Council members must uphold the constitution

By Tom Huerkamp


Dear Editor:

I am writing to address every person who is a candidate for the municipal elections to be held in April. I am asking that every candidate who is victorious or who earns or retains a seat because of no opposition to remember you will take an oath.

You will raise your right hand taking an oath (you swear) and in that oath you will promise to uphold and defend the constitution of the State of Colorado. That constitution contains the 5.5 percent revenue and spending limits on all towns and on top of that the TABOR limits and formulas is also a part of the constitution. Even if you disagree with either or both you are swearing that you will abide by them in casting your votes on the various department budgets in your community.

Now I hate TABOR and campaigned hard against it as I foresaw that its greatest impact would be on small local governments. Yet serving many years in elected offices in districts and a town in Delta County I have upheld and defended these parts of the constitution and would continue to do so until such time as the voters of the state amend the constitution.

I have heard lately from candidates that 5.5 percent and TABOR Amendments are so much "hocus pocus" and present boards should not factor the impact of these on budgets. Wait a minute -- you will take an oath to uphold and defend. So before you accept a seat on a board of trustees or council you must ask yourself, are you lying not only to the residents of your community, but are you lying to yourself in the performance of your sacred duties.

Additionally Amendments 64 and 65 to the Colorado Constitution give a pathway to communities legalizing marijuana. Again you will take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. So if you oppose marijuana on any grounds (entry level drug, increased crime, destroying our youth or moral and religious beliefs) can you use your elected seat to advocate against marijuana if the majority of your board is supporting. If you do, you broke your oath.

The oath you take to upholding and defending the constitution does not contain any exceptions or variations. If your own beliefs conflict with this oath, you must set them aside. You are entitled to vote against, but if the majority prevails, then you must honor your oath or resign. Then as a citizen you can campaign against legalization in your community. But once you take that oath, you are no longer an ordinary citizen with your right to freedom of speech because you swore you would uphold and defend the Constitution of Colorado.

So if you are a person claiming the "moral" high ground, can you take and execute that oath?

Tom Huerkamp
Orchard City