Mike Mason, candidate for House District 61, is touting limited government, competition in education, lower taxes and fewer regulations in his quest for office.
Mason is one of three Delta County Republicans running for election in November. Matt Soper is a candidate for House District 54, and Olen Lund is bidding for the state Senate District 5 seat currently held by Democrat Kerry Donovan.
Mason and his wife Judy live on a 300-acre farm near Cedaredge where they raise alfalfa, grass hay, wine grapes, horses, chickens, raspberries and blackberries. This year, they became licensed hemp producers. "If elected, I will support Don Coram's efforts to reduce expensive and unnecessary regulatory compliance so more farmers can participate in the burgeoning demand for hemp," he said.
Mason was born in Long Beach, Calif., to parents he describes as refugees from the Great Depression. He joined the U.S. Navy and later earned a degree in physics from the University of Illinois. He worked in the aerospace and computer industries. He and Judy were married in 1992, and in 1997 they followed their heart's desire and moved to the Western Slope.
Mason has run for local office three times, twice as county commissioner and once for the school board.
He elaborated on his political stance:
"I support energy independence and diversification, both renewable and fossil, at competitive rates. I want to protect state water rights from federal encroachment. I oppose public funding of Planned Parenthood and abortions. I believe everyone has an unalienable right to defend themselves, their loved ones and their property. I also think teachers and school staff who have had military or police training and that volunteer should be allowed to conceal carry and that the state should certify and pay for annual recertification and training for school staff who volunteer for this task.
"We had a terrible example of the failure of the present right to farm law here in Delta County," he continued. "A farmer was forced to spend $750,000 to successfully defend his right to farm winning every case up to and through the Colorado Supreme court. I want to fix the state right to farm law so that it is effective and shields farmers from predatory lawsuits as happened here."
Mason is the only Republican in the House District 61 race, so his first, and only, test will be the November election. He is working on setting up a finance committee, identifying a campaign manager, and establishing a website.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.