SD29: Fields vs. Poague for state Senate District 29

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Democratic incumbent Rhonda Fields is vying to continue her second decade of state legislating next year despite a challenge for her senate seat from Libertarian Michele Poague.

Both Fields and Poague are jockeying to represent the sweeping Senate District 29, which stretches from north Aurora to the eastern plains past Byers and Deer Trail. 

Fields has represented the area since 2016, when she jumped to the state senate after a trio of terms in the house. She bested her Republican challenger in her original bid for the seat by roughly 15 percentage points.

Poague has run for the seat in each of the past two cycles, coming in a distant third both times. She received nearly 5% of the vote in 2012, and slightly more than 6% in 2016, according to state voting records. 

Poague, a science fiction novelist, has been heavily involved with local, state and national chapters of the Libertarian Party for more than 30 years. She served as state chair of the Colorado Libertarian Party in 1996 and helped produce the party’s national convention in 2008, according to her personal website. The state faction of the party has granted her a lifetime achievement award. 

She has also worked in various roles at Shotgun Willies, nee The Bavaria Inn, in Glendale since 1984.

Poague generally favors platforms put forth by the national Libertarian Party, including limited government and mechanisms to curb taxation. 

“I would be in favor of fewer restrictions on everything,” she wrote in response to a questionnaire issued by The Sentinel. 

Poague also signaled her longstanding support for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. 

“I worked very hard for several years to get The Taxpayers Bill of Rights on the ballot,” she wrote. “The bill gives the citizens the opportunity to curb government spending. It has built in inflation rates and growth rates. Our government needs to live within their means.”

Fields has been a stalwart face of Aurora politics for more than a decade. She has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice and gun control reforms, supporting bellwether gun control measures enacted months after the Aurora theater shooting and sponsoring the recently passed package of policing reforms known as Senate Bill 217. 

She sparred with Gov. Jared Polis and other Democratic leaders this spring when the governor signed a bill repealing the death penalty in Colorado and commuted the sentences of two men convicted of murdering Fields’ son and his fiancee.

“In a stroke of a pen, Gov. Polis hijacks justice and undermines our criminal justice system,” Fields wrote in a tweet sent shortly after Polis’ announcement in March.

Fields currently serves as chair of the senate’s capital development and health and human services committees. She also serves as vice chair of the state, veterans and military affairs committee. 

In addition to the broad criminal justice reform package passed in June, Fields this session sponsored a slew of successful measures, including those that boosted protections for witnesses to crimes, extended the work of a committee committed to overseeing mental health in the justice system and allowed students to take excused absences from school for behavioral health needs. 

Fields has spent about $45,000 on the race so far and had about $23,000 still in her coffers as of the end of September, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. 

Poague has neither raised nor spent any money on her campaign.

Meet Democrat Rhonda Fields

Rhonda Fields

Democratic incumbent Rhonda Fields has been involved in Aurora politics since she was first elected to the state house in 2010. She is seeking her second consecutive term representing senate district 29. She has been a consistent advocate for criminal justice reform and gun control. In 2013, she sponsored highly contested legislation to tighten restrictions on gun sales following the Aurora theater shooting the year prior.

Rhonda Fields policy questions

PUBLIC HEALTH CARE OPTION? 

We need policies that ensure Coloradans have access to quality medical care. 

 

HOME SCHOOL STIPENDS? 

No. I don’t support redirecting public education dollars from school districts, and creating alternatives to traditional schools and instruction. 

 

LET VOTERS DECIDE TABOR? 

Yes. It’s time for Colorado to take a closer look at the details buried within TABOR to see how it’s limiting our options to build back better and recover post COVID-19.

 

MANDATORY INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT FOR POLICE? 

Yes. For hundreds of years, police brutality, police murders and police accountability have been a serious issue in our state and country and there is more work to be done.

 

MANDATORY CHILDHOOD VACCINES? 

Yes. The coronavirus is an on-going pandemic. Not sure how routine vaccination rates could reduce or prevent children from getting sick with COVID-19. 

 

NO JAIL TIME FOR DRUG CHARGES? 

Drug possession in Colorado is no longer a felony. But there are some catches to HB19-1263, the law designed  to encourage harm reduction; reduce law enforcement costs; and keep people out of prison for nonviolent, victimless crimes. Treatment over incarceration.

 

END PARTISAN STATE

OFFICES? 

No. Let the voices of the voters be heard.

 

FEES FOR BIKES TO USE ROADS AND TRAILS? 

No. It’s implies that cyclists should stay off the roads. We all pay for our roads – whether or not we drive.

 

24/7 LIQUOR AT BARS? 

The alcohol policy is confusing. Currently a limited number of grocery stores in Colorado are allowed to sell liquor and wine.  

The lighter side of Rhonda Fields

 If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

To use science and data as healing powers to protect our air, land, water and people who are harmed by social inequities. 

What movie will you watch again no matter how many times you’ve seen it?

The Color Purple

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Psychologist

What talent do you have that most people don’t know about? 

Aspiring chief and photographer

If you wrote a memoir, what would you call it? 

Better Than My Yesterday

What’s your favorite curbside guilty pleasure?

