City of residence: Parker
Length of residence: 20 years
Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
Profession: Employee Benefits Consultant
Education: BBA Finance
Family: Married, 3 Children
Experience: Never sought public office.
Facebook: Jim Smallwood
Why are you running for office?
I want to help bring positive changes to Colorado, specifically bringing real world business knowledge, entrepreneurial experience and health plan expertise to the legislature. Continuing to attract existing businesses to move here, and encouraging “start-up” enterprises brings good jobs to Coloradans. This is my opportunity to serve our community, and to dedicate a tremendous amount of proven energy into helping Colorado businesses and families thrive.
What is the biggest problem you see with your party?
I would like to see our party become more united.
What three policy issues set you apart from your opponent?
My opponents will need to speak specifically on the policy issues that are important to them, but I plan to help find free-market driven solutions that make healthcare in Colorado more affordable, both in the premiums we pay for our health plans, and the price we all need to pay to receive services. Secondly, as we continue to face a lack of newly constructed condominium and townhome projects, we have all seen rents and home prices soar. I plan to focus on finally finding a way to bring back construction of this product line to allow for more affordable and accessible home ownership. Improving transportation infrastructure would be my next area of focus.
What are the biggest areas of agreement between you and your opponent?
My opponents will need to speak specifically on the issues that they believe in.
Would you support reclassifying the hospital provider fee to remove it from the restrictions of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights?
No. I would rather redirect current spending towards better priorities.
How has recreational marijuana impacted the communities that you represent?
There is an obvious increase in availability of marijuana, which concerns parents like me in our communities. Additionally, law enforcement has expressed to me a need for further clarity on handling marijuana-related crimes. I would like to see a continued push towards safety and transparency as priorities.
Do you favor the sales of recreational marijuana in your community?
How should regulations on fracking be dealt with? At the local or state levels?
In this arena, the State of Colorado has the power and expertise through the COGCC. Additionally, Colorado has the strictest regulations in the United States, allowing us to continue to develop oil and natural gas responsibly.
Are you for or against increasing taxes to help fund roads and other transportation issues?
I am in favor of increasing funding for roads, transportation and infrastructure, but I am not in favor of increasing taxes and/or fees to cover that funding. I believe there are other areas in the budget that can be streamlined and made more efficient.
Should Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, be disbanded and its functions handed over to the federal exchange?
Yes. Each year there are fewer and fewer insurance carrier choices, and the millions in fees Coloradans pay for Connect for Health Colorado continues to increase. The fee increase last year was over 40%.
Do you believe the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible and affordable in Colorado?
There is now more enrollment in Medicaid and from young adults staying on their parents’ plans, so from that perspective health insurance is more accessible, but for many, the costs are now so unaffordable, that accessibility is far, far worse. Additionally, many Coloradans no longer have access to their own physicians or the plans they liked.
Do you support the ballot issue proposing to create a universal health-care system in Colorado?
No. I am fervently opposed to this ballot issue. Colorado has cut the rate of uninsured by half in the past few years, and I feel a $25 billion government-run system in a state with less than 6 million citizens and open borders is extremely risky and unnecessary. Colorado would potentially have the highest tax rates in the country, which concerns me greatly.
Do you think free-standing emergency rooms charge excessive fees?
Yes, but I feel the real issue is that many citizens are unaware that they are going to be incurring “ER type” fees, and instead are expecting a cost more like an urgent care facility.
Should hospitals be required to notify police when an employee is caught stealing narcotics?
Yes. It is not only theft, but drug theft poses a terrifying risk to patients and the public.