Today we are happy to post the entire content of the Q&A with State Senator Doug Lamborn.
We collected questions for Senator Lamborn for about a week, and then sent him a selection of those questions, along with our traditional 11 questions, to answer and return to us by Thursday evening. Here are those questions.
But first, a quick bio. Senator Lamborn served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1995-97, and was elected to the State Senate in a special election in 1997. Senator Lamborn won re-election in SD-9 in 2002, but he is now term-limited.
Alright? On with the show...
Q&A With Senator Doug Lamborn (R-SD9)
1. How do you feel about how Republicans handled their first session in the minority in years? What surprised you about being in the minority?
I am proud of the professionalism that our Republican caucus used when trying to work with the Democratic majority. We really worked hard to accomplish our goals for Colorado despite the many misguided proposals thrown our way by our liberal friends in the majority. I was most surprised by how well our caucus stuck together to prevent inflicting the Dem’s entire liberal agenda on the people of Colorado. Perhaps the Dems best decision all session long was to end it two days early.
2. If Congressman Joel Hefley retires prior to the 2006 election, will you run for congress in CD-5?
I would be very interested in the opportunity to serve the district and my country in this way, although much is obviously beyond my control. In addition to my own admitted interest, many people, and for a variety of reasons, have approached me about this possibility. I want to be quick to add that Congressman Hefley has, in the past, compiled a good voting record. Right now I'm focused on serving the people of my Senate district, so I don't have time to think much about CD-5, although it would be imprudent not to explore the possibility.
3. What about running for office in Colorado Springs and El Paso County do you think is different than in the rest of the state? Are there things that a candidate needs to do (or doesn’t need to do) in your part of the state that wouldn’t be as necessary somewhere else?
While the El Paso County area tends to be more conservative on social and economic issues, our citizens are also concerned with the same issues as everyone else: good schools, good roads, affordable health care, a clean environment, a strong national defense against terrorism, low taxes and limited government. Voters here expect impeccable conservative credentials from their candidate.
4. You are very outspoken and active against gay marriage, abortion, and illegal immigrant rights. Are you the most conservative member of the state legislature, and if not, who would you nominate instead?
Protecting and strengthening traditional marriage and defending an unborn child’s right to life are very important to a healthy society and therefore will continue to be important to me. There are obviously many other important issues to my Senate district that I have worked on as well, including cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reducing needless regulation on business. As for who's the most conservative, there are many principled and conservative legislators and I'm proud to be listed among their number. I will continue to try to lead by example.
5. What is your opinion on religious groups, such as Focus on the Family and James Dobson, taking an increasingly active role in politics?
Dr. Dobson is a good and decent man who loves God and loves America. He and his ministry have positively impacted the lives of thousands upon thousands of people. I support the right of any religious group to participate responsibly in the public policy process and think our country is better for it.
6. You voted against the proposal to change TABOR that is supported by Governor Owens and several other Republicans. Why do you think that some Republicans supported the changes while others, like yourself, did not? Do you think that some form of changes are needed, or is Colorado’s budget fine the way it is?
Referendum C amounts to a three billion dollar tax increase. The voters knew what they were doing when they passed TABOR and we should not be looking for ways to usurp the people’s intent. Although public education should remain a top priority, we didn't have budget problems until Amendment 23 was passed, so to not address it along with Referendum C is irresponsible. Our state has a budget problem, not because of TABOR, but because too many politicians just can’t stop spending our money. So another objection I have with Referendum C is that the legislature never seriously looked this session at spending cuts. State lawmakers refuse to be put on a strict budget just like every family and business in Colorado must do.
7. You supported SB-230, the bill that would have prevented private contractors from acquiring private land in order to build a toll road or toll highway, which Governor Owens vetoed. Please elaborate on your position regarding this issue, and what you plan to do in 2006 to address it.
The current statute on private toll roads, dating from the 1800's, is unworkable. I voted for SB 230 because I felt a responsibility to represent the overwhelming public sentiment against the eminent domain powers of private toll roads. My job as a legislator is to protect the rights of the citizens who elect me and that's what I try to do.
