In both primary races for the U.S. Senate this year, determining significant political differences between the candidates might be difficult.
Republican candidates Ken Buck and Jane Norton don’t differ significantly in their political stances. Likewise, Democrats Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet would probably cast similar votes on most important legislation.
But as we considered who to endorse in this important primary race, some significant differences emerged.
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In the Republican race for U.S. Senate, The Tribune endorses Ken Buck. Considering Buck is the current district attorney in Weld County, some may think this was a given.
Certainly, seeing a local guy rise to this level of politics is gratifying. But we believe Buck is the best choice for Colorado Republicans.
While we have often disagreed with Buck’s hard-line stance on illegal immigration, we do believe he is well-equipped to get the issue moving in Washington. His diligence in prosecuting illegal immigrants caught in criminal acts, coupled with his dedication to keeping the issue in the forefront of his campaign, gives us hope that he might actually be able to push federal, comprehensive immigration reform if elected, something no one else in Washington has accomplished successfully.
We also believe it would benefit Weld County to have someone in the Senate who understands the issues facing northern Colorado. Energy policy, for instance, will have a great impact on Weld in the coming years. Job growth, health care reform and agricultural policies also have a particular impact in our county.
Buck understands the needs of northern Colorado. We know he would represent the entire state if elected, but at least Weld would be on his radar. Having a personal connection with an elected representative gives us a voice we might not otherwise have on a federal level.
As Weld district attorney, Buck has done well prosecuting crime. But he has also helped develop some innovative programs that are helping reduce crime in this community. Buck was instrumental in developing a coalition, which lead to the development of the Juvenile Assessment Center, now known as Youth & Family Connections. This program has shown real promise in addressing juvenile crime at a family level and helping get many young people back on track.
Buck’s alternative program for drug addicts has focused more on treatment than punishment, keeping chronic drug users out of our crowded jail but also off the streets until they achieve some rehabilitation.
We believe Buck is the best choice as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
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Being a “political outsider” these days seems to rouse support among some of the electorate. While we understand this feeling of mistrust and disgust with politics, we still put value on political experience and a knowledge of how to navigate the complicated system of lawmaking.
Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the House for the Colorado General Assembly, has enough political know-how to hit the floor running. His leadership in Colorado government showed us Romanoff is a man who knows how to get things done. That is the primary reason Romanoff receives our endorsement.
Sen. Michael Bennet fits the definition of a political outsider. Appointed to the Senate for two years, to complete the term of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Bennet found himself in new territory. The former superintendent of Denver Public Schools and private business consultant has worked to learn the complicated system of politics, and we believe he’s done OK, although has stayed in the background in many of the more serious debates of the last two years.
Romanoff has a proven track record of not only leadership, but the ability to build coalitions in a contentious political environment. While no one may want to admit that’s an important attribute, it is the way politics works. It’s the way business is conducted. It’s the way things get done in Washington.
We need someone in the Senate who will have a short learning curve, be able to navigate the political system and be ready to step up as lawmakers tackle the important issues facing our nation, including immigration reform, economic reform and addressing our energy needs for the future.
While Romanoff and Bennet certainly have a similar stand on most of the important issues, we do believe Romanoff has a proven track record of being able to work in a contentious political climate and still be able to work across the aisle when necessary.
We support Romanoff as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.