Castle Rock, CO
U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Wiens spoke to the Douglas County, CO GOP this week. It was a full crowd and he was warmly received. Over the years, he has represented Douglas County at the Colorado state capital in several positions. A comparison of the GOP’s 3 candidates for Senate is now in order. For a change of pace, let’s use an older measuring instrument, our Founding Fathers.
After the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, it had to be sold to each of the 13 Colonies to become the “Law of the Land.” Several of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention volunteered to make this sales pitch to the colonies. Two of these delegates in particular stepped up to the plate. Alexander Hamilton (the guy on the $10 bill) and James Madison, (our 4th U.S. President) had the major role in writing the sales brochure called the Federalist Papers. They wrote about the ideal type of person for the new Federal offices. For the new Federal Congress, Madison and Hamilton gave a lot of emphasis on experience.
The word “experience” appears 91 times in the Federalist Papers.
Hamilton wrote ” That experience is the parent of wisdom, is an adage the truth of which is recognized by the wisest as well as the simplest of mankind.”
James Madison was even more enamored with experience when it came to the elected legislators. ” Let us consult experience, the guide that ought always to be followed whenever it can be found.” and for legislators in particular, ” No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subjects on which he is to legislate. A part of this knowledge may be acquired by means of information which lie within the compass of men in private as well as public stations. Another part can only be attained, or at least thoroughly attained, by actual experience in the station which requires the use of it. ”
According to the Founding Fathers, a Congressional Legislator should have served in the state legislature of their state. Watching C-SPAN coverage of the current Healthcare bill shows what a messy, complex job it is to represent the folks back home. So how do the GOP’s U.S. Senate Candidates stack up with the Founding Fathers ideal qualifications?
The Colorado GOP’s U.S. Senate race now comes down to three principal candidates, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Weld District Attorney Ken Buck and former State Senator and State Representative Tom Wiens.
** Ms. Norton has only been on an elective ballot once. She filled in as the Lt. Governor candidate when Bill Owens ran for reelection as Colorado’s governor. This isn’t much experience when measured on the Federalist Papers scale.
** Candidate Ken Buck has run and won as Weld County CO’s District Attorney but, again, this prosecutor distinction fades when we use the Hamilton/Madison criteria.
** This brings us to Tom Wiens. He has been on the elective ballot eight times in his life and has been successful in six out of the eight. He ran, won office, and served in the Colorado State House of Representatives. He ran, won office, and served in the Colorado State Senate. If we listen to James Madison, Wiens is the one they had in mind when they wrote the U.S. Constitution.
Presuming a match up between Michael Bennett and Jane Norton, we would have a contest between two insiders who have mostly served in appointed offices. Ms. Norton won appointment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was appointed regional director in the US Department of Health and Human Services, appointed to head up Colorado’s Health Dept. and, at the top of her appointment rally, was Bill Owens’ running mate for his 2nd term. Her husband, Mike Norton, is a former U.S. Attorney of Colorado, who currently works in private practice. Her extensive ties with the Washington establishment came to the forefront when the Republican Senate Coordinating Committee jumped the gun and registered janenortonforsenate.com before she had even started her run. Don’t think that the Democrat machine wouldn’t like to use that against her.
In a Bennett-Buck catchup, Ken Buck’s past and background would be more of an asset. However, his lack of legislative experience would not help on our Hamilton/Madison meter.
In a Bennett-Wiens race, Tom Wiens’ legislative experience would give further contrast to Mr. Bennett’s “to the manor born” background and lack of legislative experience. Wiens has been there and done that when it comes to legislating. He would be a Bennett nightmare.
The first poll (Rasmussen) on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race came out this week. All 3 of the GOP candidates are ahead of either Mr. Bennett or his Dem Opponent, Andrew Romanoff. It is becoming plain to see that the Obama “hope and change” rally has faded. Any of the three GOP candidates can win.
So who does the GOP want to be Colorado’s next U.S. Senator? If James Madison could speak from his grave, Tom Wiens would get the nod.
Mike Robinson is Sr. Partner at Robinson & Henry P.C., a Castle Rock Law Firm.