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HD 61: Mason, McCluskie

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During the Oct. 2 debate, House District District 61 candidates answered five questions each.

Mike Mason, R, introduced himself by saying he wants to "empower people" by stopping "so much spending." He believes in cutting taxes and regulations.

Julie McCluskie, D, is a Colorado native who wants to make sure we tackle a "broken health care system." Additionally, she wants to focus on education.

Mason was asked if climate change is real. "No," he said, referencing his physics background for helping him understand data. "The use of climate change to stop fossil fuel development is wrong," he said.

McCluskie was asked how the state can help keep small local hospitals functioning. "We have to do more to protect them but also grow our own health care providers," she said.

Mason was asked, "How would you tax electric cars to support road infrastructure?" He responded that it's difficult, but one way might be to look at the odometer and adjust ownership tax by the miles driven.

McCluskie was asked if she would make it illegal to purchase gas emission vehicles after 2020. "I would not," she said. She believes in alternative energies, but wants to keep the community in mind.

Mason was asked if it should be mandatory that all new homes have rooftop solar panels. The answer was a firm "no."

McCluskie: "What do you propose to do to help special districts seeing revenue for real estate taxes decline?"

First, she acknowledged how the amendment the question referred to is "putting a stranglehold" on many communities. However, she sees the amendment as a pathway forward.

Mason was asked "Has TABOR served Colorado well? If not, why?" He says he advocates for the ballot box.

Remote areas of Colorado are not best served by legislation pointed at high population areas. McCluskie emphasized the need for collaboration and outreach. "I am proud to say I have received the endorsement of the Rural Alliance of Colorado," she said.

Mason was asked, "Should pensions or health care insurance for government employees be paid for by the taxpayers?"

"That's a hard one," he responded. The government needs to be reasonable with it, he explained.

McCluskie's final question focused on lobbyists. "There are a number of organizations that advocate for policy and in turn they work with lobbyists," she said. Essentially, McCluskie sees the value in having advocates to meet the needs of those they're serving.

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