Republican Robert Blancken is in the running to represent Colorado House District 17 in southeast Colorado Springs. Blancken spent more than two decades working as a water treatment specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities before his retirement. He has also served as the Republican Chairman for HD 17.
What is your top issue for the next legislative session, and how do you plan to fix it?
Blancken: One top campaign issue is mental health. With the public dealing with COVID-19, we have seen a dramatic increase in suicides, domestic violence, drug, and alcohol abuse associated with the pandemic.
Funding for mental health counseling and treatment must be increased and without increasing the state budget. Prioritizing and reallocating funds for mental health is essential to meet the needs of our citizens.
How can the legislature address the state's housing and cost of living issues?
Blancken: Legislators pass laws that directly affect local zoning codes and building permits, driving up the cost of living. We are seeing a hot housing market with costs rising dramatically throughout Colorado.
Local demand will continue to increase for housing. What politicians can do is help set the tempo for good quality jobs that will allow our citizens to afford to buy a house. Politicians should also streamline and reduce laws and regulations affecting the cost of housing.
I do not support mandatory minimum wages; this type of government intervention leads to inflation. A free market benefits both, the employee and employer. Minimum wage should only be utilized when introducing young citizens into the workplace with no work history or job skills.
In a true, free, and open society, you, as the worker can negotiate with your employer for the best possible terms in which you will work. That is how one develops oneself and can prosper.
Should COVID-19 be handled more at a local level or from a top-level approach in the state?
Blancken: Handling of emergencies are best performed at the local level. A top-down approach is a bureaucracy or a dictatorship depending on your point of view. Protocols being developed by the state absolutely do not reflect what is happening at the local level. There are counties with no cases reported of COVID-19 or deaths, but they are mandated to follow the state. Here is the blunder with the top-level, bureaucratic approach.