U.S. House candidate profiles
August 6, 2002

Questions for U.S. House candidates

1. What can Congress do to prevent future wildfires?

2. Would you expand stem cell research beyond the limited research President Bush has approved?

3. In the wake of Sept. 11, do you think extra security measures and law enforcement powers have gone too far, or not far enough? Be specific.

4. Specifically, what new laws, if any, are needed to address corporate scandals and the erosion of investor confidence nationwide?

5. Would you support or oppose federal legislation expanding school vouchers?


1st District

Diana DeGette

Party: Democrat

Age: 44

Occupation: Congresswoman

Education: Bachelor's degree, Colorado College; juris doctorate, New York University School of Law

Family: Married, two children

Favorite book: Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

Hobbies: Cooking, gardening, hiking and backpacking, music

Question answers:

1. Congress' most important role in preventing future wildfires is to ensure that our federal agencies and local communities have the resources to protect homes, lives and property and to complete necessary fire prevention projects to avert these large conflagrations in the future. This includes fully funding the U.S. Forest Service's National Fire Plan and Federal Emergency Management Agency programs which have provided critical funds to combat our fires this summer. The Fire Plan, which Congress enacted in 2000, directs federal agencies to work with local governments and communities to bolster local wildland fighting capabilities, as well as focusing efforts on creating defensible spaces around homes, businesses and property in the wildland-urban interface. I believe there are many lessons to be learned from recent fires in Colorado. I support efforts to increase scientific research about how our forests adapt to fire and what land management projects work, including mechanical thinning and prescribed burning, to restore a balance to our forest ecosystems. Congress can work to ensure that research behind these pilot projects moves ahead and is focused on protecting the greatest number of homes, property and businesses. Lastly, members of Congress must use their leadership positions to bring the disparate voices concerned about our forests and our environment together and to educate Coloradoans about what they can do to prevent forest fires.

2. I support federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The recent news reports on private embryonic stem cell research underscore the importance of continued federal oversight and involvement in this sensitive and important area. Research on embryonic stem cells could result in treatments or cures for millions of Americans suffering a variety of illnesses including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and heart disease. The only way to ensure that embryonic stem cell research is conducted with strict ethical and legal guidelines is to provide federal funding and oversight. By taking this leading role, the federal government will participate in the vital debate that occurs concerning any new biotechnology, including the creation of human embryos for research purposes. I believe that these issues should not be left to the private sector to dictate alone. As chair of the diabetes caucus I spearheaded bipartisan efforts resulting in 200 members of Congress joining me in sending a letter asking the President to fund embryonic stem cell research. The National Institutes of Health guidelines provide meaningful oversight protections by addressing such issues as informed consent, the source of cells and measures to ensure safety and the ethical use of embryonic stem cells.

3. Law enforcement must have the tools they need to prevent another terrorist attack. To help ensure this, I strongly supported federalizing security services in our nation's airports as well as increased funding to combat bioterrorism. I am concerned, however, that we have gone beyond providing those tools and now risk trampling on the very civil liberties that make this nation great. For that reason, I opposed proposals in Congress, including the PATRIOT Act, which dramatically reduced the standards of evidence needed for federal investigators to gather information on individuals. This included allowing law enforcement much broader ability to use wiretaps, gain access to private individuals' financial records, and obtain search warrants. We must also ensure that in enacting necessary security measures, we do not create a wall between the American public and its government. I worked with the U.S. Treasury and Mayor Webb's office to re-open the Denver Mint to the public and continue to seek ways to reduce the burdens the Mint places on tourists before they are allowed to visit the building. As the recent revelations that the Denver Police kept "spy files" on individuals and groups engaged in peaceful and legal protests showed, concerns about civil liberties existed before September 11. Especially in times of crisis, we must ensure that a balance remains between security and the civil liberties that give America its moral standing in the world.

4. Congress needs to pass tough new laws that will not only punish corporate wrongdoers but, more importantly, will prevent new corporate scandals from occurring. This includes new accounting standards, separation of auditing and consulting services, requiring CEOs and CFOs to certify the financial statements of their companies and increasing criminal penalties for corporate wrongdoers. In the House, I fought for the Senate's bipartisan corporate reform plan in the House of Representatives. This plan would help restore investor faith in corporate executives by requiring CEOs to certify their companies' financial statements. It would also require corporate insiders to publicly disclose sales of securities to the public within two days of the transactions and would prevent insiders' sale of securities during company-wide "blackout periods." To ensure that corporate executives who have committed crimes are punished, I voted for increasing penalties for securities fraud and destroying or failing to maintain documents two of the crimes in the Enron scandal. I also sponsored a plan to create an independent board to set and enforce auditing standards, which are currently created and monitored by an industry group. The plan would reduce conflicts of interest by restricting accounting firms from providing non-auditing consulting services to the same clients they audit. These were the same conflicts that contributed to the wrongdoing of Arthur Andersen and other accounting firms. Finally, I have sponsored legislation that would prevent companies from re-incorporating overseas, usually with no more than an address in Bermuda, simply to avoid paying American corporate taxes. These moves also strip investors of the shareholder protections the United States guarantees. Especially with this country at war, it is wrong and unpatriotic for these companies to move overseas simply to line their own pockets and the pockets of their CEOs.

