As state legislator, Hartsook wants to reduce governor's power

Mike McKibbin
Douglas County

By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver | June 23, 2022

[DOUGLAS COUNTY, COLO.] A "classic Reagan Republican" wants to shrink state government so Colorado's governor can't order things like mask mandates and business closures.

Anthony Hartsook faces Terry Dodd in House District 44 on the June 28 Republican primary election ballot. Republican Kim Ransom, who holds the seat, is term-limited.

The winner of this race will face Democratic candidate Bob Henry — unopposed in the primary — in the Nov. 8 general election. The district includes the Parker area of Douglas County.

Acting instead of complaining

Hartsook said he decided to seek the office after opposing the coronavirus pandemic shutdown and mask orders and the Democratically-controlled state legislature's direction on law enforcement issues.

"So I thought instead of just complaining, part of the obvious solution is me running for office," he stated.

As a state representative, Hartsook wants to roll back "some of the rules state government uses as interference in our personal lives."

"The governor's emergency authority should be held in check by the legislature," he said.

Despite his views on the role of state government, Hartsook said he is not a Libertarian.

"I'm a classic (Ronald) Reagan Republican," he stated. "We need to have and follow rules and it's government's job to ensure our security. But government causes suffering when it interferes in every step we take."
Anthony Hartsook is running for Colorado House District 44 in the June 28 Douglas County Republican primary

Video games help lead to mass shootings

With law enforcement, Hartsook said someone convicted of a criminal offense should serve their entire sentence.

"And we need to quit trying to treat criminals as victims," he added.

Hartsook said instead of stricter gun control laws, he favors measures to address the "evil" in mass shooters and other violent offenders.

"You have video games for kids that are really the same as the ones used to train soldiers," the U.S. Army veteran said. "And kids spend so much time on these games, sitting alone and isolated; it's not a good recipe. We have plenty of gun control laws on the books, we need to address the people issues."

If the state gets tougher on crime and more people are in prisons, Hartsook does not favor using private prisons.

"If the state wins a conviction, that criminal is the state's responsibility," he said. "So they should serve their sentences in state-run prisons. And government is responsible to make sure criminals are adequately cared for during their sentences."

Hartsook also said he supports parental choice in education and noted his experience as a substitute teacher.

"You see more and more parents getting involved in the education of our kids and we also need transparency in setting standards," he said.

Hartsook added school districts need a grading system and should focus on competition to help ensure quality education.

When to fight, when to talk

The differences between Hartsook and Dodd come down to experience and leadership, Hartsook said.

"I've helped bring different community groups together, I've worked to help businesses and schools," he noted. "I've lived it everyday for decades and I know when to fight and when to negotiate."

Currently outnumbered by a two-thirds Democratic majority, Hoffman hopes Republicans can win control of the state Senate and make gains in the state House.

"We need to address the anger and frustration so many people feel," he said. "A lot of the hot ticket social issues you hear about won't help with things like inflation. And you help improve mental health when you give someone hope that there's something to strive for."

For more on Hartsook, visit his campaign website. Several attempts to contact Dodd for an interview were unsuccessful.

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Mike McKibbin is an independent journalist on Colorado's Front Range and covers Douglas County for NewsBreak.

Denver, CO

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