Ken Waszkiewicz and Doug Aden are new to the political playing field and both come with the intention of leveling it.
Aden, who hails from the American Constitution party, and Waszkiewicz, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate, are vying for the 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The citizen campaigns will face Democratic incumbent Betsy Markey, D-Fort Collins, and Republican Cory Gardner, a state legislator from Yuma, in the Nov. 2 elections.
Doug Aden, American Constitution party
Adenâ€™s goal if elected is to â€œfree us from the shackles of government.â€
From the small town of Brighton, Aden grew up on a farm and attended CSU for mechanical engineering before dropping out to run his familyâ€™s company. After his father lost his job with Frontier Airlines and took over the company again, he came back to CSU for a business degree with a focus in accounting.
Since then, heâ€™s opened his own company ÂÂâ€“â€“Â BSI Crowd Control â€“â€“ and lives in Fort Lupton.
He is now contending for the CD-4 House seat as a member of the American Constitution Party. Founded in 1992, the party started as a â€œcoalition of independent state partiesâ€ and was originally called the U.S. Taxpayers Party, according to the affiliationâ€™s website.
It adopted its current name in 1999 to, the website says, â€œbetter reflect the partyâ€™s primary focus of returning government to the U.S. Constitutionâ€™s provisions and limitations.â€
One of the biggest motivators for Aden to look for a new political party was current Rep. Betsy Markeyâ€™s vote on the health care bill, which he said is taking advantage of the people â€œunder the pretense that theyâ€™re taking care of them.â€
Both parties, he said, have different philosophies on where to spend taxpayer dollars, but in the end â€œthey both want to spend the money.â€
â€œEvery time you make a regulation, every time you create a tax, you suppress the ability of the free market to expand,â€ Aden said.
Another big-ticket issue for Aden is renewable energy, which he said was one of the drivers to become an engineer.
His main reason for running, which resonates with most politicians running in CD-4, is keeping the country functioning and livable for future generations.
â€œI have five kids, and I want them to have the same opportunities that my parents and I had,â€ Aden said. His son Matt, 20, is taking a year off before college to manage his campaign.
For Aden, education and the economy are one in the same because students are graduating into a dimly lit job market, which inhibits their access to â€œliberty and prosperity.â€
He wants to create jobs that will help America sustain its place in the global economy while providing a livelihood for its citizens.
â€œEducation is an important thing,â€ he said. â€œWe have to have higher education to be competitive in the global market.â€
Ken â€œwaskoâ€ Waszkiewicz, unaffiliated
With his degree in human nutrition and dietetics from CSU in 1995, Waszkiewicz said heâ€™s done every job but the one he went to school for â€“â€“ including a line cook, night stocker, traffic worker for the city of Fort Collins and now a candidate for the U.S. House.
As a young adult, Waszkiewicz didnâ€™t care about politics. But when his daughter Ivy was born 11 months ago, he realized the opportunities for her generation would be limited without a change of course.
â€œThere are a lot of people who feel this way, but no one is willing to stand up,â€ he said, adding that there is one option voters havenâ€™t tried: electing an unaffiliated candidate.
Before registering unaffiliated in 2002, Waszkiewicz spent time as a Democrat first and then as a Republican, upon entering the â€œfiscal world.â€
He compared the two-party system to an AA meeting, where â€œboth have issues, but they wonâ€™t admit them.â€ When all parties start working together, he said, major issues will be resolved.
Waszkiewicz petitioned his way onto the ballot, receiving 1,222 signatures when he only needed 800. He, his father, his wife and family friends did this by going door-to-door sharing his campaign platforms.
Channeling John F. Kennedyâ€™s approach to taking America to the Moon, Waszkiewicz wants, by 2020, the U.S. to produce enough energy to sustain the entire world.
His plan: The energy revolution, which brings together researchers from universities and entrepreneurs to lay out the pros and cons of all energy options â€“â€“ including solar, biomass, natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal and more â€“â€“ and create a sustainable option.
This will trickle down, Waszkiewicz said, into jobs and bring Colorado to the forefront of the energy solution market.
â€œWeâ€™re not producing anything,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re just existing.â€
His next major campaign goal is to set up term-limits for Washington because he â€œdoesnâ€™t believe anyone with that much power should go unchecked.â€
U.S. House: Two, two-year terms.
U.S. Senate: Two, three-year terms.
U.S. Supreme Court: Two, five-year terms with justices being elected by the people rather than appointed by the president.
If elected, Waszkiewicz would also fight to establish a flat tax where nothing would be taken from an individuals paycheck initially, but at the end of the year, 52 percent would be kept by the worker, 30 percent set aside and suggested for investment and 18 percent would go to the government.
This would leave the U.S. at about a 6.5 percent sales tax, he said.
â€œI have solutions for problems, and you may not agree 100 percent. But who do you agree with 100 percent?â€ he said.
Waszkiewicz posts videos on his website to explain each campaign platform in depth.
News Editor Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.