Mary Malarsie, a longtime La Plata County rancher and mother of three who is frustrated with the two-party political system, has announced her candidacy as an independent for the 3rd Congressional District.
Malarsie joins four others in a bid to oust incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, in the General Election on Nov. 6: Democrats Diane Mitsch Bush, former Routt County commissioner and former state representative from Steamboat Springs; Karl Hanlon, a Glenwood Springs attorney; Arn Menconi, a former Eagle County commissioner; and Root Routledge, a Durangoan who served as a presidential delegate for Bernie Sanders.
Malarsie, 58, who is married to George Malarsie and has three adult children – stepson, Ryan; daughter, Molly; and son, Johnathan – calls the existing state of two-party affairs “dysfunctional.”
“The politicians are so set in their party ways that a good idea could smack them in the face and I don’t think they would consider it if it came from the opposite party,” she said.
Malarsie said she has voted for third-party candidates for the presidency in the last three General Elections with the hope that enough votes for nontraditional candidates would bring the issue of two-party dysfunction to public consciousness.
“I am not either a Republican or a Democrat,” she said in an email. “I am a registered independent and have been for some time. There are issues popular with both major parties that I do not agree with. I value independent thinking on issues rather than party rhetoric.”
Malarsie’s oldest son, Ryan, served in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, and her youngest son, Johnathan, is currently in the Marines. She said the dysfunctional two-party system has imperiled timely military funding.
She described Tipton’s voting recored as “straight out of the Republican playbook.” She said, “I don’t admire that strictness.”
As for President Donald Trump, she said she has “not yet made up my mind about our current president.”
“He has certainly turned Washington, D.C., upside down. I do think the office of the president of the United States should be respected and should be respected by the person who holds that office as well. I’m not sure that is happening currently.”
On fiscal issues, Malarsie agrees more with principals long advocated by Republicans.
“Everyone needs to pull up their bootstraps and work to help themselves,” she said. “If a person is truly trying, I have no problem. ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch’ is apparently not true in America. We are all paying for that lunch.”
Malarsie wants a path to allow people who were brought to the country illegally as children to live here legally.
“We all originally came from somewhere else, and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to better their lives,” she said. “It reminds me of Durango where many people think we have too many people moving here and we should close the gate.”
She said providing greater assistance from the federal government for mental health programs would be a particular area of concern for her.
“Americans, regardless of income, need mental health availability, if they need it,” she said. “I do believe gun violence is a mental health issue. Obviously, rational people do not randomly kill people. I don’t know why, but the gun violence of the past 20 years is a cultural phenomenon.”