Thoughts on the other races and issues…

I might be the only one left to think so, but I really don’t believe what the polls are saying about the Hillary-Donald campaigns. A lot of people will privately fill out their ballots and not necessarily admit which name they put a checkmark by. If you think Donald has no chance to be president because polls are saying Hillary has a 96 percent chance of winning the election, think again. I won’t be surprised if he wins more than you or the national pundits think. Remember Brexit? How about Dewey defeating Truman? Not to mention Jesse “the Body” Ventura in MN! Just saying.

Hillary’s military hawkishness and her habit of going with the establishment majority when the surface politics tilt that way turns me off more than just about anything in this presidential election—except Donald’s mental state. As conservative Wall Street Journal writer Peggy Noonan noted last week in a column titled Imagine a Sane Donald Trump: “Oh my God, Sane Trump would have won in a landslide.”

Even nutty Donald Trump is going to draw probably 40 million or more votes. So don’t throw your vote away in this one. Every single vote will count and be important in Colorado. Your vote really truly matters in a swing state like ours, so do not waste it.

Former Crested Butte News editor Edward Stern eloquently made the case for Congressional candidate Gail Schwartz in last week’s paper and we agree wholeheartedly. In this time of toxic partisan politics where party loyalty trumps overall country benefit, Gail might actually be one of those sitting in Congress who could help pull back that poisonous attitude. Her political history demonstrates a willingness to work with members of both parties for the good of a cause and that’s really impressive and important right now. She works hard, she works smart and she will work for people like us living out here in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Vote for Gail Schwartz for the U.S. House of Representatives.

I have to say I like Republican Bob Schutt. He is the Crested Butte physician running for the seat in Colorado House District 61. If I didn’t think Millie Hamner was doing a good job representing this mountain town, I would go with Bob. Plus, he lives here and that’s always an advantage. But Millie is doing a good job and the former school superintendent from Summit County understands Crested Butte. She is running for her final term as a Colorado state representative. Her experience in the chamber is an asset and comes with influence gained from time spent in the trenches. I believe she deserves a return trip to the capital. I hope that Bob’s initial foray into politics won’t be his last because he is really smart and would represent Crested Butte well in Denver. Here’s hoping that if he loses this November, he steps up next time after Millie’s terms are completed.

There are a ton of state issues that are on the ballot this year. Cherry-picking a few:

Amendment 69 is the ColoradoCare initiative. While the intent is good, especially with ObamaCare flailing, the ramifications of this being in the state constitution are too extreme. This could work nationally or perhaps even regionally, but as a single state offering universal health care coverage for everyone there are too many unanswered issues that could ultimately damage Colorado. The gargantuan tax increase, the negative impact on a lot of our local businesses, the uncertainty of too many nebulous things getting embedded into the constitution make 69 a no vote.

Amendment 70 is the minimum wage increase idea. It would take the state minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour starting next January. It would then increase 90 cents an hour starting in 2018 until it reaches $12 per hour in 2020. Tipped workers could still be paid much less than the overall minimum wage and that would apply to a lot of people and businesses in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Slowly increasing the wage of the lowest-paid people in our community looks to be a reasonable idea in this resort town. Putting more money into people’s pockets for them to spend at local businesses seems to work. Vote yes for 70.

Amendment 71 is the issue that would make it harder to get something passed into the Colorado constitution. It would require that a certain number of signatures be gathered from state senate districts across Colorado to get a proposed amendment on the ballot. And then instead of the current simple majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment, the issue would need 55 percent of the voters. This seems to make sense. The constitution should not be where laws are made. That will put more pressure on our elected state representatives. And that is the way it should be. But this will still leave an opening for citizen initiatives to go this route if they feel so impassioned. We’ll be voting yes on 71.

Proposition 106 would allow access to medicine for terminally ill patients to speed the process. The so-called Colorado End-of-Life Options Act would permit terminally ill people to request aid-in-dying medication that the individual would have to administer him or herself. The issue includes a lot of safeguards but the idea of allowing someone to make a difficult decision in difficult circumstances makes sense. It provides a humane way for many people to transition to the other side. Vote yes on 106.

And as we mentioned last week, Crested Butte voters get to vote for 2A, the measure that allows some of the town’s future open space revenues to go toward a deal that could ultimately eliminate the threat of an industrial mine on Mt. Emmons. It is a measure that will pay healthy (literally) dividends well into the future and is something to support on your ballot this year. Vote for 2A.

You should have received your ballot in the mail by now. You can mail it back (put enough postage on the return envelope) or drop it off at locations in Crested Butte and Gunnison before November 8.

—Mark Reaman

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