5. As a graduate of the Denver Public Schools, I am deeply concerned and committed to a strong American public education system. Private and parochial institutions are options that should be preserved for parents who choose this form of education for their children, but they should not take away from the public education system that serves the majority of America's kids. I have voted against vouchers consistently throughout my tenure in Congress because I believe publicly funding private and religious schools undermines our public education system. If scarce taxpayer money is diverted away from public schools, the quality will decline and our children, as well as the future of our country, will suffer. In even the best-case scenario for vouchers, only a handful of students in struggling school districts would use public funds to go to private schools. This would still leave the vast majority of kids in public schools that have even less money to hire skilled teachers, buy new text books or purchase computers. Just as troubling, it would deprive struggling schools of the students and parents most able to help contribute to their revitalization. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision that it is constitutional to use public funds for religious schools will only renew efforts to divert funding from our public school system. We cannot allow this decision to give momentum to those who would forsake our children by abandoning the public schools of this country. In an era of rising state deficits and budget cuts, public schools in the Denver metropolitan area and across the United States face very real and serious problems. We will not solve them, however, by supporting any program that would reduce money for public schools even further. Instead of supporting vouchers that would siphon off money from neighborhood schools, we need to find solutions that benefit all of our children, not just a select few.

Ramona Martinez

Party: Democrat

Age: 58

Occupation: Denver City Councilwoman

Education: Panel member for Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government forum on Hispanic voting patterns in the 1996 election (1996), also participated in a 1991 panel; attended Metropolitan State College of Denver

Family: Married, three grown children

Favorite book: An Album of Memories by Tom Brokaw

Hobbies: Outings with family and teaching grandchildren to ski

Question answers:

1. Congress needs to be proactive in preventing wildfires by initiating an aggressive public information campaign to educate the public about the dangers of wildfires and the toll that they can take. Finally, we must put more resources into the Department of Forestry's efforts to manage our federal forestlands in a fashion that will mitigate the potential of wildfires.

2. I support medical research that helps to ensure the viability of life. From juvenile diabetes to Alzheimer's to spinal cord injuries, stem cell research has provided hope for cures where none was before. However, along with the potential of tremendous medical advances come the ethical dilemmas such as research poses, specifically embryonic stem cell research. That is why I would be more inclined to federally fund research dealing with stem cells from adults or human placenta. Nonetheless, I am staunchly against the practice of cloning and feel it should be banned outright.

3. Our country is facing unprecedented dangers from international terrorism. Nonetheless, we must constantly be vigilant in protecting the rights we cherish that make us unique as Americans. Because I am a strong believer in liberty and the Bill of Rights, I am concerned about some of the aspects of Homeland Security that President Bush is advocating. We need to be cautious about giving this attorney general sweeping powers of investigation that have the potential of infringing on our individual liberties and rights. I would propose incorporating "sunset clauses" that mandate a specific date for reviewing or terminating laws that limit our individual liberties during this period of unprecedented security needs.

4. Congress must pass legislation to prevent conflicts of interest like those exhibited by companies like Arthur Andersen that served as both consultant and auditor to client corporations. In addition, the SEC should be fully funded so they can adequately perform their regulatory duties. Finally, members of Congress who received campaign donations from corporations under investigation must remove themselves from being involved in the investigation of these corporations. Our elected officials need to display the highest ethical standards in dealing with scandalous corporations.

5. I am a strong supporter of our public school system and local control. However, I am concerned about those schools that continue to fail our youngsters in low-income areas. I am open to any new ideas that would improve public schools. I would support legislation to conduct research on the current school voucher programs to determine their impact on our public school system and students in low-income areas.

2nd District

Sandy Hume

Party: Republican

Age: 56

Occupation: Boulder County Treasurer

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, University of Colorado; master's degree in fine arts photography, University of Colorado

Family: Divorced, one child

Favorite book: A History of the American People

Hobbies: Reading, gardening and hiking

Question answers:

1. The federal government needs to manage and care for the lands under its control much better, including but not limited to, efforts to reduce the fuel loading that has been building and increasing for generations. By now, most Coloradoans are familiar with the concept that we have become more efficient at putting out fires, largely due to better infrastructure, better equipment and technology, and better tactics. The result of that long-term fire suppression effort has been the gradual buildup of trees and other combustible materials that, in a drought year such as the one we are in, leads to the prospect of large and unmanageable wild fires. Researchers at CU have concluded that in some areas of our forests, we have many, many times more trees growing than has ever been the case historically. Continued federal efforts need to be made to reduce fuel loading, but given budget constraints, this process must be commercially self-sustaining. This fuel-reduction effort must be done without the old mindset of clear-cutting and road-cutting. Federal lands should be part of a statewide effort aimed at creating 'defensible space' around residential structures, neighborhoods, and communities in Colorado. A new doctrine needs to emerge with respect to fuel reduction. The situation we have now is a disaster waiting to happen. New task force consideration of forest ecology and forest health needs to occur immediately to stave off the extraordinary risks we face because of the fuel buildup on government-control- led and private lands across Colorado.

