There is a lot to like about the candidates running to be Colorado’s next attorney general. Both George Brauchler, the Republican, and Phil Weiser, the Democrat, bring impressive lists of relevant experience to the position.
In recent interviews with the Herald editorial board, both men demonstrated that despite the hyper-political tone of today’s elections, they stress the need to avoid partisan rancor to accomplish the goals of the office.
“What if we can restore the idea of integrity in office without making it a partisan issue every time?” Brauchler asked the board in a refreshing moment. Weiser also made his position clear: “Running for this job,” he said, “I have a challenge to engage and protect all the people across the state.”
They also share similar views on dealing with drug abuse and with resolving the opioid crisis. “We need an alternative to incarceration for drug use, for example, opioids,” said Weiser. Brauchler’s take on the issue was an echo: “Arresting and jailing folks for opioid abuse is not productive. Or helpful. Or cost effective.”
We find that the distinction between them lies in the direction from which they approach the job.
As district attorney for Colorado’s 18th Judicial District, composed of nearly a million people, Brauchler deals with the nuts and bolts of our judicial system on a daily basis. He has been a hands-on prosecutor, public defender and defense lawyer for 24 years.
Weiser’s work for Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Byron White, his service in the Department of Justice under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and his leadership as dean of the CU Law School have been justly praised.
But we find his approach to Colorado’s needs more distant, while Brauchler’s ideas, including addressing the state’s “urban/rural divide” by putting more manpower in rural areas of the state, are more practical.
More telling is Weiser’s dramatized advertisement, which shows him awake at night writing about “all the ways we need to protect Colorado from Donald Trump.” We may share some of his concerns, but we disagree that the presidential administration should be the Colorado attorney general’s prime area of concern. We vote for George Brauchler.
Candidate qualificationsWe find Amendment V, a proposed change to Colorado’s Constitution, a welcome addition to the ballot. Not only does the amendment make sense, it also demonstrates the right way to use the constitution as a careful and infrequently used agent of change.
Amendment V seeks to change the minimum age to become a member of the state’s General Assembly from 25 to 21 years. Citizenship and residency requirements for service – you must reside in a district for at least 12 months before an election – remain unchanged.
As part of efforts to make Colorado elections more inclusive, and to encourage more participation by citizens in representative state government, Amendment V is sound.
The state has no more business limiting candidacy for an otherwise qualified adult on the basis of four years of age than it does on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Our constitution should embrace ways to encourage more participation in our government, not be a bastion of limitations. Let the voters decide if a candidate has the knowledge and experience necessary for office, not the calendar.
We vote YES on Amendment V.