Gay marriage and gay rights are expected to be a high-profile issue in 2006. Given that you are one of the legislators at the forefront of this issue, we’d like to spend a couple of questions talking about it…
8. In the last session you tried to use a procedural move to stop a vote on a crimes bill (eventually allowed to become law by Governor Owens), and you attempted to introduce an amendment to allow school districts to ban employees from dressing as a member of the opposite sex. What is it about gay rights issues that have made them a major part of your legislative and political efforts?
The Democrats' insistence on forcing homosexual values on Colorado is the reason legislators like me are working to protect and preserve traditional family values. In fact, even though liberal Democrats have been out of power for 40 years, and they said they were going to "avoid contentious social issues," that's the first thing they did. This is just one more reason why they're not fit to govern Colorado.
9. There are those who would argue that gay rights are a civil rights and anti-discrimination issue, and thus should not be something that falls under governmental restrictions. How do you argue against this position that the government should not be restricting the rights of certain individuals over the rights of others? Is this counterintuitive to the smaller government argument, and if not, how do you make an argument for both smaller government and anti-gay rights?
I just think that everyone should be treated alike -- special rights for none and equal rights for all.
10. “We’re talking about the budget, and they’re talking about bestiality.” -- Andrew Romanoff.
”A Republican senator said to me, "Every time Lamborn opens his mouth, Tim Gill gives another million dollars to the Democrats.” -- Mike Littwin, The Rocky Mountain News.
”We're idiots. No wonder we're in the minority.” -- Republican Senator Norma Anderson, after Republican comments at a news conference on same-sex marriage that ended up with Republican Jim Welker comparing homosexuality to bestiality.
We received a lot of comments from Republicans on Colorado Pols regarding some of the gay rights exchanges in the legislature. Some of those comments indicated a concern that the GOP is taking anti-gay rights arguments to extreme ends (such as Jim Welker’s homosexuality/ comments) while sacrificing other legislation in the process. Do you share those concerns that such “extreme” comments could be a poor strategic move, politically speaking? If so, what do you think is the more effective argument to make against gay marriage and other gay rights?
Our first priority should be to show compassion to one another and to treat everyone with civility and respect. The argument that we should be making is that given all the attacks on marriage and family these days, we should defend against yet another assault that is attempting to completely redefine the meaning of marriage.
11. You are one of the few legislators from outside the Denver Metro area who commute to the capitol each day. We all know that I-25 can be a nightmare; how long does your commute normally take, and what is your personal record for the longest commute?
It normally takes one hour, although on occasion it has been two or three hours with bad roads, bad weather, or both. I truly enjoy being with my family in Colorado Springs, so it's not a burden to me at all.
Senator, what are your thoughts concerning a potential Republican show-down in CD-5 this next cycle? You are rumored to be serious contender for a Congressional Primary in Hefley's seat - does that sort of speculation help or hurt you when you're concurrently serving in Denver. And Thanks for doing this.
You're welcome, Thinkin. If Congressman Hefley decides to retire I'll continue to explore my options, and any other speculation at this point is premature.
From ‘Rebel Rep’
Going along with thinkin's question. How are you going to be able to distinguish yourself among the (more than likely) large field of candidates? Are you concerned that your candidacy might be hurt because of your ties to the Schaffer campaign with the Coors people? And how are you going to distinguish yourself among other more right-wing candidates such as a Schulteis or Crank? Finally, if Hefley does run again, then what will you do?
I am proud to have supported both Bob Schaffer in the Primary election and Pete Coors in the General election. Either man would have served Colorado much better than the eventual winner.
As for distinguishing myself somehow, I don't know what to do other than to be true to my innermost convictions. People who know me know that I'm sincere and that I can't do a good job of, nor even care to try, posing as something I'm not. I can only be myself and let the chips fall where they may. As for your last question, whatever happens I'll continue to lead on the issues the people of my district care about.
From ‘Rebel Rep’
(Follow up) I asked this question because, as a registered voter in El Paso county, I have heard murmers among registered voters (mostly activists) who are still suffering from a bit of Coors hang-over. I understand Schaffer had a majority of activists supporting him, but when it came down to it, Schaffer lost El Paso County by 15%. My question is valid, how will the Senator appeal to the more moderate voter? You can't write these 8,000 primary voters off, just because the activists think so.
