From left: Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, Republican Nicholas Morse, and Libertarian Richard Longstreth.

(Photos: Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives, Morse campaign, Longstreth campaign)

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is defending his seat from challengers Republican Nicholas Morse and Libertarian Richard Longstreth.

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As of June 30, Polis had raised a little more than $1 million, Morse nearly than $130,000, and Longstreth $0. Updated figures are due from the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15.

The candidates answered the following questions from CPR News about issues they may face. The Morse campaign decline to complete CPR's questionnaire. His positions are comprised of previous statements and news coverage that CPR News has compiled.

What areas of federal spending should be increased? What should be cut?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "I support a constitutional amendment that mandates Congress to balance the federal budget. We must live within our means and our budget should be a statement of our values. I value access to a high quality education because education is the great equalizer. With a great education, anyone no matter their background or the wealth of their family can achieve the American dream. Building ladders of opportunity for all is where I spent most of my efforts in Congress. This is why I’ve been a tireless advocate for prioritizing our collective resources to better our people and expand opportunity for all. The government needs to reduce runaway unnecessary spending on defense. That's why I've proposed several amendments to cut military spending by as much as $5 billion. Under my plan, the President would have broad authority to reduce the total amount of spending authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act by 1 percent. While defense is critical, we have gone to the extreme spending as much money on our military as the other top-seven countries combined, yet Congress continues to fund defense pork above and beyond what the military wants and needs."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On his website, Morse said that he supports “the lowest levels of government spending,” and that “We need a monetary policy which creates a surplus in government revenue so we can pay down the national debt as soon as possible.”

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Nowhere should be increased. We should cut all frivolous and all ineffective government programs, such as the Departments of Labor and Education. I also believe we could significantly cut military spending by closing bases overseas and bringing our troops home to defend our own borders. Our government must begin to operate on a balanced budget."
Do you support the Paris climate change deal that the U.S. agreed to in 2015? Why or why not?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Climate change is one of the largest security threats to the United States and the globe. The Paris Agreement brought the global community together in an effort to address this glaring environmental epidemic. Now that we’ve established a global standard, we must focus on implementing these policies, and upholding our end of the bargain. In Congress, I support a carbon tax with a middle class tax cut. Most recently, I offered an amendment to the energy and water appropriations bill to reduce fossil fuel research subsidies by $285 million, and in another recent appropriation bill, I attempted to strip millions from subsidies for oil shale drilling technology, because we shouldn't be wasting taxpayer dollars on propping up big oil and gas. I also support a moratorium on new coal plants."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) Morse said on a Reddit AMA that he supports “common sense legislation that allows energy providers the ability to operate freely without fear of government intervention while protecting the environment.” On VoteSmart.org, he answered “No” to the question, “Do you support federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?”

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"No. International treaties needlessly entangle us with other nations and restrict what citizens in our own country can or cannot do."
What is the one thing the federal government could do that would have the biggest positive impact on Colorado's economy?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Months before I was elected we endured the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Since 2010, Colorado has been a model example of a strong economic recovery. This is reflected in the unemployment rate being consistently below the national average. Yet, while more people are working, we still have not fully recovered from the economic impact of the Great Recession. At the federal level, we can focus on implementing policies that create a fairer economy for everyone by; passing legislation that encourages profit sharing, implementing an overhaul to the overtime rules to ensure you get paid for the work you do, and addressing the mounting student loan debt that is holding far too many back."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On Votesmart.org, Morse answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth.” On his website, the first “promise” he lists to the CD-2 is to reduce taxes.

