Written By: Josh Speer
There is a lot going on this election cycle. The presidential, congressional, and plenty of state and local-level elections are all involved in their own election process. This article will be focused on the race for District 2 of the Colorado House of Representatives, between incumbent Alec Garnett (D) and challenger Paul Linton (R).
There are precisely 469 seats up for election on November 8th for the U.S. Congress. Of these 469 seats, the Senate (or “Upper House”), who only elect two senators per state, account for 34 of the open seats, while the remaining 435 open seats involve the House. The majority of Senate seats that are vulnerable to loss belong to Republicans, who have twenty-four seats to defend, as opposed to their Democratic counterparts, who only have ten. Going into this election, Republicans currently hold the largest U.S. House majority since 1928. In order for Democrats to “flip the chamber”, they would have to pick up at least thirty seats.
With sixty-five total seats up for grabs in this state, the Colorado House of Representatives is considered one of twenty key battleground chambers. With a total of thirty-four seats, as opposed to the Republicans who hold thirty-one, the majority of our House is currently held by Democrats. Due to term limits, though, eight seats are open and have no incumbent running. Also a product of term limits, more Democrats (seven) than Republicans (one) are ineligible for re-election.
This campus in Westminster is part of Colorado’s 2nd congressional district that also encompasses other northwestern Denver suburbs such as Boulder, Thornton, and Northglenn. Mountain towns like Idaho Springs, Vail, and Grand Lake are also included. Our current incumbent, Representative Alec Garnett [D], is one of the two candidates running for this specific seat in office. His challenger is Paul Linton [R].
Alec Garnett [D]
Democrat Alec Garnett is a fourth generation Coloradan. He completed his Masters Degree in public administration at the University of Colorado-Denver, and has since committed his life to public service. He served as Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Perlmutter out of Washington D.C. While in this position, he helped draft and pass legislation such as Epilepsy Centers of Excellence Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). He returned to Colorado to help run his father’s campaign for Colorado Attorney General and went on to become Executive Director of the Colorado Democratic Party. In 2014, he won in a landslide with 72.6% of the vote with his election to chamber.
Garnett’s proposals on his campaign website for higher education are to eliminate student loan debt for those attending state schools and implementing a tax that would have them pay back 3% of their income to the state upon graduation and going into the workforce. He also claims he will fight for better accessibility and to reduce the overall cost of a college education. For grade school children, he wants to secure a universal, full-day of kindergarten for all and a half-day of preschool for those who want it. He wants to fight against the spread of vouchers and the privatization of public schools.
He is also an advocate for strict gun laws. He references the 2013 guns laws passed in Colorado, House Bills 13-1229 (universal background checks), 13-1228 (implemented a background check fee), and 13-1224 (prohibits the sale, transfer, and possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines), and his desire to expand upon them. One specification he lays out on his website is his desire to fight against concealed carry permits on college campuses.
Paul Linton [R]
Republican attorney Paul Linton is incumbent Alec Garnett’s opponent in this race. Linton was educated at the University of Denver – Sturm College of Law. He also earned an A.B. in History and Political Science from the Ivy League school, Brown University, in 1968. He happens to be a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve, and has been a practicing attorney since May 1976. His entry into politics was when he ran against Anne McGihon [D] in 2008 for District 3 of the State House. However, McGihon was ultimately the victor.
The Republican Party’s stance on college student loans that are granted by the government differ from their Democratic counterparts. The Party opposes government-granted student loans, however, it is in support of the government serving as an insurance guarantor. They believe “efforts should be taken to provide families with greater transparency and the information they need to make prudent choices about a student’s future.” Directly opposing the Democratic Party position that supports expansion of these programs.
Concerning matters of grade school education, he takes the conventional Republican stance of questioning the efficiency of Common Core, the funds allocated to public educational institutes, and the authority of the Department of Education. The party believes that “enormous amounts of money are being spent for K-12 public education with overall results that do not justify that spending.” He points out how the money being spent per pupil reaches upward of $20,000 at some institutions per year. At some schools in the suburban Front Range area, that number is approximately $10,000.
Linton takes the official Republican position on gun rights which “opposes legislation such as assault weapons bans, high-capacity magazine bans, and registering ammunition” as they are “intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights.” Citing, of course, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 which ruled that their ban on firearms violated constitutional rights. Speaking of the erosion of constitutional rights, he also questions the authority of the National Security Agency (NSA) and The Patriot Act signed into law by George Bush in 2001.
In conclusion, be sure to take each of these positions into consideration before heading to the polls. The last day to vote is November 8th. If you don’t live in the vicinity of the 2nd congressional district, please do check out the rest of the Colorado House of Representative candidates at Ballotpedia.