Editorial: Senate District 16: a tossup | SummitDaily.com

Editorial: Senate District 16: a tossup

Summit Daily editorial board

Just as the voting public doesn’t always overwhelmingly approve a candidate, so, too, did the Summit Daily editorial board find itself stumped in the Senate District 16 race. Vying for the seat being vacated by Democrat Dan Gibbs (who’s running unopposed for Summit County commissioner) are Gilpin County Commissioner Jeanne Nicholson, Democrat, and Tim Leonard, Republican from Evergreen.

In the absence of a clear consensus from our board, we can only relate what some of the arguments were for and against these candidates.

For Leonard, proponents cited his business experience, stance on immigration reform and support for non-traditional educational funding such as charter schools and vouchers. They see him as a staunch advocate for small business and like what he says about reducing the size of government and his idea to cut 4.5 percent across the board from the state budget. They also like his statements about the proper role of government, which is not to create jobs but to get out of the way and let the free market do its thing.

Detractors cited Leonard’s inability to take a stand against the terrible ballot questions Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101 and were also deeply concerned about Leonard’s extremely conservative views and affiliation with the ultra right-wing American Constitution Party – the party of Tom Tancredo. His views on the value of public education are troubling. And they didn’t see Leonard as a logical successor to Gibbs in this seat and would see him as the most conservative member of the state Senate – not exactly a good fit for representing moderate Summit County.

Proponents for Nicholson like her background as a public health nurse, her on-the-ground government experience as a county commissioner and her moderate views on most issues. As a commissioner from another mountain county and frequent visitor to Summit, Nicholson is seen as the candidate who would best share and represent the views of Summit County voters. Nicholson also is a strong supporter of public education and women’s reproductive rights.

Detractors see Nicholson as a typical Democrat wanting to just throw money at every problem and see her as likely to simply “rubber-stamp” anything her party puts in front of her. They also did not see her as willing to take a strong stand against illegal immigration and were bothered by her support for the recent health care reform bill. Nicholson, they said, is a vote for the status quo and bigger government.

We encourage a vote for the candidate you think would best represent Summit County in the state Senate.

-The Summit Daily Editorial Board consists of Matt Sandberg, Alex Miller, Ryan Wondercheck, Maggie Butler, Jim Ernst and Miles Porter.

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