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"I think the federal government should end the drug war. Colorado could then use marijuana to advertise for tourism purposes and revenue in the state could increase. Additionally, we would see people being punished for victim-less crimes decrease."
How should the federal government balance the need for affordable energy with its stated goal of shifting to higher-cost renewable sources?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "The need for affordable energy and renewable energy are not mutually exclusive. We can achieve both goals simultaneously. I have worked to level the playing field between fossil fuel companies and renewable energy companies by eliminating special subsides for the oil and gas industry. Additionally, I have worked to remove barriers to innovative, renewable energy businesses by reforming the regulations that put renewable energy development at a disadvantage over fossil fuel development on public lands. The real threat of climate change is enough of a reason to aggressively pursue renewable energy opportunities, but the economic reality of fossil fuel industry is that it is highly cyclical and when it’s in a bust it’s devastating to the communities who economy depend on it. We must break this cycle with a dependable clean energy economy."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) “I’m a strong supporter of oil and gas in Colorado’s second congressional district,” Morse said in a video for his website. “I believe we can responsibly produce energy in our district without jeopardizing our safety.” He says on his website that “No miner or roughneck should operate on a daily basis wondering if tomorrow they will lose their job because of something their government has done to them."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"The federal government should not be so intimately involved in markets and should remove restrictions and incentives to allow the free market to flourish."
Should western states, including Colorado, assume control of federally owned land? (See here for a good explanation of this issue.) Why or why not?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "In Colorado, our public lands are critical for our quality of life and for our economy. I will continue to fight to keep our public lands public. I have authored the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act to protect over 60,000 acres in Colorado’s pristine land of Eagle and Summit County. This legislation was built in collaboration with hundreds of stakeholders and input from thousands of Coloradans over a six-year period. I hosted the ranking member of the Natural Resource Committee for a tour of the wilderness area last spring, and I’m proud to say that through these extensive efforts we are in a strong place to see this legislation become law. In addition to my work to establish new protection for thousands of acres of Colorado’s high country with wilderness designation, I have fought to protect the funding for our national parks and public lands. I am also the lead in the House of Representatives on protecting the PILT program. The PILT program is vital for our local counties with public lands to carry out important services like firefighting, law enforcement, and construction of schools and roads. Colorado receives over $34 million in payment each year from the PILT program."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) “We don’t need a federal agency stepping on the rights of states in how they manage their resources,” Morse said on his website.

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Yes. The federal government should not own any land outside of administrative infrastructure."
What are one or two changes you would like to see to federal gun laws?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Coloradans share a love of liberty and freedom. I’m committed to protecting the Second Amendment while implementing commonsense gun safety legislation, such as requiring background checks and preventing terrorists from legally obtaining guns and building arsenals. These commonsense protections can co-exist with American’s Constitutional right in the 2nd amendment. That’s why I support H.R. 1217, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act. This bipartisan bill would close loopholes that allow individuals to purchase guns without background checks at gun shows, online, or via classified ads. Coloradans, despite having closed these loopholes, are still at risk because convicted criminals can drive to Wyoming and purchase guns at gun shows without a background check."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) "I’m a strong second-amendment supporter…” Morse said in a Denver7 interview. “I don’t think there should be any restrictions. I think that’s evident in the 2nd Amendment, there should be no law infringing on the right to bear arms.”

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"The federal government currently has laws regarding the manufacture, trade, possession, transfer, record keeping, transport, and destruction of firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories. All of these laws should be repealed and states should be allowed to determine their own gun laws."
Do you want to keep the Affordable Care Act and possibly make minor changes, overhaul it, or eliminate it? Please explain.
Jared Polis (Democrat) "All Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. Before the ACA 14 percent of Coloradans where uninsured, today that number is 6.7 percent. The standard quote, before the ACA, was an annual increase in the double digits especially for our small businesses, this year the increase for small business was two percent. But like most things, there are significant improvements to be made. For instance, here in Colorado, it is imperative that we address the high costs of health insurance for people who are in the individual market living in our mountain communities. I also support eliminating the medical device tax and offsetting that cost by closing loopholes for oil and gas companies—a bill I introduced in Congress. I would also like to see increased competition between carriers across state lines, which would decrease premiums."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On VoteSmart.org, Morse answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?"

