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Colorado House District 43

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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  • Candidate picture

    Barrett Rothe

  • Candidate picture

    Scott Wagner

  • Kevin Van Winkle

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 (720)263-2301
Background Barrett works full-time in the health care industry, he and his wife also own a small-business in Highlands Ranch. Barrett holds an MPA from the University of Colorado, Denver. He and his wife have a 2-year-old daughter and are expecting their second girl at the end of the year.
Twitter @rothecolorado
I think the people of my district are rightfully concerned about education, infrastructure, and affordable health care, three issues that will never be completely solved in Colorado if we don’t address the impacts of constitutional provisions like TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment. To me the number one issue facing all of Colorado are these well-intentioned, but contradictory, provisions in our constitution, and I personally get frustrated when elected officials talk about solving issues like rising college tuition, public school funding, investing in roads, or fixing health care affordability without addressing the root cause: the limitations of our state budget. I love Colorado, we are a western state that prizes limited government and fiscal responsibility, but we are also common sense people. Leaders throughout the political spectrum recognize TABOR is kneecapping our state and the time to fix it is now.
I would like to see better regulation around crisis pregnancy centers that masquerade as health care/counseling services but are generally extremely biased and misleading to women seeking assistance.

As the potential increases for more interference from the Federal government in reproductive health care decisions, I think it’s more important than ever for state legislators to stand ready to protect the choice and freedoms we’ve had for half a century.

Colorado should also do more to ensure contraception is covered in health insurance plans regulated by the state and that access to contraception is available to all Coloradans.

Finally, we must stop looking at these topics as women’s issues but rather as policies that affect both women and men, their families, and all Coloradans. Framing these discussions as issues only for women can permit some men to shirk responsibility or interest.
We must do more to train, recruit, and retain educators in Colorado. That means investing in the public universities that train teachers so that they (and others) are not buried in student loan debt and it means paying teachers a professional wage that is competitive with other states.

Our school infrastructure is in a state of complete disrepair across Colorado, despite new tax revenues from cannabis being dedicated to the backlog of school construction needs.

To address both we need to have a serious, sober, and bipartisan discussion about reforming TABOR and Gallagher, two constitutional provisions in Colorado that make our school funding formulas extremely uncompetitive.
We must first reduce the amount of water we use and more efficiently utilize water in the agricultural industry, but we cannot simply reduce our way out of our future water problems. I would support measures to build on the gray water (i.e. used water) progress that we’ve made, incentivize better water stewardship, commission studies on how to sustainably grow in Colorado with an eye on water capacity, and fund new research for better water technologies in residential development and industrial uses.

