Casida takes on Tipton: Conservative says West Slope congressman isn’t her cup of tea

Tisha Casida is a 29-year-old southern Colorado-bred conservative. The Keystone XL Pipeline, she suggests, is safer and probably better for the environment than sending oil tankers across the Atlantic. The country’s conflict over carbon dioxide, she hints, may be as much a waste of time as the war on drugs. She makes no bones that she is disappointed in her congressman, Scott Tipton, because he hasn’t demonstrated leadership on a few crucial issues, like speaking out against the Patriot Act.

So she is taking him on in 2012.

Even though Casida announced her candidacy at the Historic Federal Building in Pueblo on May 13, there’s a good chance you still haven’t heard of her. Political observers in the 3rd Congressional District all know the name of the other congressional candidate in the area, Sal Pace, a Democrat. But as an unaffiliated candidate, Casida doesn’t get the same attention. Her campaign is organic and in its infancy, much like her business, That’s Natural!, which promotes sustainable agriculture. Casida also has a real estate license and she publishes The Good American Post.

Despite the obstacles, Casida is getting noticed. Last month the Liberty Candidates endorsed her campaign. Former Libertarian presidential nominee and constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik recently joined her team of about ten. Several of her staffers campaigned for Ron Paul in the past.

She is not married but was once. “I was married at one time to a young man in the military and after he came back from Iraq, it was apparent that his emotional state would not allow for us to continue a meaningful relationship,” she explained. “It was devastating, and that has of course impacted my love for our troops as well as a desire to have them fighting only Constitutional wars.”

She has never run for office before. She grew up on a farm in Vineland, Colo., — she was baptized in the Arkansas River — and she says she simply wants to “represent the people who live here.”

In a recent e-mail interview with The Colorado Independent, Casida explained herself and her views.

Q. As a conservative, how is Scott Tipton failing to meet the expectations you have for the position?
A. As a representative, I expect Scott Tipton to unequivocally stand against intrusions into the American people’s rights and pocketbooks. I believe he is doing a good job of walking the party line and voting what some would call “conservative,” however he is not:
1. Speaking out against the Federal Reserve System and its effects on the nation’s currency
2. Speaking out against the Patriot Act
3. Speaking out against the National Defense Authorization Act

Q. Would you work to weaken the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency as other conservatives in Congress are doing?
A. Yes. I do not believe the EPA is doing a good job of protecting the environment – most of what they are doing is causing problems for businesses. The concept of environmental protection must be taken to a state and local level in order for such an agency to remain true to its mission and work with the people who are impacted by rules and regulations.

Q. Do you support local decision-making on all issues?
A. Yes, making decisions at a local level allows for people closer to the issues to be more involved in the processes. Making environmental decisions closer to home also allow for representatives and officials to remain transparent and accountable. It is easier to go to Denver to talk to someone than it is to go to Washington, D.C. I am not going to make a blanket statement about all federal standards – I am sure some are good and some make no sense – the fact is that people closer to Colorado, including environmentalists and leadership in Colorado – are more capable of making decisions for environmental standards for Colorado. As a matter of fact, holding decision-making and implementation closer to Colorado will likely be good for our local economies. Instead of sending money to Washington, D.C., we can keep it closer to home.

Q. What about the war on drugs? Do you support the ability of states to legalize medical marijuana?
A. The drug war is a complete fallacy and is doing nothing to stop drug use. If people are apt to use drugs, no legislation or war will stop them. You cannot legislate morality or behavior. I absolutely support the ability of states to legalize medical marijuana. As a matter of fact, it is incredibly beneficial to local economies. Constitutionally speaking, marijuana growth and use is not a federal issue at all. There is nothing stopping people from growing or using a substance, which is in effect, a plant. 

Q. Given your interest in sustainable agriculture and organic foods, do you have an opinion on the raw milk raids occurring across the country?
A. I believe that organic and raw foods are products that have existed on the planet for thousands of years (maybe more) and there is no reason that federal agents should be accosting people for their choices to consume these foods. Government cannot protect us from ourselves. After being exposed to pesticides as a child and becoming ill, I went on an organic diet, that I continue to this day, in an effort to de-toxify my system. I am also a consumer of raw milk, and believe that it has many health benefits. My grandmother drank “raw milk” as a child – they called it “milk.” People have the right to consume foods and nutritional supplements that they feel are beneficial to them. Every action of a human being involves some risk, there is no way to regulate every action that may be dangerous to our own well-being. That is where free will and personal responsibility come in to play.

Q. How concerned are you about fracking?
A. It depends on the situation. I can understand both sides of this issue, and I think that it is dependent upon the area, the people, the company, and the practices – each of these variables plays a part – in some cases I believe it can be performed responsibly. In other cases, I am sure that these practices are abused. I am most concerned about the transparency of the methods and practices used, especially in instances where the public is a part of the stakeholders.

Q. Should drillers be required to reveal what is in their fracking fluids or should that be proprietary?
A. Absolutely, I believe that they should be required to reveal what is in the fluids because these fluids are becoming a part of the ecosystem.

Q. Do you support the Keystone XL Pipeline?
A. Yes. Pipelines run through the entire U.S. Although there are periodic problems with these pipelines, they have an incredible safety track record. This project would provide jobs, growth, and energy independence. From an ecological standpoint, don’t you think it is safer and less intrusive on the environment to pump oil from Canada versus loading it in tankers and trucking it across the ocean?

Q. Do you believe humans cause climate change?
A. No, I believe the climate change we are seeing is from changes in the earth itself; however, there are many pollutants other than CO2 that are incredibly dangerous to the environment and people’s health that should be mitigated – these chemicals should be the focus. People and the private sector need to step up to the task, because the federal government is doing a terrible job at it. We should also never act in fear – to my sadness, it is a tactic too often used from both “the right” and “the left” to push the American people into making decisions that intrude upon our individual liberties. Regulating CO2 is dangerous – making a fair marketplace where renewable energy can compete on the same playing ground as other types of energy is smart.

Q. Where do you stand on abortion?
A. As a female I cherish the ability to give life and find the current statistics concerning abortion horrifying. Nonetheless, the federal government can never tell a woman what to do with her body. We cannot legislate morality – instead of picketing at places like Planned Parenthood, we should get involved in our communities and help these young women so that such a horrible choice would never have to be made in the first place. Our country has a moral problem when it comes to this issue – the government can’t fix it, but we can.

Q. Which current presidential candidate best reflects your views?
A. Ron Paul – he is consistent, he is fiscally conservative and arguably more socially liberal, and he loves the people of this country. He is a statesman, a representative, someone who does not take the American people’s money and abuse it. He is humble, reflective, and a good person with integrity. We need people in D.C. who are representatives and not politicians; he best reflects that in my mind.

Q. Are you a Liberty candidate or an Independent? Do you really think you have a chance of beating the big party candidates?
A. That is up for whoever wants to define either of those – I am Tisha Casida, and people are free to label me based on their world views and frameworks – it differs for everyone. I absolutely have a chance – that is the only reason I am running – to win. People’s anger and resentment at the parties, and politicians in general, will make 2012 a unique election year. Colorado has an equal number of “Independent” voters to the two parties, and we have more and more people thinking that way every day.

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