2. The use of stem cells for medical research should be defined by a commission of medical ethicists who focus on the central issue of the justification vs. benefit of this kind of research. Legislation should then codify the findings and recommendations of such an expert panel. It may also be the case that as alternatives arise, as they seem to do on almost a daily basis, other genetic material could and should be used to accomplish the same ends without the burden of ethical questions arising from the use of stem cells. The American scientific community should be encouraged to develop and use those alternatives. Alternative procedures that avoid use of stem cells will allow medical researchers to more aggressively pursue the astonishing benefits of this area of medicine. If unlimited stem cell research led to the development of a cure for cancer, would reasonable people wish to stop that research by the imposition of regulatory constraints? If the question were put that way, I would support going beyond the constraints placed on this kind of research by the President's policy. Again, medical ethicists should be at the leading edge of this debate, not politicians. The highest ethical standards should be maintained without sacrificing the obvious advantages to humanity of this crucial research.

3. I support the administration's proposal to establish a unified Department of Homeland Security as a full-fledged cabinet position, leaving the FBI and the CIA in their traditional roles in the federal structure. Moreover, it is my belief that the president should appoint Rudy Giuliani to head this new agency. Few Americans have shown that they possess his extraordinary management skills in approaching the task of sustaining and improving productivity in large bureaucratic structures. Who heads this new department DOES matter. The new Department of Homeland Security, and all other law enforcement agencies, should use traditional standards of conduct, approach and procedure to forcefully address the terrorist threat. The tried and true standard of "probable cause" should be the guide for domestic terrorism investigations. Any more aggressive effort to root out terrorist cells should require the literal and direct authorization of the head of an agency. There will never be enough personnel or funds to fully address every credible threat to homeland security, hence the need for a highly focused effort to find and destroy terrorist cells, wherever they exist in America and abroad. I am frankly alarmed at the current proposal by the attorney general to establish a system of one million domestic informants to address the threat of domestic terror cells. This unfocused approach is likely to produce a 'witch hunt' mentality and lead to abuse of civil liberties. While I support the use of informants in general, over-broad use of this or any means of combating terrorism may prove to be a cure that is worse than the disease. America needs a cohesive and coherent framework of antiterrorism laws that provides clear guidelines, minimizes risks of civil liberties abuses and enables law enforcement to take a pro-active, rather than reactive, stance to material terrorist threats.

4. The Securities and Exchange Commission should be given new enforcement authority and significantly enhanced appropriations to ensure that corporate financial statements are true and accurate. Civil and criminal penalties should be strictly enforced and prosecution pursued against any and all financial officers of corporations perpetrating fraud or other abuse of authority. Individuals charged with the responsibility of informing the investing public of the financial health of their company should be held to high standards that are strictly enforced. I support the Sarbanes (U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes) legislation that strengthens SEC oversight of accounting practices and furthers reliance on the nonpartisan role of the Financial Accounting Standards Board in forming and setting best practices in accounting for American business. I specifically support the Sarbanes legislation as it seeks to eliminate conflict of interest problems by mandating separation of audit and consulting activity; establishes a board under the SEC to discipline corporate accountancy activity; makes CEOs and CFOs directly responsible for the veracity of corporate financial statements; and creates new safeguards focused on conflicts of interest on the part of securities analysts. I strongly support the bipartisan effort now being made through the passage of the Sarbanes bill to restore investor confidence in the veracity of corporate accounting and financial reporting. American industry and corporate interests have long held a position of being the most open and honest accounting system in the world. Congress must ensure that we return to that status immediately.

5. The issue of vouchers should be left to the states to decide, individually. Except for protecting disabled students and providing targeted appropriations, Congress should leave education to the states and local school boards. Within the District of Columbia, where Congress has immediate and particular responsibilities, I support charter schools and limited vouchers aimed at under-performing schools as a means of addressing the unconscionable levels of student underperformance and intractable problems that are faced by students, parents, and school officials in that jurisdiction.

Bob Vehar

Party: Republican

Age: 54

Occupation: Small businessman

Education: Bachelor's degree in pre-law and business, Brigham Young University

Family: Married, seven children, eight grandchildren

Favorite book: Back to the Basics for Republicans

Hobbies: Flying, working on old cars

Question answers:

1. The damage to our national forest lands has been extensive. Mismanagement of these lands, in the last 10 years specifically, has been brought about by the zealot environmentalists (Sierra Club and other environmental organizations) who have prevented the U.S. Forest Service from doing their job. These organizations have done a lot of good in the past but, in this case, have caused a lot of harm. The undergrowth and density of trees (fuel) is out of control. Congress can allow for the following to occur:

1. Human intervention must be used to clean out our forests in a plan that would also include private property that is adjacent to our forests. In fact, the people who have private property should have top priority and the help of the Forest Service in order to prevent any loss to their property because of the present situation. Private property owners are good stewards of their land. The federal government should be an ally to these people and work with them.

2. In the past, we were able to contract with commercial endeavors to clear the overgrowth and to offset the cost of managing our lands by about $12 billion. That resource has been virtually eliminated. The taxpayer shoulders the burden for the services rendered to our forests. We need to revisit commercial opportunities in a rational method. However, there must be a "reasonable balance" between environmentalists, free enterprise and property owners. It will take a lot of money and time to correct the damage that was caused to our forests.

