When the Arvada and Westminster residents living in Colorado House 29 cast their vote for who will succeed Tracy Kraft-Tharp as their representative, they will be choosing between three candidates …
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When the Arvada and Westminster residents living in Colorado House 29 cast their vote for who will succeed Tracy Kraft-Tharp as their representative, they will be choosing between three candidates who are running for political office for the first time.
MORE: Kraft-Tharp running for county commissioner
The Democratic candidate is Lindsey Daugherty, who lives in Arvada and operates her own law firm specializing in family, estate and criminal law. The Republican, meanwhile, is Vanessa Warren-DeMott, a Westminster resident who just earned a degree from Front Range Community College. Joining them on the ballot is libertarian Ryan Van Gundy, who lives in Arvada and has worked in IT since serving in the Navy.
Ahead of the election, we caught up with each of the three candidates to discuss their reasons for running for office, policy concerns and stances on some pivotal issues. Here is a look at what they had to say.
Daughtery touted her legal background, which requires her to be able to look at both sides of an issue.
“I think what a good legislator does is take into account all of their constituents and really understands both issue and that’s what I would really like to do at the state capitol,” she said.
Warren-DeMott said her strength lies in her being a “regular person” rather than a politician and the understanding of what people are going through that comes with that.
“I’m not perfect,” she said. “I’m a high school dropout and I’ve had a pretty colorful past. But when it all comes down to it, I’m a normal person and the same kind of person who lives in my district. I’m a mother of four and I understand and I really understand working families go through and what kids that live through lives of trauma and abuse go through.”
Van Gundy, too, brought up his lack of political experience as well as his interest in showing people a better way for government to function.
“Being a politician is not something I ever wanted to do,” he said. “But I just feel we need some change in our state and the two party system has been failing us for the last 150 years and we definitely need some change and fresh ideas instead of doing the same thing over and over again.”
Van Gundy said his priorities would be shrinking the size of the government, lowering taxes and education reform.
“We are not really doing our kids any justice there,” he said of the latter issue.
Warren-DeMott said her priority is mental health, “hands down.”
“I think mental health crosses over into other areas that we are all very focused on like education and law enforcement, which I think is not a place we are really looking at when we put a lot of pressure on law enforcement and how they interact with the public,” she said.
Daugherty said her political priorities have shifted during COVID-19 and she is now particularly concerned about helping businesses whether the crisis, and particularly the winter months, to stay open for years to come. However, she is also prioritizing criminal justice reform.
“My brother has had addiction issues and a felony DUI and I have seen just how the criminal justice system doesn’t allow for second chances for people,” she said. “The recidivism rate is really high for a reason.”
Warren-DeMott said her priority is to provide mental health care to kids and adolescents so that they can be successful, an issue she said is particularly important because her own daughter has a mental health disorder that has led her to have contact with police.
“I want to look at something that helps adolescents like her be able to get the education they need, but also pair it with all the mental health that they need without making parents go into debt,” she said. “It’s not a matter of trying to get free health care but using all of those different resources, including public school funding, medical insurance, and community resources.”
Daugherty said for her success would mean focusing on education and supporting students and being a “voice for those that are underserved and underrepresented.”
“We need to make sure the working-class people are able to make a living in whatever profession,” she said.
Van Gundy said success for him would mean showing people a better way for government and politicians to operate.
“We’ve been in this two-party system for so long everything thinks that’s just how it is and we don’t even know what liberties truly are anymore,” he said. “I would like to show everybody that now as individuals we can actually achieve a lot more and there is better way to do things then just let the government run our lives.”
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