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Colorado House District 35

The Colorado House of Representatives is the lower house of the Colorado General Assembly, the State legislature of the U.S. state of Colorado. The House is composed of 65 members. Representatives are elected to two-year terms, and are limited to four terms in office but can run again after a two year respite.

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    Bruce Baker
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Ken Biles
    (Lib)

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    Shannon Bird
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What would you cite as the number one issue facing constituents in the district you’re seeking to represent, and specifically what legislation would you champion to address it?

What specific changes, if any, do you think should be made to Colorado laws concerning access to abortion and reproductive health care?

What specifically are the most urgent needs of Colorado’s education system and the best legislative strategies for meeting those needs?

It is projected that Colorado will face a water shortfall by 2050 or sooner. What specific measures would you support to prevent a water crisis?

If elected, what specifically would you do to make health care more affordable in Colorado?

How would you address the growing lack of affordable housing in Colorado in terms of a specific policy or policies?

Contact phone 3035470495
Background Graduate of Lakewood HS and CU at Boulder. 3 years active duty in Army. 37 years as retail pharmacist. 4 years on Westminster City Council. Co-author of research paper on Urban Renewal. Author of numerous articles in Complete Colorado. Author of many letters to the editor in local newspapers
The Number One issue facing House District 35 is the grossly unjust school funding system in Colorado. One of the school districts in HD35 has paid the highest or second highest property tax for school in Colorado for decades. Previous representatives of HD35 have been either too poorly informed or too timid to challenge this inequity. My opponent seems oblivious to the situation.

To change the situation begins with recognizing the unfairness. The myths clouding full understanding of school funding must be sweep away. The discussion must return to the facts. The Boulder Valley and Denver Public schools have 3 and 4 times the Assessed Property Value per student than Adams 12 and Westminster. This is the basis for the high property taxes. The "maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state" is the mandate of the Colorado Constitution. The equalization necessary to reduce wealth differences has been rigged to benefit rich districts.
The Life/Choice issue is settled law. The US Supreme Court has ruled that this choice is the individual right of each women. The Court has also defined when and under what specific reasons the state may intervene.

Changing the current law is not an idea I support. I respect each individual woman's choice in deciding what is the best course of action in her specific circumstances.

People that wish to change the law have the options of proposing an Amendment to the US Constitution. I feel that such an effort is similar to Prohibition; it is a fine moral idea for persuading our fellow citizens, but a wrong idea as law that compels our fellow citizens.
As stated in my Number One issue. We must elect individuals that understand the facts, the courage to openly state their agendas, and a true concern for the inclusion and success of all citizens of our state to begin a conversation that will result in a better school funding program.

It is my experience that many elected representatives have a severe knowledge gap in understanding the education funding system. Worse, they seem not to want to understand the problems and accept their responsibility as a legislator to address the problem. For example, many people think many rural Colorado district are disadvantaged. Most rural districts have mill levies in the 20s or less while Westminster has 51.807 and Adams 12 has 63.259 (second highest in the state).
Water is finite resource. A water shortfall would be a crisis of our own making. If Colorado government does not stop subsidizing growth, we will be condemning the people that come after us to a restricted and unjust Future.

Every stakeholder in the water allocation system has a defined part of the pie. The water shortfall will only happen if Growth occurs. The question of "Why allow growth in areas that do not have the water resource to accommodate growth?" must be asked and discussed. Government's first responsibility is to the people that live here now.

Water is the area where the subsidies to growth are most unfair and destructive to the People of Colorado.
Health care is not a core function of government. A global conversation must be held to explore the exact extent to which government should pay for health care services for Coloradans. We must openly and publicly define the point at which we say No.

While this conversation is taking place: 1. Require all providers of health care to publish a price list for their services and products, including discount given to insurance companies and cash payers. 2. Require insurers to reward low demand members with significant financial payouts. 3. Explore opt-out provisions, cash in lieu of coverage, for individuals with employer provided insurance programs 4. Empower all patients in government programs a financial incentive for wisely using services. 5. Require insurers to compensate providers not in their exclusive systems including providers of alternative therapies, provided the service rendered are less than published prices.
Housing is not a core function of any state of local government. Government will never control enough properties to have meaningful impact on housing costs. The goal of all housing efforts should be owner occupied housing.

The power of cities to limit the occupancy of homes in single family neighborhoods to the owner of the property only should be confirmed by the legislature. Single family homes should be, primarily, a place for people to live the American Dream.

Investors should be restricted to rental zoned properties and the maximum number of units controlled by any owner or management group should be limited.

Honest enforcement of US immigration laws would return an estimated 130,000 people in the Denver Metro to their countries of citizenship, freeing up about 52,000 units which is 4% of total housing. The increase in housing units would lower rents while the reduction of available labor would increase wages. a double benefit for affordable housing.
The biggest issue, not just of my district, but the entire state, is government overreach. The government seems to think it has a right to dictate procedures, and require licenses and fees for everything. Do you really need a license to decorate fingernails, cut hair, or run most of the other businesses we use in our daily life? Think about everything you have to pay the government a fee, or license for in your life. It's almost everything.

Why?

By curtailing or eliminating these fees and taxes, people will have more money to spend on their families, and more freedom to do the things they really want to do.

