House District 2: Jared Polis and George Leing

Hannah Ditzenberger

Sitting comfortably in his position as Fort Collins’ representative in Congress since 2008,  Jared Polis, Democrat, faces a challenge from his opponent George Leing, Republican. Voters must decide if Leing, a self-proclaimed “fresh face” to politics, is up to par with Polis and his embedded emphasis on education and equality.

Representative Jared Polis, Democrat102814_Polis-COPHG

While serving in the House of Representatives, Polis participated in the Committee on Rules, the Committee on the Education and the Workforce and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Prior to his time in Congress, Polis was a businessman and served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Colorado State Board of Education.

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Citing his walks around campus, openness with students and eagerness to hear the opinions of the Colorado State University population, Polis believes he can well represent CSU.

College costs 

Emphasizing the importance of competency-based learning, Polis says that students should obtain credit for classes that they demonstrate proficiency in. He supports open-source textbooks and says he will attempt to reduce student loan interest rates.

The legalization of marijuana 

Polis supports Colorado voters’ choice to legalize marijuana.

Abortion and birth control 

Polis is against Amendment 67, supports a woman’s right to an abortion and believes that women should be able to use the forms of birth control they prefer.

Sexual assault on college campuses

“Building awareness is critical,” Polis said. “Not only does no mean no, but also yes means yes. We need to make sure there’s affirmative consent, and that there’s not a campus culture that allows for or facilitates sexual harassment.”

Green energy and fracking

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Polis says fracking may be important economically, but it should be done farther from where people live. He does not believe that communities that oppose fracking should be forced to participate.

Polis prefers to focus on other sources of energy.

“I’m strongly for renewable energy,” Polis said. “I think it’s very important for the future of our planet and for our economic prosperity to create sustainable and renewable sources.”

Immigration

Polis believes that the United States needs tighter border security. He says that the government needs to find legal ways to grant citizenship to immigrants already in America.

George Leing, Republican102814_Leing-COGLCC

Beyond working as a businessman and corporate lawyer for 30 years, Leing served as the Chairman of the Republican Party in Boulder Countywhere he was elected by Republican Chairs to serve on the Executive Committee of the State Party. Additionally, he was selected by Secretary of State Scott Gessler to participate in the Advisory Committee on a Uniform Voting System.

Like his competition, Leing considers himself a spokesman for the people. Adamantly against career politicians, Leing says that his background as a first generation Chinese-American, his interracial marriage and his experience in the financial sector gives him unique perspectives and empathy for his constituents.

Tuition costs

Leing believes that loan interest rates are too high, saying that public education unfairly makes a profit of $126 billion from student loans. He plans to attack this directly.

Additionally, Leing thinks creative, inexpensive ways to obtain college credit, like Advanced Placement classes in high schools, need to be advertised and improved.

The legalization of marijuana

Leing supports Colorado voters’ decision to legalize marijuana.

“I think the federal government needs to step back and let states make this decision,” Leing said. “No matter what your opinion is on marijuana, the people spoke, and I think this needs to be respected.”

Abortion and birth control

While Leing understands the reasons behind Amendment 67, he believes it is too extreme. Like Polis, he believes women should be allowed to choose their own forms of birth control. Leing feels that women’s health is a priority in these matters.

Sexual assaults on college campuses

Leing emphasizes his willingness to help however he can. He believes sexual assault survivors fear retaliation, and he wants to enable them to feel comfortable sharing their experiences.

Green energy and fracking

Leing believes renewable energy is the future of America, but he does not believe it is ready yet. He supports using both traditional and renewable sources of energy for the time being.

“With respect to fracking, we need to find ways to acquire all these resources that are environmentally safe and make sure that nothing is polluting water or air,” Leing said. “What we’re doing now seems to be generally safe … There’s a whole regulatory scheme. If they’re not being stringent enough on the rules, we should go talk to them and argue for changes.”

Leing also criticizes Polis’ policies towards fracking, saying that Polis did not discuss with commissioners before making decisions. If elected, Leing says he will consult officials.

Immigration

As a child of Chinese immigrants, Leing understands the plight of immigrants coming to the U.S. He emphasizes the importance of humanizing them and protecting the rights of immigrants who came to the U.S. legally.

Leing believes that the correct laws about immigration are in place, but need to be better enforced, especially in regards to border security.

Collegian Diversity Beat Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @h_ditzenberger.

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