Thanks for the questions Rebel Rep. I believe all voters are primarily interested in a candidate who is honest and who will always shoot straight even though they may not agree on every issue. If I disagree with a constituent, I always try hard to listen, explain my position, and treat them with great respect. There are a number of more moderate people in my neck of the woods who support me for these reasons even though they don't agree with all my positions.
From ‘Man ‘o’ Acton’
What is your position on Referendum C to undo TABOR? Will it pass state wide?
Glad you asked Man O’ Action. I am opposed to Ref. C because it’s simply a huge tax increase and TABOR is good for Colorado. I hope C fails on this November’s ballot and will do all I can to see that it does. Also, see Question 6 above.
From Lee Gilbert
Senator Lamborn, Three items of interest to me.
- I attended your meeting April 8 at the Capitol. Could you give a status report on the Republican Study Committee of Colorado since its formation and what can be expected from the Committee in the 2006 General Assembly?
- I know that the full range of Life Issues are important to you. Do you see any elements of the Terry Shiavo experience that should affect public policy in Colorado?
- What issues will confront the 2006 General Assembly if Referendums C and D fail in November?
Thanks for writing Lee. And thank you for attending my Conservative Leadership Summit on April 1 of this year to help bring conservatives together from around the state to be inspired and educated to achieve our common goals.
The Republican Study Committee promises to be an important vehicle to advance the conservative movement in Colorado. Similar to the Congressional RSC in Washington, D.C., the Colorado RSC is fast becoming the Conservative Caucus in the Colorado Legislature.
As tragic as the Terry Schiavo case was, my hope is that it will serve to unite those who value life and work to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
If Referendums C and D fail, which I hope they do, Legislators will be forced to do their jobs and pass a budget within our means. This will be a major undertaking, obviously, because some hard choices will have to be made. But it's nothing more than families and businesses have to do all the time.
From ‘Phoenix Rising’
Senator, thank you for taking our questions.
- Republicans lost control of both houses of the State Legislature, and many people believe it was in part due to a lack of focus on important issues such as the state budget. Do you feel this was an important reason for the Republican's defeat? If so, how should Republicans address this issue before 2006?
- Conservative moral values are important to your district and, I understand, to you personally. It is rumored that a gay marriage prohibition amendment will be added to the 2006 ballot; (why) do you think this is necessary - what will it do for our State when gay marriage is already illegal and no provision of the State Constitution appears to provide the legal background of equal rights to justify a Massachusetts-like ruling?
A1: Thank you, Phoenix. Our Republican message of conservative reform resonates with the vast majority of Colorado voters. Unfortunately, that message didn’t reach the voters it needed to because it was drowned out by the Dem’s well-coordinated and well funded attack campaigns against our candidates. I don't see that the Legislature went Democrat because of overriding, statewide concerns. Each race was fairly local, so you can't conclude there was any kind of statewide mandate for the Democrats.
The lesson we must learn is that if we don't run the best campaigns to reach voters, our people will lose even though we have the best message.
A2: A good question, Phoenix. Even though Colorado currently recognizes traditional marriage in statute, a Constitutional protection is stronger than a statutory protection, which we will need to protect the definition of marriage in Colorado against those who want to challenge our legal definition.
From George Lemaitre
I keep hearing good things about you but, being from Boulder, I honestly know little about you other than what my friends say. What kind of an R are you.... Reagan or Rockefeller?? What are the main issues you work on? And what meeting did you have on April 8th at the Capitol?? Who can attend? Thanks.
Thanks for the kind words, George. I am a Reagan Republican through and through. In fact, I created (with help) the Ronald Reagan Highway, which is all of Interstate 25 in El Paso County. Like President Reagan, I apply my conservative principles to every issue I face. Be it social or economic issues, these values are what’s right for America. They should be, they were the values our country was founded upon.
On April 1 (not the 8th), I held a Conservative Leadership Summit that featured Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and other conservative leaders from around the state. My goal is to encourage and equip conservative activists to work together to advance our common goals. I hope to continue efforts, of which this Summit was just one, to further advance conservative values at whatever level of government I possibly can. Let me know by e-mail if you want to be invited to an upcoming Summit.
Thanks Pols and your readers for this great forum.
Senator Lamborn will not be available to answer questions today, so feel free to discuss anything that was said in this Q&A in the COMMENTS section below. And please join us in thanking Senator Lamborn for his candid participation.