by Chet Hardin
Until today, there was no one to represent the newly drawn House District 21.
But Republican Albert Sweet has announced his bid to represent the district, which covers much of southwestern El Paso County.
Here's the rundown on Sweet:
• He's a first-time candidate whose experience in politics began in 2004 as a party precinct co-chair.
• He was employed as a contractor at Fort Carson, but is currently unemployed.
• He is a conservative constitutionalist, believing that the states have given too much power to the federal government.
• He supports the repeal of the health benefits exchange legislation, known as Amycare, which he considers a governmental overreach.
• A veteran of the United States Army, he is 52 years old.
"I would like to ensure that the citizens are properly represented and that the state government doesn't get too big and the federal government backs off state powers," he says in an interview.
In his candidacy announcement, he included a bio, which you can read in full below.
I decided to live in Colorado Springs after I retired from the Army. I’m a lifelong Republican and became active in party politics about 2004 when I was elected as a Precinct Co-chair. I've also served as a Division Leader. I never really felt that the party was concerned about what was going on at the precincts until the months just before the caucuses. I was happy with the representation I was getting as a citizen in House District 19, but the boundaries have moved and I feel a need to fill the leadership gap in the new House District 21. District 21 is Ft Carson and the neighborhoods where many active duty service members, retirees, and their families live. My experience is broad I believe I can best represent the needs of this district.
I am not a party insider. I don't want to be a politician for life. I want to insure that the conservative voice is heard during this election cycle. I expect to be held to the highest standards, and I will strive to do my best for the citizens of State House District 21. Here is what I believe.
I believe we need a vibrant economy so our children can get jobs and stay in Colorado Springs. A strong economy is needed to support the Soldiers, Airmen and their family members assigned to the Mountain Post, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, and Schriever Air Force Base. This may mean examining the regulation of developers and the returning manufacturing firms. I am sure that expansion of state powers is not the answer.
I have seen the damage that can be done by a poorly planned drawdown. I will insure that the transition and training programs needed for the support of our returning veterans are efficient and effective. Returning veterans, who choose to stay in Colorado, like I did, want to continue serving our country as valued employees.
I support public education, but only if it is really educating the public. I am familiar with both traditional and alternative schools. I will support a program where high school students can test at community colleges to verify their math progress and insure that they are prepared for college. I am for expanding the Fifth Year program to all high school students to insure that Colorado has a highly skilled workforce that will attract the manufacturers returning from overseas.
Part of the problem is the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23. The Gallagher Amendment passed in 1982 as part of a larger property tax measure. It uses a formula that makes it more expensive to start a business in Colorado. Amendment 23 requires the state legislature to annually increase K-12 funding by “inflation +1 percent” through 2010 and inflation thereafter. The economic downturn turned these "good idea at the time" ideas into budget busters.
I am encouraged by the efforts to drill for oil and natural gas in El Paso County and the jobs that will bring. However, I am concerned that all the environmental questions are answered first. This means insuring the aquifers beneath the springs remain safe and useable. I will work closely with the experienced members of our State Assembly to protect our most precious natural resource.
There is much to learn and much to do. I will make every effort to keep the people I work for, the voters of House District 21, informed about what is going on at the capital. If my views are closer to the Colorado you want I would be grateful for your support during the Central Committee Meeting, the Caucuses, and the General Election.
Albert K. Sweet III
Candidate for Colorado House District 21