I am suspicious of, but not always against, adding more storage capacity (i.e. reservoirs) because building reservoirs does not inherently mean we will have the water to fill them, and often the construction does detrimental environmental damage. As climate change diminishes our annual snow packs, we will have less water to fill existing (let alone new) reservoirs.
As the Federal government works to sow chaos in the individual health insurance market, Colorado legislators must step in to protect the people of our state. I would aggressively support a sliding scale for Medicaid eligibility so that people covered by Medicaid are not disincentivized to take slightly higher paying jobs for fear of losing all of their health insurance coverage, and netting less overall take home pay in the process. I would also support allowing Coloradans to buy into Medicaid and would petition our congressional delegation to support allowing all Americans to buy into Medicare. Although potentially unpopular, I believe we must also explore a state-level individual mandate to carry health insurance in the same way we require car insurance; if healthy people are not in the insurance risk pool then health insurance will always be unaffordable - period.
We must work with developers to add housing inventory to the Colorado market, we could streamline permitting and construction regulations without sacrificing safety or environmental protection. We need an advisory body of subject matter experts to lead our understanding of how to balance economic growth with sustainability. We also need to soberly consider how our economic development programs and business recruitment will affect affordable housing downstream and place a premium on affordable housing in our thinking. We cannot, however, just throw money at the problem and any candidate that tells you otherwise is lying. For one thing, Colorado’s budget does not have surplus room to solve the affordable housing crisis with money alone, and there’s no mechanism to just subsidize the market value of housing for most Coloradans. We have to think creatively and long-term to make a dent in affordable housing issues.
Contact phone 7207728683
Background Scott is a proud 4th generation Coloradan, a CSU graduate and has lived in Highlands Ranch since 1995. Scott ran for State House District 43 in 2016, and made the largest gains ever of any non-republican candidate! Scott is a business-oriented, youth-oriented community leader.
Twitter @ScottWagner4co
A trifecta focus on our kids and young-adults, especially those at risk. Colorado has a quiet growing statistic of juvenile and young-adult incarceration, drug use/abuse, overdoses and suicides. As a father of young adults, Scott is especially concerned about our kids, especially the ones at risk, and wants to help them. Colorado is 43rd, behind Alabama and Mississippi, in funding education, with special education severely underfunded. We are dead last in funding mental health as measured by number of available beds. Juvenile justice, mental health, and education do not serve each other well. Scott wants to decriminalize truancy and foster and fund great programs like the grant-based Douglas County Support Center that serves kids with the learning disability of social emotional disorder. Currently this program only can serve 15 kids a quarter from the entire Denver metro area!
No changes, protect women's right to choose and access to reproductive health care and education.
As mentioned earlier, education is underfunded, especially special education. We need to find ways to support the amendment of TABOR and funneling new sources of revenue, like pot sales tax revenues, to have the real funds needed to fund all the areas that are impacted by growth, to keep a vibrant standard of living and way of life in our beautiful state. Education is the pillar to a vibrant standard of living.

Shop classes are all but gone from our high schools, which in my day kept a lot of people in school and gave them invaluable, hands-on project-based learning and problem solving skills and craftsmanship experience. It is needed more than ever today to have balance in our digital world. With our growth, our trades are sorely in need of young people with an interest in learning and working them. I would propose and support bills that promote cooperation and incentives between business, our trade unions and high schools to bring shop classes back as extracurricular.
Twenty plus years ago, legislation was proposed to put warning labels on houses in new developments that had water sourced from non-replenishable aquifers; the development lobbyists ensured that did not go forward. We must limit such growth and make courageous decisions and actions like this for the long term. We need legislation that provides incentives for business/technology innovation to recycle our waste water safely and at scale. The technology exists and this can also keep Colorado established as a leader in environment friendly and business friendly innovation. Let's look at tax incentives for xeriscaping. Do we really need all this green grass in a high-plains desert, at the expense of our scarce, precious resource?
States like Alaska, Oregon, and Minnesota have successfully implemented reinsurance programs to help bring down the cost of care for their citizens, and we can do the same right here in Colorado. Reinsurance programs help reduce the risk to insurers of covering high-cost claims, which the insurers often pass on to consumers in the form of higher premiums. A reinsurance program for Colorado would protect all consumers from prohibitive premium hikes and bring down the high costs of insurance for middle-class rural Coloradans who earn too much to qualify for tax credits but struggle to afford their premiums. And back to mental health, pay me now or pay me (much much more!) later. Making sure our children have access to quality mental health care resources in the places where they spend the majority of their days, their schools, is a critical need in districts across the state.
I support's recommendations that promote increasing funding and financing tools that encourage the development and preservation of affordable housing within Colorado, including:

Identifying a permanent and dedicated source of funding for affordable housing development and rehabilitation; Increased and maximized funding of the Affordable Housing Grants Line Item and the Homeless Solutions Program Line Item in the State Budget; Enhancements to the Colorado Housing Investment Fund that serve to maintain existing resources and sustain long term expansion of resources; Policies that encourage the development and preservation of affordable housing units in Colorado through federal and state low income housing tax credit programs and private activity bonds; Policies that support efficient deployment of state resources that are consistent with program priorities to support increased rental and homeownership opportunities across Colorado
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