DAN HIMELSPACH

Campaign website: www.DanForColoradoHouse.com

Biography

  • I’m a lifelong Democrat that has lived in HD 6 for 40 years. My wife and I raised our two children from Kazakhstan here. I grew up on a ranch with no indoor plumbing. I received a B.S. in Chemistry from the South Dakota School of Mines and paid my way through college. I joined ROTC and upon graduation became an officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers. After serving active duty for three years, with Special Forces Units, I obtained my law degree from the University of Denver, College of Law and a Master Negotiation Certificate from Harvard Law School Negotiation Program.
  • In 1990 I changed my law practice into a dispute resolution firm and have mediated almost 7,000 cases, nearly 100 arbitrations, and been appointed as Special Master in cases by the Denver District Court. My family runs a small business selling products to brain researchers worldwide.

Why do you want this job?

  • I am running to restore the voice of our district and make our state government work for the people that live in our community. I know what it means to lead and what leadership requires. I will take the leadership skills I learned from my military service and the life skills I acquired from 30 years of dispute resolution and in running a small business to the Colorado State House. I know what it means to lead and understand how to listen and represent the needs of this house district.
  • Throughout my life I have been committed to public service, volunteering for neighborhood organizations and working on community projects I have also served in leadership roles with Rotary International, including District Governor for this region and representative to the Rotary International Council on Legislation for three years.
  • As a small business owner, I am committed to ensuring our small businesses thrive and that the workforce which empowers those businesses feel confident in their own family’s future. The current health and economic crisis have presented the opportunity to reset many of our budget concerns, including how to fund our state and how to allocate our resources. My background and experience is well suited to tackle this issue.
  • I have dedicated the last thirty years to professional dispute resolution. This is a skill set I want to take to the legislature. I know how to conduct and facilitate negotiations between conflicting parties that reorient everyone from starting positions to collaborating on problem solving that ultimately gives everyone what they do not necessarily want. This experience has also taught me how to be a good listener and how to suggest creative yet pragmatic solutions.

Budgeting in tough times 

(Choose one to answer)

> What is one bill you plan to sponsor that won’t cost taxpayers anything?

> What new ideas do you bring in a time of budget cuts?

  • Colorado’s budget is in triage. At a time like this, we clearly see how TABOR and Gallagher handcuff our teachers, arts programs, and community healthcare programs, and prevent them from taking steps to lift our state out of recession. While repealing TABOR and Gallagher is not a new idea, these are the bills standing in the way of any movement. I will lead the fight to repeal TABOR and Gallagher.
  • We must minimize the damage budget cuts are having on education. Some of my new ideas that won’t cost taxpayers anything include preserving the Homestead Tax Exemption for our seniors in need, but this is the opportunity to apply for a means test. Let’s look at cutting the budget for private prisons. No one should profit from incarcerations. In light of recent events, I also support allocating some law enforcement funds to community service initiatives.

Perennial budget issues

(Choose one to answer)

> How do we pay for education?

> How do we pay for transportation?

  • Education should be given priority in our budget. We have underfunded education for many years. Additional deep cuts will jeopardize the ability of our neighborhood public school systems to deliver a quality education to our children. A viable public education system is the great leveler in our society and ensures children from poor families have the same opportunities as children from rich families.
  • This health and economic crisis have presented the opportunity to reset our priorities.  We must take a serious look at robust efforts to improve our infrastructure. As schools have been closed during the pandemic lock down, we find that many students have neither access to the internet nor devices on which to do their work or connect to their teachers. Let’s make certain high-speed internet is available everywhere and treated as the utility it is and not a luxury. Let’s repair our schools. Such a program will create jobs that are desperately needed in Colorado.

Issues of the pandemic

(Choose one to answer) 

> Is the state reopening too quickly or too slowly?
> Are health care reforms an immediate priority?
> What are the best steps to rebuilding the economy? 

  • We must take bold steps to rebuild our economy. That means ensuring that Colorado small businesses have access to the small business relief they need to reopen through small business loans and assistance. The way the federal assistance was awarded was a travesty. The huge chains got all the money and small businesses were left out in the cold. We must remedy that through our own state programs. When we bring back our small businesses, we put a lot of people back to work.
  • One way we could help our communities and reemploy many out-of-work would be to build up our infrastructure. We have neglected our infrastructure for years, and our bridges, roads, and highways are in desperate need of repair and Colorado companies should be awarded these jobs. Not only is infrastructure key to our tourism industry as families travel from the front-range to Western Colorado, but it is also necessary to ensure the transport of goods and services for our businesses.
  • Finally, we must ensure we protect the long term public health of Coloradans. This is not just a business issue, it’s a public safety issue and should be a top priority of our government. I propose creating new jobs in public health through contact tracing, which will employ people locally and help us contain this deadly pandemic.

Working together

(Choose one to answer)

> What is an idea or approach your primary opponent has proposed that you intend to take to the Capitol?

> Name a current or former legislator from the opposing party you admire, and why.

  • My opponent, Steven Paletz, proposes that having health care parity between physical and mental health is a good approach and should be enacted into our laws.