From left: Democrat Morgan Carroll, Republican Mike Coffman and Libertarian Norm Olsen. 

(Photos: AP, Olsen campaign)

Libertarian Norm Olsen and Democrat Morgan Carroll are challenging incumbent Republican Mike Coffman in Colorado's 6th Congressional District, which covers the eastern Denver suburbs including Aurora.

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As of June 30, Coffman had raised more than $2.3 million, Carroll nearly $1.4 million and Olsen $0. Updated figures are due from the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15.

Olsen and Carroll answered the following questions about issues they may face if elected. Coffman's 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?

Morgan Carroll
(Democrat)
"The federal government should stop profiting off the backs of students and reduce interest rates on student loans. If the government can lend to banks at 1 percent, then they should be able to lend to students at 1 percent as well. in addition, we should work to close tax loopholes so that everyone pays their fair share, and reduce subsidies for fossil fuel companies."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

At a Denver Post debate in 2014, Coffman said that he has focused on "how to reduce military spending without compromising national security." Additionally, Coffman believes that "moderate adjustments" on "entitlement or mandatory spending programs," like food stamps and Social Security disability are necessary.
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"To the extent necessary to meet our commitments, veteran benefits should be increased. Otherwise, all federal government spending needs to be subject to significant reductions. Everything! The whole nine yards. Currently, the annual federal deficit is more than the total national debt was just a generation ago. In essence, routine annual deficits represent funding of incumbent re-election through loans co-signed by our grandchildren."
Do you support the Paris climate change deal that the U.S. agreed to in 2015? Why or why not?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "Yes. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time - we must take action to combat it. That's why I'm supporting the Paris climate change deal."
Mike Coffman (Republican) Coffman's campaign website states: "The United States should do everything that it reasonably can to protect the environment and to reduce our carbon footprint." On his official House website, Coffman says humans' role in climate change is "still a subject of debate." Coffman also voted against the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration's main push for reducing carbon emissions.]
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"President Obama may have agreed to it, but the US (i.e. the U.S. Senate) has not. I agree with the Senate. Despite the proclamations of media, politicians, and bureaucrats who know little about science, the scientific community is still at odds as to how much human activity contributes to global warming. Reducing carbon emissions is a good idea, but not an emergency worthy of seriously disrupting our economy or bankrupting major industries."
What is the one thing the federal government could do that would have the biggest positive impact on Colorado's economy?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "The government needs to make investments in our crumbling infrastructure. In CD-6, we live every day with the consequences of the failure of the government to make adequate investments on the 1-25/1-225 corridor. Investments in our transportation infrastructure and in broadband infrastructure will generate jobs and help streamline our economy."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
"To return our nation to prosperity and to make our economy globally competitive we must stop out of control deficit spending, cut taxes, end unnecessary regulatory burdens on business, provide access to credit for small business, and focus our education resources on math, science, engineering and technology," Coffman said on his House website.
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"Legislating policy which benefits a specific state is a major cause of the fiscal folly that exists in Washington D.C.; I will not go there. Eliminating the double taxation of corporate dividends, for a start, will benefit all states including Colorado."
How should the federal government balance the need for affordable energy with its stated goal of shifting to higher-cost renewable sources?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "With renewable energy growing cheaper by the day, the federal government should continue and expand programs to make renewable energy more accessible to Americans - increasing access to renewables while driving down the cost of energy."
Mike Coffman (Republican) As mentioned above, Coffman supports reducing the U.S.' carbon footprint. He adds on his House website: "No doubt, there will always be those with extreme views about climate change. They do not care if their radical environmental solutions punish working middle class families. For families, who are already struggling under a weak economy, policies that do not allow for a balanced approach will only lead to job losses and higher energy costs."
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"You can’t have your cake and eat it too. A choice has to be made. The government should eliminate subsidies for solar and wind, and remove obstacles to nuclear power. Should solar and wind become cost effective, they will be adopted by the free market without coercion."
Should western states, including Colorado, assume control of federally owned land? (See here for a good explanation of this issue.) Why or why not?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "No, we need to preserve our public lands for future generations, and shouldn't sell them off to private interests."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

Coffman said the following on his House website: "Our public lands should be managed by a multiple use model that balances conservation, recreation, and responsible resource utilization.  Colorado's forests are one of our greatest resources but overgrowth makes forests susceptible to disease and wildfire.  Congress must take all necessary steps to protect our forests and our watersheds on public lands from epidemic and catastrophic wildfires."

Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"Yes! In many cases, federally owned land is not used productively, nor is it taxed. Let states and/or private owners use this land productively and contribute to the local economy."
What are one or two changes you would like to see to federal gun laws?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "I live five minutes away from where the Aurora theater shooting occurred four years ago, and carried and passed the universal background check bill - even as we faced recall elections and I personally faced nine death threats. We need to pass universal background checks at the federal level."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

Coffman said the following on his House website: "The right to keep and bear arms is protected under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and it is vital to promote responsible gun ownership by keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and of the mentally unstable." The National Rifle Association gives Coffman an "A," meaning he has an "excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues" and has made a "vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment."
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"We could abolish several. Specifically, the BATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] is a rouge agency which needs to be done away with."
Do you want to keep the Affordable Care Act and possibly make minor changes, overhaul it, or eliminate it? Please explain.
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "What's clear is that Americans are still spending too much for too little healthcare. While the ACA is imperfect, we have made huge strides towards achieving an America where every sick child can see a doctor. However, we need to do more to address the cost drivers behind today's skyrocketing healthcare costs - and empowering Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices is a key step we can take to ensure that we bend the cost curve and provide Americans effective and affordable healthcare."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

Coffman has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, though he supports some of its  provisions: allowing dependents to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26, and prohibiting discrimination based on gender or pre-existing conditions.
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"Despite two emergency rescues by the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is failing. Our own Colorado HealthOP went bankrupt last year leaving 83,000 Coloradans in the lurch. ACA’s problems stem from the fact that it was devised by politicians primarily for political purposes and it relies on government coercion rather than incentives and free choice. Fixing this mess would be equivalent to trying to resurrect the Titanic. Healthcare costs are high because the patient rarely ever pays for anything and is, therefore, not a cost conscious consumer. This is the conceptual issue that needs to be addressed."
College has become unaffordable for many Americans. What would you do to make it more affordable?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "The first thing we need to do is tackle the student debt burden. The federal government needs to get out of the business of profiting from student loans - if we can lend to banks at 1 percent we should be able to provide loans to students at 1 percent as well. In addition, we should explore options for students to refinance the debt they already have."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

"I have supported temporary measures to help those with student debt," Coffman said on his campaign website. "However, the focus and incentives also need to be on promoting skills-based education with an emphasis on the shorter certificate and vocational training programs that train for jobs that pay a living wage and provide a path into the middle class.  An elitist bias against the trades is putting far too many young people on a path to poverty because they are graduating from four-year colleges & universities with non-technical degrees."
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"If you want the price of something to go up a lot, make $1.2 trillion worth of easy credit available for it. Government policy has created this mess. Solution? Get the government out of higher education."
Should the federal government play any role in making housing more affordable in places like Colorado? If so, what should it do?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) The federal government should fully fund the affordable housing tax credit.

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

[CPR was unable to find information that directly answered this question.]
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"No. Who is to decide what affordable is? There is a thing called the market where concepts like supply and demand determine what is affordable. If there is a demand for lower cost housing, the market will provide such. Government subsidies and guarantees force housing costs up beyond what we can afford. Doesn’t anyone remember 2008?"
Do you believe adults who came to this country illegally should have a path to citizenship? Why or why not? 
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "Yes, everyone can agree that our current immigration system is broken and is tearing families apart, affecting communities and businesses alike. First, we should issue a moratorium on the deportation of nonviolent criminals until we can pass a comprehensive immigration reform plan. Second, we should ensure that any comprehensive immigration reform bill contains a pathway to citizenship."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

Coffman's stance on immigration has changed as the demographics of his district have become more diverse. In 2011, Coffman called the Dream Act, which would allow a path for legal residency for undocumented immigrations, a "nightmare." His 2011 campaign website said the U.S. must "never grant amnesty to those who have violated our laws." He also had co-sponsored a bill to make English the nation's official language.

