Libertarian candidate Roger Barris running to represent 2nd Congressional District

Roger Barris came through Vail on a campaign swing in his run for the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, Sept. 13. Barris is running against Republican Peter Yu and Democrat Joe Neguse.
John LaConte |

Editor’s note: The Vail Daily will introduce readers to candidates for statewide political office as they campaign in the region. This is Libertarian Roger Barris, running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.

EAGLE COUNTY — Some say supporting a third-party candidate in the upcoming Congressional election is a waste of a vote.

Libertarian candidate Roger Barris says the exact opposite.

“This is a deep blue district, which means that the overwhelming likelihood is that the Democratic candidate is going to win,” Barris said from Eagle County during a campaign stop this month. “Which means that mathematically, your vote — if you vote Democrat or Republican — is meaningless.”

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On the other hand, if you vote for Barris, “then you help create the third-party alternative that 60 percent of Americans say they want,” Barris said, citing a poll from Gallup which says about 6 in 10 Americans think a third major U.S. party is needed.

In challenging Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District — which encompasses Vail and the eastern side of Eagle County — Barris is running a full-time campaign, something he said is unusual for a Libertarian Party candidate.

“I am also, I believe, by far the most qualified candidate in the race,” Barris wrote in an email to the Vail Daily. “After a career of over 25 years as an investor and entrepreneur in Europe and the USA, including the founding and sale of my own company, I am now retired. I have an impeccable academic background in economics and finance and have been published in the Wall Street Journal, (Washington Post), Foreign Affairs, Zero Hedge, Colorado Politics and numerous other outlets.”


After living in Switzerland, Barris moved to Colorado recently for the beauty and recreational qualities of the state.

“I wasn’t tied to any particular area, so I could really live anywhere, and I said Colorado is the place I want to be,” he said.

While he said having national lands has done a reasonably good job of protecting the environment in Colorado’s 2nd District, Barris would rather see those lands under state control.

“I actually think that the state of Colorado would have a much better incentive, much better knowledge, much better flexibility, to actually use these lands more effectively, than somebody off in Washington,” Barris said.

Barris is seeking to fill the seat of Rep. Jared Polis, who is not running for congress again in 2018. Polis recently authored the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act, which would designate the 28,728 acres of federal land surrounding the U.S. Army’s former 10th Mountain Division training area in Camp Hale as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape.

Barris said the land decisions contemplated in the bill should be made locally.

“Why should the decision on allocating (federal land) between two parks in Colorado, why should we be looking to Washington to make that decision?” Barris said. “I would actually rather see the lands turned over to the state of Colorado.”

Barris acknowledges that moving lands from the control of one government to another might not get widespread support among Libertarians.

“Within the Libertarian Party, we do have (constituents) who would probably be upset with me for saying that what we should do is move (national lands) from the federal government to the state government. They would say, ‘no, no, they should be privatized,’” Barris said. “I don’t think that’s the right decision. … Between the decision of federal government and no government, there is an intermediate position, and that’s the state government.”


In another departure from certain factions of his party, Barris also supports government-funded access to basic health care and a kindergarten through 12th-grade education for all citizens as a bottom-tier safety net.

“But the idea that the government should be the monopoly supplier … is insane,” he said. “I’m a businessman, and I know that the only thing that drives businesses to keep prices down, to innovate, to serve their customers, is competition.”

As far as paying for those safety nets, Barris has some ideas about how the United States can save money, and those ideas start with one basic concept: End the wars.

“The typical terrorist attack is — I go to my local Hertz, rent a truck and I drive it into a crowd,” Barris said. “Tell me, please, how fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan is supposed to be protecting us against that.”

With a focus on that primary goal, his other major goals could be attained — to cut both taxes and spending and shrink the federal government.

“We cannot be the world’s policeman anymore,” Barris said. “And if you get rid of that, you can save two to three hundred billion a year, from the military.”

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