Buying Art, Home Accessories, and Gadgets

What was the last book you read?

His Truth is Marching On. John Lewis and the Power of Hope. 

Author: Jon Menchan 

Have you found any unexpected upsides to wearing a face mask during the pandemic? 

Yes, the upside is that a face mask combined with other preventive measures, such as hand-washing and social distancing, helps to slow the spread of the virus.

What’s your favorite family tradition? 

Extended Family Sunday Dinners

If you had a boat, what would you name it?

Aurora

 If you could only listen to one song forever, what would it be? 

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

When the day that lies ahead of me

Seems impossible to face

Then I look at you

And the world’s alright with me

A lovely day

Which reality television show do you think you’d be best at? 

Beat Bobby Flay

What do you think needs to be invented more than anything? 

Peace of Mind

Meet Libertarian candidate Michele Poague

Michele Poague

Libertarian candidate Michele Poague has been heavily involved with local, state and national chapters of the Libertarian Party for more than 30 years. She previously served as chair of the state party in the mid 1990s. She unsuccessfully ran for the same senate seat in both 2012 and 2016, receiving less than 10% of the vote in both attempts. Poague has worked at Shotgun Willie’s show club in Glendale since 1984.

Michele Poague policy questions

PUBLIC HEALTH CARE OPTION 

Health insurance is not health care. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not heal/help people. When people are forced to purchase a product, the company can charge the consumer whatever they want, knowing they won’t lose customers. They are also a form of legalized gambling. You are betting you will get very sick, and they are betting you won’t get sick enough to cut into their profits. That’s easy to do when they set the prices.

We should have open and fair competition for health services. Prices should be posted for all routine care and common treatments.

 

HOME SCHOOL STIPENDS? 

I would love to see a growth in satellite schools and neighborhood schools. At one time, America was the most educated country in the world. One of the benefits of a “one room” or satellite school is the mixing of ages. Older children can help younger children and there is no better way to learn something than to teach it. Also, the younger children hear the lessons over and over again and by the time they are at that grade level they have already learned most of it. 

Let’s keep our schools close and our money closer.

 

LET VOTERS DECIDE TABOR? 

First, I worked very hard, for several years to get The Taxpayers Bill of Rights on the ballot. The bill gives the citizens the opportunity to curb government spending. It has built in inflation rates and growth rates. Our government needs to live within their means. My household cannot demand more money just because I overspent my budget; neither should our State leaders.

 

MANDATORY INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT FOR POLICE? 

All businesses should have independent review policies. I would like to see and end to Qualified Immunity and the militarization of our police. There is no case in which a local police should have a tank. Let’s make them Peace Keepers again.

 

MANDATORY CHILDHOOD VACCINES? 

I would repeal the mandates for vaccinations. When a child is injected with multiple vaccines in large quantities, we may not know what that outcome will be for years. I would like to see more money spent on education and make the drug companies, once again, liable if their product fails or causes harm. Let parent choose which vaccines to give their children.

NO JAIL TIME FOR DRUG CHARGES? 

YES. I fully believe that humans have the right to take care of or abuse their bodies if they wish. In many cases the drugs are less harmful than a Big Mac and a Diet Coke. Possession of something does not hurt anyone. There is no victim; there is no crime.

 

END PARTISAN STATE

OFFICES?

I would like to see every office, from the president down, non-partisan. I think we have far too many unelected bureaucrats making too many costly regulations. I would like to see more elected positions, not less.

 

FEES FOR BIKES TO USE ROADS AND TRAILS? 

Unless we can provide a bike lane on every road; no. That said, I would like to see all of the gasoline taxes, licensing taxes, and auto sales taxes diverted to the maintenance of roads. Get those monies out of the general fund. Stop sending money to the federal government and spend here at home.

 

24/7 LIQUOR AT BARS? 

I would be in favor of fewer restrictions on everything.

The lighter side of Michele Poague

 If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

To heal the sick

What movie will you watch again no matter how many times you’ve seen it? 

Interstate 60. The movie is all about learning to see things a little bit different.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

An Interior Designer

What talent do you have that most people don’t know about? 

I make great pies.

 If you wrote a memoir, what would you call it?

I’m the author of several novels and there is a little bit of me in each one. Maybe if I write a memoir it would be, The Road to Love: How I learned to forgive.

What’s your favorite curbside guilty pleasure?

DQ soft serve with chocolate and cherry dip cone dip.

What was the last book you read? 

I’m in the process of reading The Healing Crystal trilogy for a new project. Before that was a 1968 Reader’s Digest Collection. I find the history fascinating.

Have you found any unexpected upsides to wearing a face mask during the pandemic? 

No

What’s your favorite family tradition? 

Putting together puzzles any time there are more than two sisters in a room.

If you had a boat, what would you name it?

Freedom

If you could only listen to one song forever, what would it be? 

While there are thousands of songs I love from Led Zepplin to Enya, the one song I never seem to tire of is Amazing Grace by anyone.

Which reality television show do you think you’d be best at? 

Sorry, I hate all TV reality shows.

What do you think needs to be invented more than anything? 

I’m torn between the Star Trek replicator and the transporter.