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Buck and McCormick Greet Lamar Residents at Town Hall Meetings

Municipal Offices in Lamar

Two candidates for the same seat, U.S. Representative for District 4 in Colorado, were on hand for their separate town hall meetings in Lamar this past Friday, August 4th.  Speaking at the Cultural Events Center, incumbent Ken Buck, the current representative, spent a lot of his time answering questions from the audience about the GOP failure to alter, repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act.  He most recently gained some national attention with a commentary published last week in the Denver Post, declaring that, “the Republican Party is Dead” because Congress has not accomplished any major piece of legislation since Donald Trump became president this past January.

US Congressman Ken Buck

Buck is up for re-election in 2018 but stated he has considered running for Colorado attorney general, the post now held by Cynthia Coffman, who may decide to make a run for the state’s governor’s race since Governor Hickenlooper is term limited in that office.

Karen McCormick

Buck explained one main problem with the ACA was financial sustainability through the federal mandates for Medicaid. “Some provisions don’t give state legislatures enough flexibility and the financial support is decreasing which puts the burden on the state budgets.  We had $700B in debt this year in the country with no major war, no recession in a growth cycle, but we’re spending more money than we’re taking in,” he explained, adding that congress will focus more on tax reform and may return to the health care issue later.

He also took on the VA health care system calling it a “failed system” and cited the cost overruns for the construction of the VA Medical Center in Aurora, “atrocious”. He said the best idea today is the VA Choice Card that allows veterans to select a local health care provider for their needs, but acknowledged that the current system tends to drive veterans to the VA facilities to support their financial needs.

In response to a farmer from Baca County regarding the growth and production of hemp, the congressman recognized the need for deregulation of the seed and plant from an illegal drug. The farmer said after he leased some land to hemp growers, “I had some law enforcement agencies down on me like I was Pedro Escobar.”  Buck explained he supported a legalization bill and is trying to get congressional leadership to bring the issue to the floor for action.

Following Buck’s remarks at the Cultural Events Center, Karen McCormick, a Democrat from Longmont, met with the audience to listen to their concerns and explain why she, a political first-timer, had decided to run for the 4th Congressional District.

“I’m grew up in a Navy family,” and learned from her father what it meant to be an American. A former Republican, McCormick explained that she mostly held to her same values and principals while the party shifted.  “President Eisenhower was a Republican, but when you read about his values and ideals for the country, he sounds like a Democrat today,” she stated, adding that all Americans need to agree on an honorable form of government without the need to demonize the other party.

She’s also running because she wants the people in the 4th District to be able to have a choice in their representatives.  She believes she has a broader vision of what the country needs and is more willing to listen to ideas from either side of the political spectrum instead of staying within the bounds on a political party’s rulings.  “The country is hurting from the current climate in congress and no gains are being made for the people,” she explained.  “I’m inspired by what I heard here today with residents asking some very insightful questions.  They show they tend to favor a universal type of  insurance coverage without being put off by a ‘socialistic’ label.”

McCormick described herself as an analytical thinker, a critical thinker and a problem solver, habits derived from being a veterinarian with her own practice for almost 30 years. She added that she can devote her time, fulltime to her campaign, “I’ve sold my business, and my children are out of college, so I can spend my time gaining insight into what the people of this district want and need.”

McCormick will face off against a Democratic challenger, Chase Kohne, in the Democratic primary race.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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