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Eliminate it. The Constitution does not justify the government being involved in the private healthcare of individuals."
College has become unaffordable for many Americans. What would you do to make it more affordable?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "I introduced several bills in Congress to promote innovative approaches to bring down the overall cost of higher education and skill training such as encouraging open source textbooks and competency based educational opportunities, including vocational training and community college. Congress needs to act to cap the student loan interest rates and move to a simple income-based repayment system. This will make higher education accessible to more people and make student loan repayment more efficient. I am particularly excited by the numerous dual and concurrent enrollment programs in Colorado that allow high schoolers to receive transferable college credit and even earn an Associate’s Degree concurrent with their high school diploma."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) “I want to introduce legislation in three steps that gets this under control. One, I want to provide alternative funding for students who might not want to go to university,” Morse said in a video for his website. He used examples like farmers and metalworkers. “Two, I would like to offer a pre-tax elective for students who choose to pay down their student debt out of their gross income instead of their net income.” And the third step he said is to provide “employee match for any employer who retains a student, who is paying down their student debt, after five years."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Remove government incentives and funding to universities. This funding has led to exponential increases in tuition and fees for students while placing them in debt for several decades after graduation with no guarantee of funding a career in the field that was studied. Get the government out of education and we will see both education and the affordability of education improve."
Should the federal government play any role in making housing more affordable in places like Colorado? If so, what should it do?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Colorado is the second-fastest growing state in the nation, according to Census Bureau data. As the population in Colorado continues to expand, we have a responsibility to provide quality, affordable housing for residents. Affordable housing is a necessity across Colorado – whether that’s in the Front Range or mountain communities – the federal government plays a role in producing reasonably priced housing for everyone. I lead the efforts in Congress to pass the Lake Hill Administrative Site Affordable Housing Act, which conveyed over 40 acres of federal administrative land from the U.S. Forest Service to Summit County to build affordable workforce housing, while supporting a new Dillon Ranger district administrative building nearby. This benefits everyone. Residents and a workforce will have access to affordable housing and our Forest Service gets to improve their building infrastructure. I have several affordable housing working groups across my district and remain confident that with input from community residents, businesses, and local officials we can produce innovative ways to expand affordable housing across Colorado."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) Morse said on a Reddit AMA, “There are areas that could use re-development and affordable housing could play a big role in that. When we don't have the opportunity to expand then we should re-develop areas of our community that could use the boost that would come with new housing & tenants and/or owners with some new leisure income."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"No. This is not a role of government as outlined in the Constitution of the United States."
Do you believe adults who came to this country illegally should have a path to citizenship? Why or why not? 
Jared Polis (Democrat) "I was proud to help introduce the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate 68-32. The bill would have created a pathway to normalization, after immigrates paid a fine and go through a background check, it increases our national security, and streamlined our country’s guest worker system. Bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows will allow families to remain together and benefit the economy by increasing tax revenues. We must create reality-based pathways for legal immigration that reflect our economic needs as a country."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) “As the third-fastest growing state in the country, [Colorado is] experiencing overcrowded school systems, highly congested traffic, smog, and loss of our farmland and open space to development,” said a letter on Morse’s website. “We simply cannot afford to allow illegal immigration to prosper in our ever-growing state."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Yes. All people who wish to come to the country, legally or illegally, should be allowed a path to citizenship. We need to look at revamping our current immigration laws to make this easier so that less people want to enter illegally."
What should the federal government do to address growing income inequality in America, and in Colorado?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Modern politics have been characterized by special interest flooding elections to rig the system in their favor. Regular people, and their concerns, are shut out. Income inequality is a symptom of this. In order to seriously deal with income inequality and pass real legislation to combat it, we first have to address special interest money and its overwhelming influence in campaigns and politics. We cannot deal with the challenges of tomorrow until we take on special interest money today."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) [We were unable to find information that addressed this question directly.]

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Nothing. This is not a role of government as outlined in the Constitution of the United States."
Do you think the federal government ceded too much power to the states in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind? Why or why not?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "The Every Student Succeeds Act goes a long way toward ensuring that all children have access to a top-notch education, and I was proud to serve on the committee that crafted this bipartisan policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act strikes a better balance between empowering local schools by giving them flexibility while holding them accountable for the outcomes of all students."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On his website, Morse said, “Federal policy makers should pass legislation that turns the control of education policy back into the hands of state, local & parental decision makers."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Yes. The government should be involved in education. It is not a role of government according to our Constitution."
If elected or re-elected, what one piece of legislation would you focus on? 
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Congress no longer works for the people. Special interests’ ability to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns is drowning out real people’s voices and the result is Congress only serves the interests of the few and powerful. I am working hard to reduce big money’s influence on our politics so that Congress can make progress on the big issues facing my constituents such as the high cost of higher education, combating climate change, investment in infrastructure, and expanding opportunity for all in our 21st century economy."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) [We were unable to find information that addressed this question directly.]

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"I would focus on legislation that closed military bases and made it so that the federal government passed a balanced budget."
Should marijuana be legalized across the country? Why or why not?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "I authored H.R. 1013, The Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act and I have actively supported H.R. 2652. In Colorado we have seen first-hand the positive effects of Marijuana legalization. However, there are still hurdles to overcome regarding marijuana businesses. I have lead several initiatives to bring common sense regulations to end the failed policy of federal prohibition and to empower states to enact the best policies for their residents."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) In an interview with the Coloradoan, he said that the federal government should stay out of the issue. On a Reddit AMA he said, “I am okay with legal marijuana, it doesn’t bother me… I voted yes on Proposition BB today & I am a fan of how the excess revenue is being used. Funding for schools, marijuana education, substance abuse programs, and after school programs is a good allocation for that money.

