools, saying gun-free zones are a terrible idea. He said it will be cheaper and safer to train and arm teachers to protect their classrooms than to rely on school resource officers who may not be able to respond in time or are too expensive.
Mason has a lot of faith that private citizens, not the government, can take the initiative to find solutions themselves through innovation and hard work.
"I admit, I don't have answers to questions like how to fix health insurance or education," Mason said. "But I'm willing to listen to people who have ideas and solutions, solid people who have great ideas."
Mason will face Democratic candidate Julie McCluskie this November for the HD61 seat being vacated by Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), who is term limited.