Huffman, Marshall talk abortion, gun laws, environment in private event

House District 43 candidates differ on priorities


Candidates for Colorado House District 43 discussed abortion, gun laws and environmental policy at a private event at Wind Crest Senior Living Community.

Wind Crest hosted candidates Kurt Huffman (R) and Bob Marshall (D), who are running to represent Highlands Ranch in the state legislature, for an hour-long forum on Sept. 28. 

A moderator and audience members asked questions spanning a wide range of political issues, but several questions focused on abortion and reproductive rights.

Marshall said he was personally pro-life, but supported a woman’s right to choose and compared recent Republican anti-abortion legislation to conduct by Soviet East Germany, hammering Huffman on his anti-abortion stance.

“It’s very easy for me to get on a soapbox and say, I’ll defend reproductive rights of women when we have Republicans who want to force a 10-year-old child to carry a pregnancy to term,” Marshall said.

Huffman said he was personally 100% pro-life, but said it was an answered question in Colorado, mistakenly calling abortion a state constitutional right. However, Huffman’s website previously included information that Huffman opposed the reproductive health equity act, which became state law earlier this year and codifies abortion rights in Colorado.

“This is an answered question that’s already been decided by the voters of this state,” he said. “Whether I agree or disagree with any of these issues, it’s in the constitution and I signed an oath before God to follow our state constitution.”

In a follow up conversation with Colorado Community Media, Huffman said he sees both sides of the issue, but he wouldn’t expand reproductive rights in Colorado and he would consider legislation to limit abortion. Huffman also said he would prefer reproductive rights be decided by voters and not the legislature.

“If someone came in with legislation to limit abortion, I would have to weigh my personal opinion between the right to privacy with your doctor and your medical rights to choose with whatever’s in the bill,” he said. “I’m not trying to blow (the question) off, but I’d have to read what it is and see why it’s necessary.”

At the Wind Crest forum, Huffman and Marshall also discussed legislation they would like to see relating to crime and gun control.

Marshall said he would support legislation that would allow the state to commit someone to a mental health institute instead of prison or jail if they were convicted of a crime while experiencing a mental health concerns, modeled after Oregan law.

Marshall added that he supports magazine capacity restrictions and Red Flag Laws, which allow law enforcement to take guns from a person who is believed to be a danger to themselves or others, and indicated he would vote for age restrictions.

“I don’t think 18 year olds should have AR-15s with 30-round magazine clips. That’s insane,” he said.

Huffman said he backs gun owners, but did note that he supports background checks for gun purchases, which has kept him from receiving an endorsement from the controversial Rocky Mountain Gun Ownership organization.

He also advocated for legislation to increase bonds for repeat criminal offenders.

“When it comes to gun laws, I support responsible gun ownership,” Huffman said. “I believe in background checks. I don’t believe any violent felon should ever walk into gun shop and be able to buy a gun.”

On the topic of air pollution, Marshall touted a recent Environmental Protection Agency requirement to use cleaner fuel in the winter months as a move the state should have already made.

“The ozone restrictions that are already coming down, I can’t believe we’re even fighting them,” Marshall said. “If we’re taxing things we don’t want, like emissions, I think that’s the way to go.”

Huffman pushed back against the fuel requirement because of the increased cost to consumers and because he doesn’t think it would be effective. Huffman noted environmental conditions have improved significantly in the last few decades. 

“We’ve done a phenomenal job over the last 26 years,” he said. “A lot of (the ozone gas) is being manufactured in other cities and coming here on clouds and getting stuck in the mountains.”

Additionally, Huffman said he would support bills to limit the emergency powers of the governor, tax credits for parents who homeschool or whose children attend private school and to ensure community associations and homeowners associations are operating fairly. 

In both his opening and closing remarks, Huffman said his top three priorities will be the economy, public safety and school choice.

Marshall stated his “offensive priorities” are public education, public safety and the environment, while reproductive rights, gun control and LGBTQ equality are his “defensive priorities.”

Other legislation Marshall said he would like to see includes increasing veteran benefits, increasing teacher compensation and a tax-exempt teacher stipend.

Both Marshall and Huffman also emphasized that, as a legislator, they would work with anyone to pass bills or address community concerns.


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