No question, Christine Scanlan is the safe choice for the state House district serving Eagle County. The Summit County Democrat works hard, reaches across the aisle, passes legislation and fits right into the bureaucratic woodwork in Denver.
She'll struggle with Colorado's seemingly insurmountable challenges, negotiate the policy labyrinth, do what she can within the system. If you like how the Democratic majority has been doing, you should love Scanlan.
Indeed, nearly half of our editorial board strongly prefers Scanlan to her Republican rival, Ali Hasan.
Listen carefully, though, and it's clear the Democrats believe that Colorado's biggest problem is the state government doesn't have enough money. So the governor's gambits to dramatically raise our tax bills and fees, ranging from school property tax to severance taxes on oil and gas, are not only necessary but they need more " much more " for the job. Everything is so, so complicated and expensive, after all.
We trust Scanlan to fit in, make mature and thoughtful and largely incremental decisions with her party's mindset that the state government absolutely needs more revenue to solve its myriad of issues. She has lots of company there, and you may well agree.
Her Republican opponent, Ali Hasan, is loud, often sounds loony, and can only stand out in a crowd. He's not the fit-in, go-with-the-flow candidate in this race.
He's young, about as young as Dan Gibbs when he was elected to represent House District 56. Also like Gibbs, now a state senator, Hasan is far from dumb. He understands the issues, but is impatient with the bureaucratic approach so complicit in ensuring that statewide problems do not actually get solved.
His notions of building a monorail are crazy, of course, but not all that more expensive than the only slightly less nutty idea to widen I-70 to solve a seasonal weekend problem in the High Country or endure more endless bureaucracy to study regular rail transit. We disagree with all these initiatives, frankly. No one seems to have given sufficient thought to the consequences of easier access to the resort communities.
Of these two candidates, Hasan's the more creative thinker whose allegedly loony ideas about a monorail, or bullet train, have his opponent and others suddenly talking more about the same thing in a more positive light. To the majority of us on the editorial board, this is an example of leading a discussion down a more productive path.
The notion that an upstart with some bold ideas " some perhaps dumb, some pretty good though different " can't crack such an august collection of lawmakers who carefully weigh out all the consequences of their actions is frankly absurd. The state is littered with legislation whose unintended consequences await crucial mending by yet more legislation. If Hasan truly were "loony," he certainly wouldn't lack for company in Denver.
Our endorsement also is strategic. We don't believe the Democrats have done a particularly great job in their turn at the helm. Problems are just too big, funds are too short, and so they need more and more. In their calculations, they seem to have left out the very real impact on the taxpayers.
And one last thought, here's the first sentence of Scanlan's introduction to her Web site, which shows a small but troubling lack of attention to detail at best: "As your State Representative of HD 56 I look forward to hearing your concerns and working with you to make our Summit community a better place to live, work, and raise a family."
That's nice, but what of Eagle County, not to mention Lake County? It might be time also to break the cycle of state representatives who are perhaps just a little too tied to their homes in Summit.
Considering everything, Hasan doesn't sound so crazy to us. We're also mindful of that classic definition of true insanity, expecting a different result from doing the same thing over and over.