John Pickerill is the Libertarian candidate for Colorado's House District 46 seat.
What is your top issue for the next legislative session, and how do you plan to fix it?
Pickerill: In this year of COVID-19's unprecedented lockdowns and restrictions on our personal lives and economic freedom coming from the governor's office, my top issue is to reassert the power of the legislature. The Colorado constitution is very clear that only the General Assembly is allowed to make laws. However, the governor is abusing the power of issuing executive orders to effectively create laws imposing social distancing, mandates to wear masks, closing down businesses or forcing them to close at a certain time, taking away 50% of their clientele, etc. Tragically, the legislature has been silent, most likely due to party loyalty to our present governor. We are a republic. The principle of a republic is separation of powers. When one person takes legislative functions in addition to executive functions, abuses always follow.
How can the legislature address the state's housing and cost of living issues?
Pickerill: Housing is artificially expensive and cost-of-living is artificially expensive for one reason and one reason only. Government intervention. If we'd like more housing we should stop making it illegal to build low-income homes or to rent low-income homes. Government extremely burdensome restrictions, zoning, and building codes make it impossible to build or rent housing that is affordable to those below poverty level. The solution is securing the right of property owners to utilize their land or structures in any way they choose as long as they aren't causing direct harm to someone else or preventing them from exercising their property rights. What an elitist sees as a "slum lord", another person, one living under a bridge for example, realizes is a significant improvement in their current standard of living. Government merely needs to get out of the way. History has proven over and over that the free market always provides.
Should COVID-19 be handled more at a local level or from a top-level approach in the state?
Pickerill: Neither. COVID-19 is a medical issue that has been perverted into a political issue. The private medical community should be handling this issue, not politicians. Data now prove that COVID-19 is a disease that does not significantly affect individuals under the age of 60. According to State of Colorado's tracking data (covid19.colorado.gov/data/case-data) only 8% of positive cases under 60 years old were hospitalized, and only 0.5% died. Our best solution to solving the COVID-19 issue is the well-established science of herd immunity. Herd immunity will help protect those groups vulnerable to COVID-19 by interrupting the transmission mechanism of the disease. The ill-advised government policies of social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing are actually counterproductive to this and should be ended immediately, for both medical reasons and economic and personal liberty reasons.