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Yes. All victim-less crimes should be legalized. If a person is not hurting anyone or taking anyone's things, they ought to be able to do as they please."
What should the federal government do to improve the long-term financial viability of Medicare and Social Security?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "We must ensure that Medicare and Social Security are sound for the next generation. Ensuring solvency to the Social Security program will take a collective, bipartisan effort. That’s why I cosponsor the Social Security Commission Act, which would establish a bipartisan Social Security commission to create recommendations to Congress with the goal of bringing 75-year solvency to the Social Security program. One idea that I believe is worth exploring is raising the cap on the amount of payroll tax that is subject to Social Security withholding. Like Social Security, Medicare is a vital safety net that must be protected and strengthened in order to meet our commitment to providing seniors with the services and resources they need for a healthy retirement. Nearly 50 million Americans throughout the country – including more than 600,000 in Colorado – rely on Medicare for basic services like preventative health screenings, prescription medication coverage, and durable medical equipment. Rather than kick the can down the road for future generations to deal with, I support sensible reforms to reduce healthcare costs across the board, allowing us to preserve our commitment to seniors and the permanently disabled while ensuring that our kids and grandkids can enjoy the same Medicare benefits available now. "
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On VoteSmart.org, Morse answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you support individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security Taxes into personal retirement accounts?” He added, “Social Security is empty and has been robbed dry by the Democrats. We need to give people the option to earn their retirement back.

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Nothing. This is not a role of government as outlined in the Constitution of the United States."
Do you support raising the federal minimum wage? Why, or why not?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "In Colorado and across the nation we have to work harder to provide for families, save for retirement, and protect residents in the event of unexpected expenses. The minimum wage has increased at too slow a rate for several years; this increase has drastically fallen behind the increase in inflation. Those struggling in American are barely able to make ends meet and this is unacceptable. Working Americans should have the ability to make a living wage. I support a federal minimum wage increase and I support Amendment 70 in Colorado."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) Morse told Denver7 that, “I’m not there yet. Right now where we’re at in the economy, it would be… it would cause certain job losses that could be avoided."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"No. I believe in free markets and competition. An increase in federal minimum wage has been tried and has been proven not to improve quality of life in the long run for anyone."
What changes should be made to the federal tax code?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "As a former businessman and entrepreneur, I understand the complexities of the US tax code. We can all agree that 24,000-page tax code is way too large. We need to simplify our tax policy by eliminating loopholes and many special deductions, so we can bring down the rates for everybody. It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to come together to reform our tax code to guarantee everyone pays their fair share, while also promoting commonsense policies that remove red tape and hinders growth for the next great business."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On VoteSmart.org, Morse says small business taxes, income taxes on both low and middle-income families, and payroll taxes. should be greatly decreased. Capital gains taxes, cigarette taxes, and income taxes on high-income families should stay the same.. He says he would slightly increase corporate taxes.

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"It should be repealed, or at the very least simplified. Taxation is theft."
What can Congress do to ensure timely medical care for veterans?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Congress must provide adequate funding so that veterans get their medical care they deserve and that they were promised. In addition to providing adequate resources Congress must exercise proper oversight. In 2014 it came to light that too many veterans had unacceptable delays time to receiving the care they needed, as a result Congress passed important reforms in Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014 and I was proud to vote yes."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) On his website Morse says, “We need to make sure that active duty, national guard, reservists & veterans in our country are taken care of and not the first ones who are hung out to dry when we are trying to find a solution to our financial crisis. I don't believe any member of the military or a veteran should struggle financially after everything they have given to this country. I promise to every member of the United States military that you will receive compensation that is commensurate with your value to our nation."

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"They could start with upgrading the technology in VA hospitals."
The U.S. has admitted far fewer Syrian refugees than other countries. And President Obama has limited the American military's role in the Syrian civil war to an air campaign against ISIS. What should be America's role in Syria?
Jared Polis (Democrat) "Barring people from certain regions or of specific religions from entering the country is wrong and against our values. I support the admission of refugees from any nation – including Syria – who are fleeing conflict and persecution as long as they are properly vetted. I also believe that we must be open to adjustments in our screening procedures to make our vetting process more responsive to the ever-changing threat of violent extremism. We must also improve our refugee resettlement program to reduce the amount of time that refugees spend in camps abroad, as well as to assist them in effectively assimilating within our communities once they arrive. I have been consistent in opposing America’s military involvement in Syria."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) In a letter on Morse’s website it says he believes “that Syrian refugees would compromise the safety of Coloradans, and he is not willing to compromise on this issue for political expediency.”

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"This question is two different questions. In regard to Syrian refugees, if they want to come here they ought to be allowed. As far as our military involvement overseas, all action should be ceased. This includes ending our current air campaigns."
Do you support or oppose legalized abortion? Are there any exceptions? Please explain.
Jared Polis (Democrat) "I fully support a woman’s right to choose."
Nicholas Morse (Republican) Morse said in a Reddit AMA that “What a woman chooses to do with her body is her personal decision…” and that “We need to increase the recourse available to them in their communities should their well being become jeopardized following any procedure.”

Richard Longstreth 
(Libertarian)

"Support, but more importantly, I believe the government should let the issue be decided at a local level."