3. More water resources and reservoirs are needed throughout the Front Range. We need to preserve water for all uses including fighting forest fires. The federal government should join with municipalities in accomplishing an overall drought prevention plan to provide water to all facilities for three years.

2. I would not expand stem cell research at all. I believe that it's inappropriate for our country to experiment with what could amount to selective cloning on the same level as the Nazis in Germany during the Second World War. I believe that this nation cannot afford the negative results that would occur.

3. Because of Sept. 11, our nation faces an enemy that has redefined the boundaries of destruction and war. They attacked innocent citizens. We are still trying to adjust to what limits they are willing to go, if any. Therefore we must as a nation band together as did those in World War II after Dec. 7, 1941. We must put our differences aside, have confidence in the leadership of President George Bush and his cabinet. Thank heavens we have this caliber of people to rely on. They are noble and honorable people. I personally know Vice President Dick Cheney. I have never met a more honest person. He is not a politician. He is a statesman. I would place my life and my future in his hands. In fact, that is exactly what we all should do or our very future is at stake. If we are willing to give up some of our civil liberties, as did our parents and grandparents, we must expect that they will be restored. We must have vigilance and be willing to do our part in protecting our neighborhoods from the tragedies that occur every day in the Middle East. I believe that we can always be aware that there will be those who take this to an extreme. I also believe that there are many very focused eyes on these people, from the individual citizen to the press. President Ronald Reagan said it best: "Trust, but verify." At the end of the day we can overcome our enemies if we do it together.

4. This is my area of expertise. For last 20 years, I have worked with the corporate officers, as well as the janitors, of some of the most well-known and successful corporations in this nation. My background in 401(k)s and benefits has allowed me to understand thoroughly the rules and regulations that already apply to the investment world. I know that those who cheat and break the laws will eventually meet their demise and we will see them in orange jumpsuits. It must be understood by all investors and employees of companies that our system of commerce has given us the highest standard of living in the world. We are the envy of the world. The system itself is not at fault as those on the left claim. The truth is that the problem with Socialism is Socialism itself. The problem with Marxism is Marxism itself. They are fundamentally flawed and will fail miserably. The problem of Capitalism is that there are a few bad capitalists. The market forces will punish those who fail either by being dishonest or incapable of managing. And the market will come back. As investors, we must do our best to accumulate all information that will help us make sound decisions of when to buy or sell. It's called due diligence. When the market is down it usually means a buying opportunity. The market will recover on its own. The worst thing we can do is to shackle free enterprise with more bureaucratic laws and regulations. It will have the opposite effect.

5. I strongly believe that education should be left in the hands of the parents at the most local level possible. I also believe the in vouchers or, what I like to call "parent scholarships." Federal legislation expanding anything is not the way of doing things. With the recent Supreme Court decision, parents and grandparents have the opportunity to put pressure on the public school systems to perform. Free enterprise will eventually bring about higher standards and performance by our children. Unless local governments in school systems try to prohibit parents from exercising their decisions as to where and what they want their children educated, I don't believe that federal legislation will be necessary.

4th District

Marilyn Musgrave

Party: Republican

Age: 53

Occupation: State Senator

Education: Bachelor's degree in social studies, Colorado State University

Family: Married, four children, four grandchildren

Favorite book: The Bible

Hobbies: Cooking, baking, reading and gardening

Question answers:

1. First, I must commend those in the 4th Congressional, throughout Colorado and across the United States who put their lives on the line fighting fires and otherwise make a heroic sacrifice in the name of public safety. This year, and particularly after the devastation of the explosive Colorado wildfires, we are reminded of the dangers not only to our precious forests and animals but also to citizens' homes, livelihood and lives. Congress must roll back the onerous regulations regarding forest management, encourage multiple use of federal lands and leave the management of our forests in Colorado to those best equipped to make decisions regarding them. The U.S. Forest Service should cooperate with state and local firefighting agencies. It is outrageous that the U.S. Forest is constantly barraged with lawsuits brought by environmental extremists. They claim to be protecting the forests, but they know that the forests are unnaturally thick and any fire will be unmanageable. Precious taxpayers' dollars are spent responding to these frivolous lawsuits. Federal officials have been very susceptible to undue influence from these environmental extremists. When the legislative process is held hostage because politicians are afraid of being falsely attacked as "anti-environment," we end up with destructive policy, like Clinton-era thinning bans, irrational endangered species laws, and the banning of roads - ALL of which contributed to this year's fires. For all of the extremists' banter about habitat, I ask, where is that habitat now?

2. NO! I am pro-life. I believe all human life is sacred, and that deeply held belief is the basis for any policy decision related to this important issue. Stem cell research raises important ethical questions that warrant attention. Simply put, stem cell research is divided into two groups, embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research. The ethical questions pertain mainly to the embryonic stem cell research. In 1998 scientists isolated and cultured embryonic stem cells that were created from aborted fetal tissue and from human embryos that were destroyed in the research process. I would not support any expansion of research that destroys human embryos. In 2000 scientists successfully isolated and cultured adult stem cells from bone marrow. This research avoids the ethical compromise raised by embryonic stem cell research-there is no destruction of human embryos. Research shows that adult stem cells may have more versatility than first thought; adult stem cells are being used to successfully treat children with serious diseases. Adult stem cells can be harvested and cultured from patients for their own use thus making them less prone to immune rejection than those of embryonic stem cells harvested from other individuals. I am in favor of stem cell research when cells are voluntarily derived from donors. Umbilical cord, placental and other stem cells are options for researchers and doctors today. Stem cell research offers great hope for the future but we must always respect human life and dignity.

