House hopefuls grappel with stem cells, congestion
Vail Daily: If you could affect governmental change with a single stroke, what would be your first act?
Hume: “I don’t think about government that way. You’re talking about a sovereign (king). I would look for the most powerful consensus I could find. To me, what’s happening right now is the economy. One thing I would do is to get government out of the way and off the backs of small businesses. That’s the key. Government has a hard time propelling the economy.”
Udall: “I would simplify the tax system … keep a few important middle-class deductions and keep a progressive income tax, but simplify it.”
Vail Daily: Does the state need more wilderness?
Hume: “We need more wilderness area, it’s just a question of where and how we pursue it and how we deal with wilderness in terms of our outlook. There should be public access to wilderness areas. The James Peak Wilderness was a good bill. There ought to be other efforts to preserve things. I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican and I’m committed to a preservation agenda. It’s a function of consensus.”
Udall: “There are some opportunities to designate more wilderness. Some areas are clearly deserving. The wilderness we have now and in the future adds to our economic strength. It’s a false question when you suggest it’s either wilderness or jobs. I look forward to working on some of the proposed wilderness areas in the 2nd District (such as Red Table Mountain in Eagle County) to bring people together to generate common ground. Wilderness is one of the reasons Colorado is such a special place to live.”
Vail Daily: Would you liberalize stem cell research or tighten the restrictions imposed on it by President Bush?
Hume: “I would allow more research activity. Several of the very conservative congress people, not the least of which is former Senator Connie Mack from Florida, have urgently asked the President to change his position to allow allow science to move ahead. Medical ethitists should be looking at this to make sure we’re not being cavalier in our approach.
It deals with the structure of humanness. That’s the whole point of medical research – to understand us better.”
Udall: “I think there’s more we can do. My father (Sen. Mo Udall) had Parkinson’s disease. There are a lot of indications stem cell research could provide significant discoveries.
“I was disappointed when the president restricted stem cell research. It appears to me the number of (stem cell) lines he included on a list that could receive federal funding is too small. The research is not proceeding with rapidity.
“We need to be respectful of pro-choice and pro-life issues. I want to see it further opened up.”
Vail Daily: What role should the federal government take on helping resolve the congestion on Interstate 70 through the mountains and where do you stand on the possibility of building a high-speed monorail along I-70?
Hume: “I”m going to request a seat on the House Transportation Committee. That problem (I-70 congestion) is as significant as there is in the district. Then there’s (U.S. Highway) 36 and the Longmont diagonal and northern Interstate 25. All these problems result from growth. How you fund an intervention of light rail – which I strongly support – and how to create funding to do that in a stable environment is still something nobody has a handle on. We had a vote of people that went down in flames. I don’t necessarily belive that was an indication of how people feel about it.
“I-70 is the number one infrastructure problem for the state. I support rail if we can find a way to pay for it. It’s the capital and the operational losses that make it difficult to pay for it. It takes a generation for rail to settle in to the development structure of communities so people can make efficiencies developing around rail. The true cost of rail is very, very high.
“The problem with I-70 is that population densities are not as great as in an urban setting where justification for rail is so plainly obvious.
“There are no easy answers to it. It just worsens every day. Something’s got to give. We cannot continue to live this way.”
Udall: “I supported the ballot initiative for the pilot transit system (monorail). We’re gonna have to think out of the box on I-70. The I-70 corridor, I-25 and U.S. 36 are all key corridors in the 2nd District. They affect quality of life and also have economic impact. The hospitality industry has a lot of concern about I-70. I have had my share of sitting in traffic on weekends. I’ve written letters to Colorado Department of Transportation Director Tom Norton seeking to implement immediately adjustments and improvements you can go into without going into a major adjustment category to improve pull-offs and on- and off-ramps.
“I’m also interested in seeking more money for Eagle County Airport and working with Sen. (Ben) Campbell for an advanced radar. That would bring more tourists to the airport and reduce some of the congestion.
“One of the challenges is not how to move more cars but to move people. I’m going to make every effort to move to The Transport Committee.”