Chaffee County Commissioners Drop The Republican Label

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<p>Courtesy Frank Holman</p>
Photo: Chaffee Commissioner Frank Holman
Chaffee County Commissioner Frank Holman

The three commissioners of Chaffee County met last week at the clerk’s office in Salida to change their party registration from Republican to unaffiliated. The move reflects their growing frustration with party politics.

Chaffee County commissioner Frank Holman spoke with Colorado Matters' host Ryan Warner.

Why did you switch your registration to unaffliated?

"I believe the problem with our government currently is that our president and other elected representatives in our nation's capital are not performing with the country's best interest as their focus. They are all driven from both the Democrat and Republican parties ... by lobbyists.

"All of them appear to be running for reelection from that first day on the job. They are basing their decisions on what might get them reelected, rather than working together to solve problems and develop good legislation. These issues lead to gridlock and poor legislative practice."

How long have you been a Republican?

"Gosh, since the late '70s."

Was switching a tough decision to make?

"Yes it was. It was very hard for me to make that decision. I've always been certainly a conservative and I have always felt ... [Republican] beliefs and values are much closer to those I hold dear and can support.

Is the gridlock you're talking about part of local government too?

"Not so much at the local level I don't think. I believe that all three of us have governed with the best interest of the citizens of Chaffee County at heart, always have. And occasionally, we get pressure from one side to the other regarding the decision but our decisions are based solely on what we think is best for the counties. Being unaffiliated and representing everyone makes that a little more clear cut and simple certainly for us."

How would you fix the problem nationally?

"Well I would start, first, with encouraging folks to consider moving to registering unaffiliated. And then we would develop a document which spells out our fix Washington solutions.

"I think candidates for office should have an opportunity to sign an agreement of support for the fix Washington document. If they want our vote. ... and if members of the Democrat and Republican Party won't support our fix Washington steps, we could start a new party that will."

Commissioner Frank Holman's ideas to "fix Washington":

  1. Ban all lobbying and lobbyists from Washington D.C.
  2. Limit time in office for senators, congressmen and the president to one, eight-year term.
  3. Stagger general elections for senators and congressmen at four year intervals.
  4. Schedule vote-of-confidence elections two years into senators' and congressmen's terms.
  5. Reduce the size of elected representatives' districts, if necessary, to ensure they have the time to stay directly in touch with their constituents.
  6. Schedule time in session to allow elected officials to spend at least one-half of their time at home.
  7. Make elected officials' pay worthwhile but eliminate government-paid retirement benefits, and provide these officials with the same health coverage that other government employees receive.
  8. Disallow earmarks on all bills.