The government has no right to interfere in your personal or business life.
I absolutely believe in a woman's right to choose. Life is sacred, and should never be brought into the world without planning, forethought and preparation. It is unfortunate that women's health has been treated as a "pre-existing condition" in the past. As far as I know, there are no government restrictions on women's reproductive healthcare. If there are, I would fight to remove them. After all, women are people too. Any person has the right to the same medical care as any other person. Gender shouldn't be a prerequisite for treatment.

The government has no right to tell you what treatment you can, or can't have. That should only be between you, and your doctor.
The government has no idea how to teach. The farther out of education the government gets, the better. Leave it up to the individual school systems and their communities, how best to educate their children. With each community acting as an experiment in better education, there are bound to be ways that work very well. Those can be picked up by school systems that are less successful, and used to benefit their schools. With several hundred educational experiments running in the state, those that don't work will be dropped, and replaced by those that do.

The government can make it easy for the school districts to communicate with each other, so that they can learn from each other's failures, and triumphs.

It doesn't take government to create the best schools, it takes involved communities, and adaptable school districts.
Water is purely dependent on what falls from the sky. The real problem with Colorado's water, is that somehow, it is owned by others down stream. Colorado, being the source for that water, should have first claim on it. There is enough to go around. By creating aquafers that store water without evaporation, in the years we get heavy snowfall, we will be able to tap into that stored water reserve during the years of drought. They can be built adjacent to the rivers that supply them, and once full, will have no effect on water flow.

Construction on such aquafers would boost the state's economy during construction, which could take a decade or more.
Affordable healthcare is simple. Require all health providers, emergency room, doctors offices and hospitals, to openly post their prices, along with the rates they've negotiated with the insurance companies. This will create competition. When Dr. Jones sets a broken bone for $400, all other doctors will have to at least match that price, or offer better services, in order to keep patients. To get more customers, Dr. Smith drops her price to $350 and adds a free sling. Now the others must do the same. The cycle continues. As prices drop, insurance will become something used for catastrophic injury, not minor cuts and bruises.

We know this works because for under $3000 anyone can have 20/20 vision with Lasik, which is not covered by any insurance. If insurance covered it, the procedure would cost $30,000. Just like Lasik, payment plans can be offered, so that anyone can pay affordable monthly payments for whatever treatment they need, instead of outrageous insurance premiums.
Housing prices are determined by supply and demand. When there is high demand (people moving here from out of state), and no housing, the price goes up.

The one thing government can do, is make it easier for new housing to be built. Fewer regulations and less red tape will allow more housing to be built at lower prices. If a builder doesn't have to pay all the licenses and fees to the government, those fees aren't passed on to the customer. With lower construction costs, and less time spent on red tape, more houses can be built in the same amount of time. That will drop prices, just like Henry Ford dropped the price of a car from a few thousand dollars, to a few hundred.

It's not what most people want to hear. Certainly not what the government, wants to hear, but it is the one way to ensure enough housing at the best possible prices, whether you pay rent or a mortgage. The faster you can build, the more houses you can sell. The more houses for sale, the lower the price.
Contact phone 303-435-3480
Background My husband and I are the proud parents of two school aged children, ages 13 and 11. I am an attorney with a background in public, corporate and commercial finance transactions. I am an active advocate for our public schools and currently serve on the Westminster City Council.
Twitter @skbird77
Too many people cannot afford a place to live in our district. We need better State policy to encourage the construction of more housing that people can afford, such as townhomes and condominiums. An increased supply of housing will help bring costs down. Further contributing to the high cost is the shortage of qualified workforce to build new homes. Our State can do more to invest in training a skilled workforce to address this concern.
I believe that we must protect women’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare. In Colorado, it is vitally important that we protect the rights that women already have to plan when and whether they will have children.
Our public schools need additional, thoughtful investment. Because we lack sufficient funding for our schools, we are unable to pay our teachers a competitive wage. This is creating a teacher shortage in our State and making it very difficult to attract and retain our teacher talent. Throughout our State, funding for each school district is not distributed equitably. Some school districts have a strong property tax base that enables them to appropriately fund their public schools, while still others, mostly in rural areas, do not. The best legislative strategy for dealing with this is to make funding our public schools a budget priority and to collaborate with the State’s superintendents, school boards and teachers to implement a fair and equitable school finance formula.
I am supportive of Governor Hickenlooper’s Water Plan and believe that that the State Legislature needs to ensure consistent and ready implementation of its recommendations. Conservation, public education regarding conservation, investment in improved water infrastructure, increasing storage capacity, vigilant protection of our interstate water interests and more strategic, complementary uses of our water will all be key components to the future sustainability of Colorado’s water supply.
In Colorado, no person should ever fear that he or she cannot afford to see a doctor when medical care is needed. I will advocate for additional pricing transparency from drug companies and hospitals. These rules will help patients be better consumers of their own healthcare services. Further, I will advocate for more funding of preventive care to reduce the incidence of chronic illnesses, which are terrible for patients’ quality of life, and costly to our healthcare system.
My answer to this question is the same as above. We need to have better State policy that encourages construction of more housing that people can afford. Because land costs are growing, construction of townhomes and condominiums are a way to bring the ultimate purchase costs for these homes down. Another key driver of housing costs is the lack of workforce to build new homes. I would like to pass legislation that funds more career, trades and technical education opportunities for students in high school and for people who have completed school and are looking for a new skill set.