How well do you know this Senate candidate?

Ken Buck: Too ‘ornery’ to match Udall’s 99% party-line voting record

Ken Buck, a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with The Durango Herald editorial board Tuesday. Buck trails incumbent Mark Udall by only 3 points in a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 6. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Ken Buck, a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with The Durango Herald editorial board Tuesday. Buck trails incumbent Mark Udall by only 3 points in a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 6.

Ken Buck is a candidate for Mark Udall’s seat in the U.S. Senate. The Weld County district attorney is a prominent name in a wide field of Republicans campaigning to face Udall in November.

Buck was nipping at Udall’s heels in a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 6. In the poll, 45 percent of respondents preferred Udall to 42 percent for Buck.

Buck visited The Durango Herald on Tuesday. Here are excerpts from various topics in the hour-long interview:

Health-care reform

“The challenge is to develop a free-market approach to health care and still take care of the most vulnerable in our society through tax benefits or some other program.”

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“Part of it is insurance companies taking advantage of confusion in the system and driving up costs and also hospitals doing that. ... The government isn’t very good at cost containment.”

2010 Senate race

In 2010, he narrowly lost the race for U.S. Senate to Michael Bennett. About the campaign, he said:

“I think they did a good job in defining me – a good job in that they were successful, not that I appreciated what they did to me. They defined me as an extremist, someone outside the mainstream of Colorado voters. While I have conservative views, and am a conservative, I have a heart for my community.”

Immigration enforcement

“A good portion of the public does not trust the government when they say they’ll secure the border and create an employment-verification system. If we don’t have consensus on those two issues, it makes it hard to go down that road.”

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“It’s a terribly broken system. I’m not a conservative who believes in limiting immigration. I think we should have immigration that meets the labor needs in this country.

Attracting women voters

“I will be fighting for women’s issues in the U.S. Senate. Those issues go beyond birth control and the issues that Democrats attack us on. Women are concerned about the economy and the debt that’s piling up.”

Energy production

“Colorado is somewhat unique in a lot of ways. We have great coal, oil and natural-gas resources. We also have great wind and solar.”

Exporting energy resources

“I think we can export, and the fact that we’re living in a global energy economy, we should be able to export.”

U.S. in Africa

Buck’s son, Cody, deploys to Chad on Wednesday as part of a U.S. Army cavalry unit based at Fort Riley, Kan. The unit will be training the Chadian Army as part of a U.S. strategy to bolster defenses against al Qaida-inspired groups in neighboring Libya:

“The leader of Chad is no saint, and I have concerns about how we’re creating entanglements with our training. It’s a complex issue, and I don’t have a simple answer.”

On Udall

“He has voted 99 percent of the time in 2013 with his party. I’m more ornery, and you will not see a 99 percent rate when Ken Buck gets to the Senate.”

Water rights

“Colorado needs to take the initiative and have more water storage in Colorado. We’re sending more water out of state than we need to.”

Climate change

“The federal government has a role in setting standards based on good science and harm to humans. The free market can take it from there. If coal can’t compete, then renewables will come up.”

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“I think ways to subsidize and tax break and mandate our way to efficiency is a mistake. You create inefficiencies by doing that.”

Wildfire prevention

“So often, local officials have really good ideas on what needs to be done in particular areas, and their input needs to be better taken into consideration by the federal government.”

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