3. Sept. 11 was a wake-up call to the United States. The reprehensible attack on 9/11 rightfully catapulted homeland security as the top issue facing our federal government. Our response to terrorism should always be strong, swift and uncompromising. I applaud President Bush and our military for their outstanding work. We should not, however, use the Sept. 11 attack as an excuse to erode the Constitution or our civil liberties. If we compromise our individual liberties for a false sense of security, our enemy has achieved a primary victory. We should instead use it to sound the alarm to crack down on illegal immigration, reform our visa process, upgrade our military and restore individual liberties we have lost. In particular, we need to find and deport illegal immigrants and those who are here on expired visas. We should revamp our visa approval system to deny visas to individuals from countries that harbor terrorists. We need to provide additional resources to secure our borders. Finally, some have suggested additional gun control in response to 9/11. On the contrary, gun ownership for personal protection is even more important in our post 9/11 world. Armed air marshals and armed pilots who are fully trained in the use of a firearm is a much more appropriate response to 9/11 than more gun control.

4. I know many people, especially retirees, who are suffering because of the dramatic drop in value of their retirement funds that they have worked so hard to contribute to, and I feel for them. Corporate lawbreakers who have violated the law should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent. There is no excuse for defrauding the public, inflating earnings or hiding debt. Those who do so should go to jail. While, I do not believe that massive federal intervention is the answer to this problem, individuals and corporations who violate the law need to be held accountable. I will support legislation that provides for up to 20 years of imprisonment for corporate lawbreakers because it will deter corporate lawbreakers and make them think twice before defrauding investors. Under the Clinton Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission never reviewed Enron's financial filings. We should ensure that the SEC review financial filings more frequently. And I support up to $25 million in fines for corporations that file false financial statements. We need to restore investors' confidence and trust.

5. I believe education is best directed at the local level where parents, teachers and local school boards make the decisions and spend the money. As a former teacher and school board member, I have worked on public education firsthand, and believe that expanding choices and options for parents and students is an important way to improve public education. I first ran for the school board because of my concern that our schools must be improved and increasing choices for parents and students is an excellent way to improve education for Colorado's children. School choice ensures that families have real and meaningful opportunities to pursue a quality education that reflects what is important in their lives. I support improving educational options for parents by creating a federal education tax credit. Education tax credits are more insulated from government regulation than vouchers because a tax credit avoids any church-state entanglement. Continuing to pour additional money and resources into a system that is weighed down with bureaucratic federal regulations and mandates will do nothing to improve the education of our children. Essential changes to the foundation of public education are needed. Enabling parents to choose the best school options for their children, whether it is a government-owned, private, religious or home school is an important step on the road to better education for our nation's children.

Jeff Bedingfield

Party: Republican

Age: 48

Occupation: Businessman, business attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree in pre-law, Pacific Lutheran University; juris doctorate degree, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College

Family: Married, three children

Favorite book: No response

Hobbies: No response

Question answers:

1. We should continue to build roads which would act as a natural fire break, as well as provide access for recreational use. I am in favor of thinning the forests, and having controlled burns.

2. We cannot do anything until we learn more about stem cell research. We must have a better understanding of what stem cell research would produce. Thus far, the research has not proven to be successful. Further data must be required before we move forward in this area.

3. America should better control both its borders and coastlines to lessen the risk of terrorism and the burdens of illegal immigration and drugs. Serious effort requires improved capabilities of our border guards. Our immigration policies should be reviewed and revised with respect to the granting of citizenship to children born in the U.S. to foreign nationals, whether in the U.S. legally or illegally. Appropriate technology must be developed and used to improve the accountability of workers, foreign students and those whose visas have expired.

4. Big corporations must be held accountable. There are several laws, criminal laws, that are already on the books. We must pursue forfeiture laws for those criminals. A GAAP review may be in order in order to promote government review bodies. We need a system of checks and balances for corporate accountability.

5. I support school voucher programs from the state level and school districts. Inner-city children must be given the same opportunity to learn, and break out of poor education. I will not, however, support school vouchers in cases where the schools are burdened.

7th District

Rick O'Donnell

Party: Republican

Age: 32

Occupation: Governor's policy director

Education: Bachelor's degree, Colorado College; studied at Boston College and the London School of Economics and Political Science

Family: Single

Favorite book: No response

Hobbies: No response

Question answers:

1. After nearly a century of mismanagement of federal land, Congress must pass legislation to reform the forest service. Local forest managers must be freed from political obligations that prevent much needed thinning of overly dense forests. Forest managers must also be given clearly defined goals, provided incentives to manage for ecological health, and held accountable for their costs and benefits.

