GOP candidate for AG post visits Durango

Coffman believes state gun laws will reach Supreme Court

Cynthia Coffman, the Republican candidate for attorney general, center, shares a laugh with Gail and Bob Downs on Wednesday evening during a campaign stop at Christina’s Mexican Bar & Grill in Durango. She fielded questions on everything from the Affordable Care Act, gun laws and environmental restrictions to getting Denver television in La Plata and Montezuma counties. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Cynthia Coffman, the Republican candidate for attorney general, center, shares a laugh with Gail and Bob Downs on Wednesday evening during a campaign stop at Christina’s Mexican Bar & Grill in Durango. She fielded questions on everything from the Affordable Care Act, gun laws and environmental restrictions to getting Denver television in La Plata and Montezuma counties.

Gun rights, federal laws and regulations and the Affordable Care Act were among the topics on people’s minds Thursday when they met with Cynthia Coffman, the Republican nominee for Colorado attorney general.

Coffman, who has spent the last nine years as chief deputy attorney general of Colorado, held a conversation with a dozen party faithful at Christina’s Mexican Bar & Grill. La Plata County Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Terrill-Flint, Vice Chairman Skip Page and J. Paul Brown, the Republican nominee for the Colorado House 59th District seat, attended. They asked some pointed questions for the nominee.

“I’m seeing more pushback to the (Environmental Protection Agency) than I am to the (Bureau of Land Management),” Coffman said in response to a question asking about the overreach of the federal government. “Other Western states have done more than we have. Unfortunately, we’re seeing overreaching by the federal government every day. To me, it’s happening very quickly and very dramatically. States have been slow to react because of a sense of shock that the federal government has been so bold and so emboldened to do some of these things.”

Coffman’s campaign literature says she wants to:

“Protect Colorado’s water rights and encourage thoughtful energy exploration and extraction.

“Prosecute fraud and abuse, protect crime victims and vulnerable citizens and uphold Colorado’s death penalty.

“Defend individual rights, including constitutional protections for gun owners.

“The job of the attorney general is to defend the government when it’s sued,” she said. “That’s our role in the system. That’s what you want, because the AG could easily be on the other side politically. We represent the rule of law.”

A big question was about the gun laws restricting magazine size and other restrictions enacted by the Colorado General Assembly in 2013.

“I stepped out of the discussion on the lawsuit regarding the gun laws because I wanted to be able to talk about it as I traveled around the state. I know it’s a hot issue,” she said. “One of the big questions is: ‘Why are we defending it when many people think it infringes on the Constitution?’ It’s the call of the AG, and you don’t want an AG to pick and choose what laws to defend based on a personal opinion.”

She thinks the lawsuit, which is currently before a federal district court, will end up before the Supreme Court.

Coffman was a little gentler on the Legislature than most people in attendance when it came to the new gun laws.

“They were trying in good faith to do something after the theater shooting and all the school shootings,” she said, “They went for easy fixes that aren’t really fixes. It’s human nature to see a problem and want to fix it, but they created legislation in haste that didn’t really address deeper issues.”

She also wants to get more training for rural district attorneys and law enforcement in areas such as violent crime and financial fraud, which can require special expertise to investigate and prosecute.

She will be facing Democratic candidate Don Quick, a former district attorney for Adams and Broomfield counties, on the November ballot.

abutler@durangoherald.com

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