It’s an election year, and the campaign season is about to kick in (if it hasn’t already). Consequently, within the next week, both candidates for Congress in District 4 will be coming to Southeastern Colorado to meet with voters.
Karen McCormick, the Democratic candidate for Congress, is spending 6 days in the region—from September 3rd to the 8th. Her itinerary includes spending time in each of the six counties of Las Animas, Baca, Prowers, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Otero.
On Thursday, September 6th, McCormick will be out at the fairgrounds during the Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo where she’ll be in the Kiowa County Democrats Booth from 3pm to 8pm. During that time, she will be available to meet with voters and answer any questions people might have.
For his part, Congressman Ken Buck will visit Lamar and La Junta on Monday, September 10, as he holds two one-hour long “Agriculture Town Hall” sessions.
The first town hall will be in Lamar from 10am to 11am in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Lamar Community Building, located at 610 South 6th Street.
The second town hall will run from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Municipal Room of La Junta City Hall. Buck will also be joined by Congressman Mike Conaway, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Ken Buck is finishing his second term representing Congressional District 4. Prior to being elected to Congress, Buck, whose residence is in Windsor, served as District Attorney for Weld County from 2004 to 2014. As reported in a 2010 article by the Denver Post, while holding that office, Buck suspected that “Social Security numbers were being stolen by illegal immigrants” and, consequently, raided a tax service located in Greeley where more than 5,000 tax records were seized. The ACLU sued Buck’s office for violating the privacy of the tax service’s clients. The court originally ruled in Buck’s favor, but, after an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court and a defense costing the Weld County D.A.’s office nearly $150,000, the raid was deemed unconstitutional.
In 2010, Buck made a run for U.S. Senate, coming from (far) behind to defeat Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton in a hotly contested primary race. During the primaries, Buck described himself as an “underdog candidate” who was part of a “populist push for outsider candidates who will upset the Washington establishment” (Denver Post, 2010). He also positioned himself as the candidate for the Tea Party Movement, frequently campaigning on mounting government debt along with strong opposition to illegal immigration.
Buck lost his bid for the Senate when he was defeated by Michael Bennet 48.1% to 46.4%.
In 2013, Buck announced his intention to run, once again, for the Senate in opposition to the incumbent Mark Udall. However, in March of 2014, Buck withdrew from the race following then District 4 Congressman Cory Gardner’s announcement to run for Senate. At that time, Buck chose to run for Gardner’s seat and went on to soundly defeat his Democratic opponent, Vic Meyers, with 65% of the vote.
Since being elected to the Congress, Buck has become a member of the Freedom Caucus, a group of 36 Republican and Libertarian representatives who, for the most part, make up the most conservative segment of the Republican Party.
Buck currently serves on the Judiciary Committee including the Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security plus Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. He is also on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, including the Subcommittee on Government Operations and on the Interior.
According to the governmental website govtrack.us, legislation that Congressman Buck has sponsored falls largely into the categories of Government Operations and Politics, Taxation, Economics and Public Finance, Public Lands and Natural Resources, Law and Crime and Law Enforcement.
However, Congressman Buck recently introduced a bill that was passed by a unanimous vote in the House—a rare occurrence, these days. The bill, known as the WATER ACT, will amend the tax code to allow mutual irrigation and ditch companies to reinvest revenue earned from non-member sources. Essentially, the bill would allow water supply and storage companies, like ditch companies, to maintain their nonprofit status even if more than 15 percent of their revenue comes from non-members. The current tax code can cause problems for water districts that sell outside of membership, such as to oil and gas companies.
August is typically the month when legislators use the recess to campaign; however, according to social media listing town hall events, Congressman Buck has only held a “tax cuts” town hall at the Lone Tree Brewing Company in July. The congressman did, however, participate in several functions attended by GOP supporters.
Buck is being challenged by Democrat Karen McCormick, a practicing veterinarian who resides in Longmont. In a somewhat unusual occurrence, both candidates for the Democratic nomination were veterinarians; nonetheless, McCormick was able to win the primary and take on Buck in November.
The old adage “a new broom sweeps clean” may apply to this situation as McCormick is a newcomer to politics and does not have to run on her record as an elected official. However, her website provides a more than perfunctory glimpse into her background.
McCormick has lived in Colorado for 23 years and been married to husband, Gregg, for 28 years with whom she has three children. She grew up in a Navy family, daughter of a Navy fighter pilot who “served his country for 30 years”, a background that she credits with not only allowing her to see a great deal of the United States but to have an inherent understanding of what it means to be an American.
McCormick picked veterinarian medicine out of a love of “science, medicine, animals and people who rely on animals for their livelihood or are a beloved part of the family”. McCormick and her husband, Gregg who is a native of Colorado, are both small businesspeople as Gregg runs an auto repair shop in Longmont, the same town where McCormick’s small animal hospital has employed 24 people. She feels this experience has given her insight into both the challenges and rewards of being a small business owner as well as an understanding of the importance of accountability.
McCormick’s platform is extensive. These are some of the high points among the 13 issues she addresses. Top of the list is agriculture where McCormick emphasizes the importance of strong crop insurance plus effective farm and conservation programs, a free and open market, long term investment into ag research and land grant colleges plus continued development in rural areas for renewable energy plus biofuels.
She believes in accurate and complete voter rolls, redistricting that is fair and unbiased, and better control of large amounts of money that are donated to campaigns by special interest groups which “drown out the voice of individual voters”. She’s a gun owner and a strong advocate for the rights of gun owners but believes a universal background check is vital to “keeping guns out of the hands of criminals”. In regards to energy and the environment, she believes that climate change is real and must be addressed as a hazard to many things—including agriculture. She cites the increasing number of jobs that renewable energy is bringing to eastern Colorado and believes Colorado can be a real leader in this industry; however, she also recognizes that oil and gas extraction is going to continue and advocates for safe practices and responsible disposal of toxic chemicals. In terms of health care, McCormick would vote to protect Medicaid and Medicare, work to lower the cost of pharmaceuticals and make sure that small rural hospitals and clinics such as those in the Eastern Plains are protected.
McCormick’s stand on the issues are best found on her website where additional information can be found in detail. That address is www.mccormickforcongress.org
For more information on Congressman Ken Buck, including his voting record and legislation that he has introduced, go to www.buckforcolorado.com