Ed Duffett is the Libertarian candidate for Colorado's 5th Congressional District seat.
What would be your first legislative priority?
While some feel that Libertarians have earned the title of being anti-government, I don't share that opinion. In fact, the federal government has a mandate to step in and defend individual liberties. The closing of businesses across the country should have been challenged in Congress. Some Governors panicked and closed most businesses instead of isolating those most vulnerable and working to increase the state's medical response. Also, lost in the haste to do something (anything), were the liberties of citizens that are guaranteed by our founding documents. These actions crippled economies and drove up the debt, and in the end, cost lives and livelihoods. Now the epidemic will drag on into the fall and has become a political football. Republicans are blaming Democrats for destroying the economy while the Democrats blame Republicans for not caring about average Americans. Wouldn't it be great if, instead of trying to win political points against their foes, Republicans and Democrats were held accountable for results by a third-party? But back to my original statement, it is the federal government's responsibility to protect individual liberties. That means passing laws that limit state powers to only helping their constituents with resources, not restricting them from activities that are guaranteed to them as Americans.
How do you plan to represent an increasingly diverse voter base in your district?
When politics overtakes the primary goal of improving the lives and liberties of average Americans, politicians become parasites whose only goal is to keep their host (America) just knowledgeable enough of their actions to keep providing the politicians what they need (power, employment, etc.) but not too aware that they realize they are being fed upon. Normally this happens by blaming all the ills of the country on the other party thereby creating an 'us against them' mentality within the electorate and turning the entire process into a win/lose game. With the introduction of a third-party into the mix, an internal safeguard is created against politicians playing politics. A third-party candidate (especially a Libertarian since we are very independently minded) can give the American people a view into the House and Senate without going through the filter of their parent party. With such unbiased internal scrutiny, Coloradans can receive a clear view into what is really going on in Washington and can make decisions based upon unbiased information. That will bring pressure on politicians to act on behalf of their constituents and not lobbyists or party officials. I would make sure that, in every conversation held on the hill, the individual liberty of Americans is not lost in the conversation.
What is your top priority, and what is your plan to address it?
Healthcare - Currently, the healthcare industry is virtually monopolized by the government and a handful of insurance companies. They hold the checkbook and wield it for their own benefit. If you lower the cost of basic care to something an individual could afford, the necessity of other than catastrophic care insurance is taken away. Institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration also limit cost-effective access to quality care. The approval processes for new drugs and technology is lengthy and expensive. Because of this, the process favors the biggest companies with the most lawyers. There are many stories of patients dying while waiting for approval of a new device or medicine. Instead, Libertarians call for free-market testing which will be inherently incentivized to be efficient and fair in their processes. Additionally, Libertarians believe in the “Right to Try”, especially in situations with a terminal diagnosis. The government must not be permitted to deny patients access to new medical advances.
The Economy - The state's economy allows Colorado to fund initiatives for its people and Colorado's environment. Without a vibrant economy, private individuals do not have the extra capital to fund things like charity programs, conservation initiatives, and healthcare. A vibrant economy thrives in an environment that is less regulated where people can pursue the vocation of their choice without the state or federal government stepping in with unnecessary red tape. Government needs to get out of the business of charging fees to conduct everyday business or to own business enterprises. Fees and taxes are charged because the state and federal governments have become bloated with entitlements and bureaucracy. Congress should look at all the fees collected by the states and federal government with the mandate of reducing the money it takes from its citizens. REMEMBER: The government cannot give to someone unless it takes from someone else.
The Environment - I am very involved in environmental protection. As a member of the steering committee for Creek Week (a clean-up and education effort for our local waterways) and as the Marine Safety and Environmental Protection Office for the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, there is not a day that goes by that I'm not involved somehow in helping make our watershed clean and safe. This passion was born when, after retirement from the U.S. Air Force, I worked for three years as a raw water operator. My duties included visiting every reservoir in the Colorado Springs Utilities water system and checking the safety and supply of our water resources. As a member of the house, I would have voted for the Great Outdoors Act that was sponsored by Senator Gardner. This Act funds an amount equal to 50% of all federal revenues from the development of oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy on federal lands and waters. Deposited amounts must not exceed $1.9 billion for any fiscal year. The fund would take care of much needed repairs to our parks system and makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. Unfortunately, our current Representative voted against the act.