2. No.

3. It is important that in the name of homeland security we don't accidentally trade away the very freedom we are fighting to protect. Thus it is critical that there not be a national identification card Social Security numbers are already too abused. We must ensure that the new Department of Homeland Security isn't just bureaucratic reshuffling but enhances our intelligence and terror prevention capabilities. It is critical to replace the Immigration and Naturalization Service to get control of America's borders. We must know who is entering our country, they must only enter it legally, and criminals and terrorists need to be stopped before they ever get here.

4. To protect employee pensions and the rights of shareholders, we must make it easier to prosecute executives who commit fraud and require longer jail sentences. Corporations should more fully disclose and be required to treat as compensation golden parachutes, loans and stock options received by executives. Corporate boards must be required to provide more independent oversight of auditors. We need to beef up the agencies charged with monitoring companies.

5. Too many low-income children in America are trapped in failed public schools. These children deserve to have the option to attend a school that can provide them a better education. However, control over the financing and direction of public schools is rightly left in the hands of local communities and not made by the federal government. Where the federal government does have a say over the schools such as in Washington, D.C., and Special Education funding parents deserve the choice to use that money in public, private or parochial schools.

Bob Beauprez

Party: Republican

Age: 53

Occupation: Chief executive officer and chairman of Heritage Bank

Education: Bachelor's degree in education, University of Colorado

Family: Married, four children, one grandson

Favorite book: When Character was King by Peggy Noonan

Hobbies: Traveling, fishing, dining out and playing with grandson

Question answers:

1. For far too long, we have had a misguided approach towards management of our forests. By adopting a "hands-off" approach, the forest service has allowed the forests to become dense with small trees, brush and other highly combustible fuels. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to restrict road building and logging activities on millions of acres of national forest. Congress must direct the Departments of Agriculture and Interior to once again pro-actively manage our national forests. This means thinning and removing salvage timber in fire-prone forests, strategic building of roads for fire fighting and resource retrieval, and prescribed burns to prevent catastrophic wildfire disasters like we have seen in Colorado this summer. Fortunately, much of these actions have already begun through the implementation of the National Fire Plan. Congress needs to ensure that the implementation of this plan continues at a rapid pace.

2. No. I believe the president has approved a very appropriate level of research on stem cells. It strikes the proper balance between the continuation of important medical research and the protection of human life. The president's plan calls for the continuation of research on the more than 60 existing lines of stem cells, adult stem cells, umbilical cord fluid and human placenta. Research in these areas has already uncovered promising opportunities to improve the lives of many patients suffering from a variety of diseases. However, I also support the president's decision to prevent tax dollars from being spent on new embryonic stem cell research. Like the president, I believe in the sanctity of human life and believe it is appropriate to foster a culture that respects and protects life. I do not believe it is appropriate to spend tax dollars on research that destroys human embryos that have the potential for life.

3. September 11 proved that our homeland was anything but secure. Taking advantage of our free and open society, terrorists were able to enter our nation, move about freely and ultimately murder thousands of our fellow countrymen. We must have an increase in security within our borders and we must remember that not every terrorist threat will come from foreign nationals. This is why we must make certain, temporary sacrifices in terms of our privacy and our convenience. But America must also tighten both its borders as well as its seaports. This can be accomplished by passing the president's request for additional INS inspectors, Border Patrol agents and enhanced technologies for sharing information among the myriad federal agencies that currently have a role in immigration and border security. I also support separating the INS's enforcement responsibilities from their immigration processing responsibilities. I support Governor Ridge's proposal to consolidate Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Coast Guard into a singular border security agency.

4. As is often the case, the problems associated with recently exposed corporate corruption did not arise out of a lack of rules or laws, but rather a lack of enforcement of existing laws. So the first and most important solution to these scandals is a strict enforcement of existing laws coupled with stiff penalties (including prison sentences) for those who violate the law. There are, however, some important reforms that Congress should pass to ensure transparency, appropriate oversight and good old-fashioned common sense. Congress should increase the penalties for executives who destroy evidence or otherwise commit fraud. The SEC should be given the ability to freeze improper payments to corporate executives. Employees of corporations should have the ability to diversify their 401k plans out of company stock. And accounting firms should be prohibited from serving as a consultant to the same corporation they are auditing. The answer to these scandals is simple if you steal money from employee pension funds, shareholders or otherwise violate their trust you should: 1) Pay the money back; 2) Go to prison; and 3) Be banned from ever again serving as the CEO of a publicly traded corporation.

5. I am a strong supporter of giving parents more choices about how and where to best educate their children. I believe making choices available will force more parents to become engaged in their child's education. Vouchers are one option; tax credits (including home schoolers) are another. But like any commodity, multiple providers giving customers maximum choices almost always results in superior products. Education is no different. However, I am opposed to federal legislation forcing vouchers on local school districts. Education is, and should be, a local decision made by local school boards.

Sam Zakhem

Party: Republican

Age: 66

Occupation: Chairman of Zakhem Consulting International

Education: Graduate fellow, American University of Cairo, Egypt; bachelor's degree in economics, Unversity of Detroit; master's degree in business administration, Wayne State University; master's degree and doctorate degree in political science, University of Colorado

Family: Married, three children

Favorite book: The Bible

Hobbies: Volleyball, tennis, soccer, dancing, and walking door to door.

