Libertarian leanings forge unexpected, bipartisan bonds

“The dynamics in the House and the Senate are just as interesting as the dynamics between Democrats and Republicans,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont

Libertarian leanings forge unexpected, bipartisan bonds

Colorado’s Democrat dominated House and Republican dominated Senate have been shooting down each other’s bills all session long creating the phenomenon of the doomed-to-fail, Walking Dead legislation The Colorado Independent reported on this morning. But the party divide isn’t the only Statehouse split this year. A second, more philosophical rift has yielded unexpected bipartisanship.

“The dynamics in the House and the Senate are just as interesting as the dynamics between Democrats and Republicans,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont. “The Senate as a whole tends to run a little more libertarian this year, on both sides of the aisle … In the House, you see a little more of your traditional conservative and progressive values, which actually forms different kinds of bipartisanship.”

On that more traditional-values side, Singer and Rep. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, bonded over a measure to require PSA-style weed-shop warnings for pregnant women. Tate argued that at the core of a free market is an educated consumer. He swayed lawmakers, and the bill passed through the House.

The double divide also means that libertarian-leaning lawmakers from both parties sometimes align, even across chambers.

Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, spent a few years in the majority and then the minority in the House before moving into the majority in the Senate. He said that while pessimists may look at a split legislature and call it Washington D.C.-style gridlock, he sees an opportunity to collaborate through innovation.

Just such an opportunity emerged when Holbert and Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, found common ground over an interest in technology and a commitment to Fourth Amendment privacy rights. The pair now has a bipartisan bill to protect students’ digital privacy

“I’m not asking people to give up half of what they want – I think of that as each of us stapling a foot to the floor and running around in circles. We don’t get anywhere,” said Holbert. “But rather than a fight to the draw, if we can find where we genuinely agree, that’s exciting.”

Photo by Ahqib Hussain

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About the Author

Tessa Cheek

She writes and makes photos about communities. Her book, Great Wall Style, a monograph-profile-lyric essay, is out from Images Publishing. | 720-440-2527 | @tessacheek

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