More recently, he's supported granting legal status to immigrants in the country illegally and has even made an effort to learn Spanish. “When you’re with people and you hear stories like that, it changes your view,” he told the New York Times this summer.

Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"No. As a nation of laws, our actions must not reward illegal activity and simultaneously punish those who abide by the law."
What should the federal government do to address growing income inequality in America, and in Colorado?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "We must take action to grow good-paying jobs for the middle-class. We need to take urgent action on student debt and our crumbling infrastructure – providing jobs and ensuring that we can build a 21st century economy. In addition, we should reform the tax code, and legislation for pass equal pay for equal work and paid sick leave."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

[CPR was unable to find information that directly answered this question.]
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"Income equality in the US is due to fiscal and monetary policy of the government. The US economy is now carrying $62 trillion in debt (government, corporate, personal combined). Bankers have created this money out of thin air, and then collect interest on all of it. That is what creates the income inequality, the billionaires, and the financial wizards who receive annual multi-million dollar bonuses. Balance the budget and audit the Federal Reserve. Most importantly, restrict the ability of the banking system to create money out of thin air. We need to finance our economy with savings and investments, not fiat money."
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?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "I don’t – ESSA was a major step forward in addressing the overtesting of our children. States should have the power to decide for themselves how best to educate our kids."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

Coffman voted for ESSA. In a version of his campaign website from 2011, Coffman called No Child Left Behind a "federal intrusion." "Education is a matter best left to state legislatures and locally elected school boards," he said.
Norm Olsen
Libertarian)
"No. If you want an organization to be inefficient, ineffective, and fiscally irresponsible, get the federal government involved. Average annual K-12 per student spending in the US is now $12,000. The average class size is 22. That’s $264,000 per year per class. Anyone know a K-12 teacher who makes $264,000 a year? (2013 data)"
If elected or re-elected, what one piece of legislation would you focus on? 
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "We have to take urgent action on student debt."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

"Economic growth and job creation is my top priority," Coffman's House website says
Norm Olsen (Libertarian) "Rescind the authority of the Federal Reserve to buy US government securities. Government borrowing would then require non-trivial interest rates which the government could not tolerate. Thus, deficit spending would rapidly come to a complete halt."
Should marijuana be legalized across the country? Why or why not?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "The War on Drugs is a civil rights issue that has disproportionately disrupted communities of color. We shouldn’t be prosecuting nonviolent offenders, and the federal government should pass legislation so that small businesses in the marijuana industry can access the banking system. At the same time, we need to keep marijuana out of our public places and work harder to keep it out of the hands of children."

Mike Coffman
(Republican)

After Amendment 64 passed in the state, Coffman said, "I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters, given the passage of this initiative, and so I feel obligated to support this legislation,” in a release quoted by Fox31 Denver. Since November 2012, Coffman has urged federal action to allow marijuana businesses access to banking services.
Norm Olsen (Libertarian) "Certainly! Prohibition is not working; most everyone who wants to use marijuana does so. Making it legal will eliminate 30% of the crime and corruption in the US overnight."
What should the federal government do to improve the long-term financial viability of Medicare and Social Security?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "We have to ensure that Social Security and Medicare are here for our kids, and for those who have paid into these programs over their entire lives. We cannot privatize Social Security, or demonize it as a ‘Ponzi scheme’ like my opponent Mike Coffman. We should also raise the cap on Social Security contributions. And we cannot voucher-ize Medicare. We need to fully fund these programs. With a national savings rate at 0 percent, millions of Americans depend on Social Security to provide for them in retirement. We should also empower Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, one of the biggest drivers of healthcare costs."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
At a 2014 Denver Post debate, Coffman said that he believes "wealthier seniors ought to pay more for their Medicare benefits." Coffman also said that the Social Security disability program should be reformed. His campaign website also says costs can be reduced, without cutting benefits, by reforming the delivery system and focusing on research.
Norm Olsen (Libertarian)

"Check my website for the details. SS benefits must be reduced, FICA taxes increased, and Medicare premiums and/or deductibles increased. Most importantly, retirement age must be increased by 4 months per year so that within 10 years, retirement age catches up to life expectancy. This is not a generational problem, it’s a national problem. All generations need to share the pain."