Question answers:

1. I wonder if anyone has calculated the number of houses, schools, churches and businesses that could have been built by the timber wastefully destroyed by the wildfires in Colorado this year. Anybody who has lived in Colorado for any length of time knows that fire is a part of the natural cycle in forest growth and management. The U.S. Forest Service has for years recommended the use of controlled and prescribed burns to maintain a safe and controlled cycle of forest growth and renewal. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service spends a good part of their budget defending against challenges brought by some of our own congressmen instead of on conserving one of Colorado's greatest natural resources. Unfortunately, many experts say that the delay caused by these stall tactics now make controlled burns unsafe at this time. One answer from Congress should be allowing the private sector to play a greater role in the management of one of our nation's greatest assets.

2. I agree with President Bush's position that federal funding of medical research on existing stem cell lines will promote the sanctity of life without undermining it while allowing scientists to explore the potential of this research to benefit the lives of millions of people who suffer from disease, organ failure and injury. In Congress, I will work to promote the exploration of the scientific frontiers so long as our efforts are ethical and honest.

3. These extraordinary times require extraordinary measures to promote homeland security. However, extreme measures would give terrorists the satisfaction that they succeeded in altering our coveted way of life and sacred freedom. History has proven that government abuse of power is no less harmful than the threats posed by terrorists. While most Americans, me included, are willing to surrender some immunity to help defeat the terrorist, we must remain ever vigilant in the defense of individual liberty. We are not doing enough to educate our communities in emergency preparedness; this should be reintroduced in our public schools. However, the single best deterrent to the terrorist threat is preventing them from getting visas. In Congress, I will introduce legislation to require additional screening by embassies issuing visas and requiring future immigrants to demonstrate good standing and that they are not a security risk as a condition precedent to entry.

4. The Enron and WorldCom "accounting practices" are criminal and offensive. Many of our friends and neighbors have had their retirement accounts and life savings devastated by corporate greed. Nonetheless, I agree with Alan Greenspan, who cautioned Congress against approaching this issue with vengeance and without regard to the fact that the overwhelming majority of corporate executives are decent and law abiding. The criminals, not the system, should suffer as a result of these scandals. The Securities & Exchange Act and the Securities & Exchange Commission Act both need some revisions to provide for more stringent reporting requirements on publicly traded companies in order to ensure the accuracy of the information they provide to shareholders and potential investors. Blatant violations should be subject to both civil and criminal sanctions. The bifurcated role of broker-dealer/investment banker institutions should be closely scrutinized to determine whether or not the potential for self-dealing and misinformation presents too great a risk to the independent investor. 5. Education is a top priority in my campaign. I believe that a high quality education is the right of every American child. Public education is the main stay of our democratic form of government and a prerequisite for our free enterprise system and economic well-being. Education is an issue that must be controlled at the local level by community school boards, parents and teachers. I support vouchers because the right of parents to choose how and where to educate their children provides for healthy competition toward excellence in both private and public schools. I will support legislation that strengthens the ability of parents to use vouchers, just as I will support legislation to enhance the performance of public schools.

Joe Rogers

Party: Republican

Age: 38

Occupation: Lieutenant governor

Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration, Colorado State University; juris doctorate, Arizona State University

Family: Married, three children

Favorite book: No response

Hobbies: No response

Question answers:

1. The most critical need is to thin the forests in our national parks and forests. I also support prescribed fires to help accomplish this. There is no reason for environmentalists to fear whole-scale logging operations would ever resume on our public lands. It is good environmental policy to agressively look for ways to thin forests.

2. This is a very sensitive issue with good arguments being made on both sides. I believe that President Bush came to a very carefully thought-out decision and I would support leaving his policy as it is.

3. I believe that we should not have to give up our civil liberties to protect our homeland. Our individual freedom is what we are fighting for. That does not mean, however, that we cannot be much more agressive in defending our homeland. We should not confuse inconveniences, such as long lines at the airport, with giving up liberties.

4. I believe that new laws are needed to enable law enforcement officials to be able to more easily track the wrong doing and prosecute those who have virtually stolen money from American investors. These scandals, however, should not serve as an excuse to try to impose new, burdensome regulations on business.

5. The school voucher issue should be handled at the state and local level.

Dave Thomas

Party: Democrat

Age: 53

Occupation: Jefferson County District Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree, Phillips University in Oklahoma; juris doctorate, University of Colorado School of Law

Family: Married, three children

Favorite book: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Hobbies: Jogging, reading, horseback riding and Rockies baseball

Question answers:

1. Congress needs to ensure that there is appropriate forest thinning, which is essential to reduce future fires (and will also replicate the historic natural conditions of the forests). We also need national action to reduce greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, because the consensus of the scientific experts is that otherwise climate change will lead to an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts and forest fires in the West.

2. Yes. Stem-cell research holds the greatest medical promise for reducing and perhaps even curing some of the worst diseases that afflict people.

