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John Hjersman, Libertarian

Email Address: jchjersman@gmail.com

Education: Sacramento Senior High School, class of 1964; United States Merchant Marine Academy, class of 1968.

Experience: Seagoing Marine Engineer 1968-2012 (Chief Engineer since 1978); Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of El Paso County since 2015; Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Colorado since 2016

What are your priorities for the state budget for 2019-20?

My priorities for state budget will always be toward a balanced budget and toward maximizing individual liberty.

Do you support the so-called “red flag bill,” which was proposed in the 2018 session and will likely be re-introduced in the 2019 session? Why or why not? (The bill, which will likely be introduced again in the next session, would have allowed law enforcement or family members to legally remove firearms from mentally ill people deemed a threat to themselves or others.)

While I applaud the public-safety intention of the red-flag bill, I cannot get behind any motion to deny rights without due process.

Do you think there’s a need to increase state funding for transportation projects? If so, how would you propose accomplishing this?

I don’t have details to support my opinion that adjusting the state’s spending priorities to eliminate wasteful spending would provide sufficient funding to maintain our roadways. Again, without details, many transportation pet projects amount to nothing more than boondoggles that require close critical scrutiny to avoid squandering taxpayers’ wealth.

Larry Liston, Republican (Incumbent)

Campaign Website: friendsoflarryliston.com

Campaign Facebook Page: facebook.com/LarryListonHD16

Email Address: llliston16@q.com

Education: Locally, I graduated from Wasson High School. I Graduated from Colorado State University in 1975 with a BS in Business Finance. I have completed several courses on an MPA from UCCS.

Experience: I worked for 31 years as an Investment Executive-Vice President for the Royal Bank of Canada/ RBC Wealth Management. Retired in 2008. I have served for 10 years as a State Rep. for HD-16. I serve on the Business Committee and Local Govt. Committee. I served as Chmn. of the Business comm. from 2011-12.

What are your priorities for the state budget for 2019-20?

My priorities for the State budget are to continue to more fully fund our transportation system, especially for roads and bridges. In addition, I want to increase funding for rural fire districts and for wildfire fire mitigation. I would also support funding for our local National Cyber Security Center, here in Colorado Springs.

Do you support the so-called “red flag bill,” which was proposed in the 2018 session and will likely be re-introduced in the 2019 session? Why or why not?

I did not support the Red flag bill in 2018, primarily due to the fact that it had some major flaws in it, such as to who and how a firearm could be taken away from a person. Also, who pays for the storage of a person’s firearms? Lastly, there is and was a major concern about the constitutionality of the bill.

Do you think there’s a need to increase state funding for transportation projects? If so, how would you propose accomplishing this?

Yes, I strongly agree that we need to increase funding for our transportation system. We can find the money in our existing budget to fix our roads and bridges, without a tax increase. In my educated opinion, there is sufficient money in our budget to improve our roads. I support the ballot initiative “Fix our Damn Roads,” which will be on the ballot this fall.

Andrew Smith, Democrat

Campaign Website: Smith4Colorado.com

Campaign Facebook Page: facebook.com/SmithforHD16

Education: AAS — Marketing, Pikes Peak Community College; BA — Business Administration, Regis University

Experience: U.S. Army Veteran (combat engineer), worked as a legislative aide, worked with various organizations, such as Represent.us and End Rape on Campus. Currently, Andrew is an educator and youth sports coach.

What are your priorities for the state budget for 2019-20?

Our priorities should be better investment into our state infrastructure, including an expansion of public transportation and bike lanes in rural areas. We must continue to allocate resources to improving our school system while looking for ways to lower healthcare costs throughout the state. However, lowering healthcare costs should not include cutting Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

Do you support the so-called “red flag bill,” which was proposed in the 2018 session and will likely be re-introduced in the 2019 session? Why or why not?

I would support a red flag bill that mimics a bill similar to what Indiana currently has in place. I support the caveat of having a judge review the circumstances within 14 days, and if probable cause does not exist, the firearm would be returned to the individual(s). Studies have shown overwhelmingly that red flag bills help reduce suicide rates by a significant percentage. As a veteran who has lost several friends to suicide, this connects with me on a very personal level. There are concerns that such a bill would violate 2nd amendment rights, and I will always listen to voter’s concerns and ensure that those rights remain intact.

Do you think there’s a need to increase state funding for transportation projects? If so, how would you propose accomplishing this?

Colorado has traditionally been a leader in innovation, and transportation is no exception. However, that reputation is in danger of slipping as we have seen in recent years, especially along the corridor and as Colorado Springs continues to grow. Because of this, we have to find ways to increase transportation spending.

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