Even in their heyday, the big urban news outlets almost never covered state legislative races very well, much less school board, city council, and other local elections. Small-time election campaigns were seen, for the most part, as boring to the mass audience, especially on local TV news.
New media offer great ways to get to know local candidates in depth, if you have the tiniest bit of inclination dig it up with few clicks of a mouse.
One such new-media platform is internet-only radio, where even the lowliest candidate for the lowliest race can shine.
The host of “Art’s Place” is Art Carlson, who’s running in the Republican primary for Senate District 28.
Last Saturday, April 21, for example, Carlson had Art “Skip” Carlson on his show. (Yes, they have the same name, but Art Skip Carlson is running for House District 50.)
The interview, covering a wide range of topics, compliments and expands on information on his campaign website and elsewhere.
I won’t present the entire interview here, because you should just listen to it if you’re interested. But I’ll pull out a few highlights:
ART CARLSON: Let’s find out a little bit more about you. Why are you running for State House, Skip?
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: Well, Art, I’m a fourth generation Coloradan. In fact, I’m a fourth generation Weld County person. We’ve been active in politics, we’ve been active in the community for my whole life. My parents were. My great uncle was governor of the state of Colorado. We’ve had representatives from my family – my ancestry in the statehouse ever since Colorado became a state. And you know, we had to vote on our constitution four times before it was ever actually accepted as a state. We would not, had we been successful in our first run at the state, would not have been the Centennial State but would have indeed been in two years before. So, with all of that background, I just thought I needed to give something back to the community and the country that has been so great to me, full of opportunity. I didn’t succeed at all things. But I’ve had an opportunity to do things, and it’s been a great place to live and a great place to raise a family, and I just want to protect that.
ART CARLSON: All right. And what are your main issues that you’re going to tackle down at the capitol?
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: [chuckles] Well, you know, Art, that’s one thing that so many people ask me! [inaudible] says, “Well, what are you going to go down there and …” I said, “you know, I don’t know that I’m going to go down there and do anything other than get rid of a bunch of things that don’t belong there. I think, all of these people going down and saying, “I’m going to pass this law for this and, I’m going to pass this for that…” without thinking of the ramifications and looking into the past and seeing, well, if we got rid of something, maybe, your goal would be accomplished by getting rid of some of the encumbrances that we have in the Statehouse now. But, what I’m going to have is opportunity. My by-word is ‘Opportunity to succeed for all.’ Forget about some of these government regulations … some of this stuff. I’m tired of governments – state, local, and so forth, giving these significant tax credits to huge corporations to come in and build their buildings, and go to work, and put our small businesses out of work, and we can’t work with our small businesses which is the backbone of Colorado, and the backbone of this country, to help them be successful and to flourish, because that is so much better. So, that’s basically what I’m after, is getting back to local – as local as you can on anything and making sure that everybody has an opportunity to succeed….
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …the past four years when the democrats controlled both houses and we had a really liberal governor, and they decided to put in these taxes. And they figured out a way to get around TABOR. But they don’t call them taxes. They call them fees.
ART CARLSON: [laughs]
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: … The FASTER thing that came in, where people just to go register their cars had to pay additional funds, is nothing but a huge, terrible tax on those who could least afford it, and that’s the low income, and those people who are on Social Security — on fixed income. It hurt them significantly and it didn’t raise that much money.
ART CARLSON: That’s right! I had two cars and I had to get rid of one because I just couldn’t afford the insurance and the taxes on it.
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: … We certainly need some money for road and bridge and so forth. But we ought to think about working some deals, having a consumptive tax, perhaps raise the tax on the gas, on a exchange for getting rid of some of the things that the oil and gas people have to do, and to get rid of FASTER, would be far, far more fair, raise significantly more money, and be much, much better off for the entire community.
ART CARLSON: That’s right. If we just grow the economy, that will bring in more revenue too.
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: Oh, absolutely!….
ART CARLSON: What are your thoughts on vouchers and charter schools?
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: I love charter schools. My grandson is in a charter school. And as I’m going down to the Statehouse, I don’t think that I should have that responsibility, although I will have because that’s who it has deferred to. I think the local community should handle that stuff the best they possibly can. We put some new charter schools in here in Greeley, and they are doing extremely well. The public school is having a little bit of a tough time, but as it ends up, all and all, we’re doing a little bit better and I think if we do more of those things.
And I’m for vouchers. Vouchers are nothing more than competition, competition based on who’s doing the best job. If my grandson, who is one that we sent to a private school, and we sent him there only because he needed that, and that was the best place we could find for his education. We didn’t wake up one day and say, we got a bunch of money we want to waste. Let’s see, where can we waste money today. No, because we didn’t have the money to waste, but we invested it in my grandson’s education as well as a number of other people did here in Greeley. And that education he has gotten from that school has been just tremendous. And now it’s part of the Greeley system as a charter school, and they are doing very well…
ART CARLSON: …I really love living here in Colorado….
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …Colorado is a wonderful place. We’ve got to keep working at it. I’ve got another meeting that I have to run off to here, Art.
ART CARLSON: Well, it’s been great having you, Skip. It was an honor having you on the show. It’s so much fun talking to you. You have such knowledge of the state, and I really like to pick at your brain more. Unfortunately, next week is the last episode of Art’s Place since I have to devote more time to the campaign… I think it would be amazing at roll call when they have to announce two Art Carlsons.
ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …That would be a good thing.
ART CARLSON: Yes it would.
If you look around the web, you don’t find as many radio blogs in Colorado, like Art Carlson’s, as you might expect. And, as he said, he’s suspending his show. Carlson seems like the kind of guy who will help you get one going, if you want to pick up the slack.