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GUEST COLUMN: The era of grandstanding is over

By: Bob Beauprez
July 10, 2016 Updated: July 13, 2016 at 4:24 pm
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On June 28, Coloradans went to the polls to choose their Republican Party nominees for federal, state and local offices. In the outcome, several candidates better known for grandstanding than for effecting conservative change were sent packing.

Good.

In the aftermath, those showboats have done what they do best, trotting out the reliable card that it was a battle of "true conservatives" versus "establishment moderates."

Nothing could be further from the truth. As a board member of the American Conservative Union, founder of Colorado Pioneer Action and a former Republican state party chair, I can say objectively that most candidates engaged in the Republican primary this year are true conservatives. They support our conservative principles and support free-market, limited government policies.

Instead of good government and principled leaders we can all be proud of, too often some legislators leave us embarrassed and ashamed - not so much by their voting records, but by their ridiculous or insensitive statements and actions.

The effect of such coercive grandstanding is this: The quality and character of our legislature is degraded and many good men and women across Colorado decide never to run for office.

Let me describe the painful process of running for office in Colorado:

Suppose you are a successful small-business owner and a positive presence in your community. You care deeply about your hometown, so you decide to run to for a seat in the state legislature.

On the surface, it seems as simple as filing out some paperwork and knocking on your neighbors' doors to ask for their support.

In Colorado, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Within days of announcing, your mailbox is filled with questionnaires, surveys and demands to sign pledges of fealty. Every special interest group you've never heard of suddenly cares deeply about where you stand on their pet issues.

You now have two options, and neither is ideal. First, you can sign every pledge and answer every questionnaire, trapping yourself into ideological boxes that not-too-occasionally conflict with one another.

Or second, you can toss them in the trash. In Colorado, this is likely worse. By not meeting their arbitrary deadline, the more zealous organizations will punish your disobedience by declaring you an "enemy of liberty," "anti-gun," "pro-partial birth abortion," and any number of other absurdities that clearly don't apply to your beliefs.

Having had enough of this nonsense, last year I founded Colorado Pioneer Action, an organization devoted to encouraging principled, inspired, conservative citizens to participate in our representative democracy.

Colorado Pioneer Action has no questionnaire or pledge. We support common-sense, free-market conservative policies and leaders who have demonstrated the principles and character necessary to exercise the judgment to effectively represent the best interests of their constituents and the great state of Colorado.

Don't mistake our focus on character for a willingness to let moderates slide by. We have no use for those who betray our principles. Character, principles and empathy are all required of leaders who represent their communities well.

I have a message for every Coloradan who loves liberty, wants to make a difference, and is ready to serve for all the right reasons: We will stand with you, and together we will re-establish Colorado as the greatest state in the greatest nation on Earth.

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Bob Beauprez is a Colorado businessman, former member of Congress and 2014 Republican nominee for governor.

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