3. We have no greater national need than to increase our security against further terrorist attacks, and as a former Director of Public Safety for the state of Colorado - in charge of the State Patrol and emergency preparedness - I am prepared to exercise congressional oversight responsibilities to improve that security. In general, Congress and the Bush administration seem to have struck the right balance so far. Most Americans understand that increased security will require some sacrifice of our conveniences, as the new air travel security measures do.

4. As a district attorney who has successfully prosecuted white-collar criminals and put them in prison, I understand that the first element of a government crackdown on corporate con men must be a willingness to vigorously enforce existing laws. Beyond that, however, some new laws are necessary. I support the stricter security oversight and enforcement legislation recently passed by the Senate, instead of the weaker measure passed earlier by the Republican majority in the House. I also support stricter prohibitions on conflicts of interest by corporate officers.

5. I oppose school vouchers. We need more public resources for public schools, to reduce class size, train teachers, expand pre-school and after-school programs, teach children with special needs, and help with the costs of college tuition. Vouchers would take away from public schools the money needed for those programs and spend it instead on private schools.

Mike Feeley

Party: Democrat

Age: 48

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, University of Colorado; juris doctorate degree, University of Denver College of Law

Family: Married

Favorite book: An American Requiem

Hobbies: Reading, American history, travel and American cuisine

Question answers:

1. There has been a great deal of discussion and finger-pointing about the fact that a strict policy of forest fire suppression over the past 100 years and a "hands-off" approach to forest management techniques may have contributed to the western fires of 2000 and 2002, the worst fire years on record. Given what we've seen this year, the wildfire problem may be beyond effective control by traditional means. Banishing fire may not be possible; which means we must do a better job of living with it. This raises the issue of proactive forest management techniques that seek to minimize the prospect of wildfires starting and to mitigate their consequences when they do occur. "Fuel loading" as a result of years of fire suppression is a primary concern. The immediate focus must be on what are termed "red zones" or wildland/urban interfaces. These are areas where communities and forests meet and in Colorado alone, this translates to 6 million acres. A comprehensive, consensus-based strategy that combines improved fire prevention and suppression techniques and the reduction of hazardous fuels build-up on federal land within these zones must be a fully-funded priority of the federal government. In addition, property insurance risk-rating requirements should also be encouraged as a private incentive toward fire prevention.

2. The potential benefits to society that may be introduced through stem cell research certainly warrant serious consideration. This research could amount to some of the greater advances in the history of medicine. However, the moral and ethical considerations that accompany such research are also profound. Caution and deliberation must certainly be used and the dignity of human life should be carefully guarded. Considering the fate of the tens of millions of Americans that could potentially benefit from this research, I believe that we have a moral obligation to pursue ethical stem cell research and that the current limits should be thoughtfully expanded. Because we do not know the true potential of the 64 embryonic stem cell lines currently available worldwide under the federal guidelines, we should carefully increase the number of cell lines available for research. This should be done in conjunction with maximizing the benefits of research from adult and animal cells, as well as placenta and umbilical cells that are available. With the consent of the donors, new cell lines can be adapted from in-vitro produced embryos which are routinely destroyed in fertility clinics. As part of this effort, the supply of these cells should be regulated and monitored to ensure their equitable disposition to sanctioned research facilities for approved uses.

3. The U.S. Patriot Act, passed in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, gives law enforcement and foreign intelligence officials needed authority to track and intercept communications of suspected terrorists, as well as providing the Treasury with greater regulatory powers to control money laundering operations. The Act also created new crimes regarding terrorist attacks on mass transportation facilities, biological weapons offenses, and the harboring and supporting of terrorists. These actions not only supplemented existing law, but filled in gaps that existed and increased the penalties for these crimes. This law and additional security measures-such as federalizing airline security-that have been put in place since Sept. 11 are not without their critics, but the actions have been a balanced and a bipartisan effort to address the nation's needs in this time of conflict.

4. It is apparent that many corporate executives no longer have a long-term personal interest in the companies they lead. They possess pay packages that reward them when the stock goes up in the short term and severance packages that cushion their failures. In essence, it is win/win for the corporate executives and lose/lose for the employees and shareholders of the companies. It is also a system that rewards those who control the vital information about a company and tempts them to fabricate the appearance of success. Congress is currently reacting to the clearly expressed outrage of the American people and, at a minimum, should take the following steps:

1. Establish strict conflict-of-interest laws for those charged with investigating corporate activity;

2. Create an independent oversight board for accountants and analysts with clearly defined authority; the ability to fully investigate violations; and the ability to impose meaningful sanctions on those who violate standards, including barring them from their professions;

3. Establish simpler, more straight-forward securities fraud and obstruction of justice laws;

4. Lengthen the statute of limitations in cases of corporate fraud;

5. Enhance corporate financial disclosure requirements;

6. Require the expensing of stock-option grants to corporate executives; and,

7. Require auditor independence and prohibit the dual roles of both auditor and advisor.

5. I would oppose efforts to expand school voucher programs for any number of reasons. Those who might claim that vouchers would create a whole new system of private schools to serve students who are most in need are relying more on hopes and prayers, rather than data and experience. It is apparent that voucher experiments are no substitute for a large-scale effort to improve our public schools. Any re-directing of our already inadequate support of the public system would only further damage it.

Copyright 2002, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.