Do you support raising the federal minimum wage? Why, or why not?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "Yes - when a single father or mother working full time can’t afford an apartment on minimum wage, we have a problem. We absolutely need to raise the federal minimum wage."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
Coffman said that he is against raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, according to an article from the Denver Post. In 2013, he voted against a measure that would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015.
Norm Olsen (Libertarian) "No. Minimum wage workers will be replaced by automation/technology and over the long haul, a large percentage of these minimum wage jobs will cease to exist. Thus, a large segment of minimum wage workers will find that their wages are now at the true mathematical minimum: zero."
What changes should be made to the federal tax code?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "We need to do more to ensure that the wealthiest Americans and corporations are paying their fair share. Tax inversions and other loopholes benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
Coffman said in a Denver post debate that he supports ending corporate tax credits and deductions in exchange for a lower marginal rate. To address corporates moving overseas, Coffman recommended a "territorial tax system." He explained that current tax code requires U.S. corporations with overseas operations to pay taxes in their host countries as well as at home. "We need to do what all our competitors are doing and allow U.S. corporations with overseas operations to bring the money home without paying taxes again," he said.
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"In order from near term to long: exempt all healthcare insurance premiums from income tax; eliminate double taxation of corporate dividends; eliminate corporate income taxes altogether; replace the personal income tax with excise (i.e. consumption) taxes; eliminate the IRS and its 84,000 employees and 800 forms."
What can Congress do to ensure timely medical care for veterans?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "The Obama Administration, the VA, and Congress all share responsibility for the crisis we’re seeing at the VA. We certainly need to take action to reform the VA and shorten wait times and an antiquated paperwork system, but we also need to be sure that are are fully funding the VA so that it has the resources to provide services to our veterans."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
"Veterans who live 40 miles outside of a VA facility, or can’t get an appointment within 30 days, must be allowed to go a private health care provider, reimbursed by the VA," Coffman's campaign says.
Norm Olsen (Libertarian) "Offer veterans an option of obtaining highly subsidized (by the VA) private health insurance."
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?
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "We first need to recognize the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, and even more displaced as a result of this disastrous civil war. Our country has historically been a refuge for those seeking safety from persecution and looking for a better life. We should continue to accept Syrian refugees after a rigorous vetting process."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
Coffman opposes allowing Syrian refugees to resettle in Colorado. In 2013, Coffman opposed military intervention in Syria. However, Coffman later said President Obama has "done too little to tke the fight to those who seek to do us harm." 
Norm Olsen (Libertarian)

"Get out! Who gave our president the authority/power to decide whether the elected leader of Syria is a good guy or a bad guy? That’s for the Syrians to decide. We should cease and desist all efforts to support the Syrian rebels, and cooperate with the legitimate government of Syria (yes, that means al Assad) to remove ISIS from Syrian soil. Assad may be a “thug”, but that’s not our decision to make."

Do you support or oppose legalized abortion? Are there any exceptions? Please explain.
Morgan Carroll (Democrat) "I support legalized abortion."
Mike Coffman
(Republican)
"I'm pro-life, but I believe that there ought to be exceptions," Coffman said at a Denver Post debate. "I did vote for a bill in the Congress that after 20 weeks, certainly women could decide during that span of time, and after that, there would be exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, he said.
Norm Olsen
(Libertarian)
"Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work. Prohibition of drugs is not working. Prohibition of abortion will create new problems while failing to correct any existing problem. No exceptions."

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