There are a few office-holders in Colorado who belong to minor parties, but only two come to mind who were elected in partisan races, and they're both in San Miguel County, where Sheriff Bill Masters is a Libertarian and one county commissioner, Art Goodtimes, is a Green.
Both initially took office as major-party candidates, though - Masters as a Republican and Goodtimes as a Democrat - then changed affiliations before re-election.
Masters, as you might expect, is a strong critic of the War on Drugs. When he spoke at the state Libertarian convention in Leadville last May, he pointed out that the Drug War is a gross invasion of our privacy and other civil rights. He also explained that, from a law-enforcement perspective, it diverts resources from real threats to our peace and safety just to lock up people who aren't hurting anybody except, perhaps, themselves.
Greens have a reputation for being in favor of more governmental regulation, so I was somewhat surprised at the reply from Art Goodtimes a couple of years ago when he was running for re-election. I asked what his major accomplishment in his first term was, and he said it was eliminating most building and zoning codes in the west part of the county, his district.
"Around Telluride, we need them," he said. "But it's basically big farms and ranches out on my end, and we don't need the rules. So why have them?"
Sensible attitudes like those of Goodtimes and Masters could get more minor-party candidates elected, which would be a blessing in itself. But minor parties are important for another reason - they do the thinking for the major parties....
Whenever I announce my intention to vote for a minor-party candidate, I am invariably told that "you're throwing away your vote." But if there are things you care about, then a vote for a third-party candidate is hardly wasted. It's actually the best way to get the attention of the major parties.
Quillen is an eccentric fellow who lives in a small mountain town in Colorado and writes a regular column in the Post. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at the state Libertarian convention this year. He's always entertaining and sometimes even correct.
It's worth clicking on the link to this article just to see his picture. That's what he looks like when he's cleaned up.
:: Walter 5:19 PM [+] ::