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Up close and personal with the candidates – Margaret Radford

Margaret Radford was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and received a degree in journalism from Iowa State University. She and her husband Bill, a writer for the Gazette, moved to Colorado Springs in 1988 to work at what was then the Gazette Telegraph. Radford currently owns a marketing firm, Radford INK, and has served on the Colorado Springs City Council, representing District 4, since April 2001. She and her husband have two children.The NFH interviewed Radford regarding her quest for county commissioner.NFH: Why do you want to serve on the board of county commissioners?Radford: For approximately three and a half years working at the city level on problems, I came to realize that many of the problems we were trying to solve are regional issues. It’s very difficult to have the reach you need to solve regional problems as a city council representative. I am a problem solver by nature. It’s not unlike why I ran for City Council, I am unhappy with the kind of representation and the handling of issues at the county.NFH: You were a registered Democrat and have since joined the Republican Party. Why?Radford: I was a Democrat until 2000, then was unaffiliated on my way to becoming a devoted Republican. As a journalist for nine and one-half years in Dallas, Texas, then for the Gazette for six years, I was taught to be objective. Report the news without bias is what I learned in journalism school. However, I began to see the media as liberal. Over time, I began to realize that the Democratic Party had nothing for me, then Clinton cinched it. After that, I felt aligned with the Republican Party on most issues, and joined.NFH: As far as your business, Radford INK, what will happen to it if you win the election?Radford: Inactive. I haven’t had client work since the assembly. I would be as I am now as a council member, a full-time commissioner. I get one or two calls a day now from constituents.NFH: Your opponent Douglas Bruce has publicly stated that he will donate his commissioner’s salary of $60,000 to charity. City Council members make only $6,000 a year. Is your desire to move from city to county motivated by the enormous salary difference between the two positions?Radford: First of all, nobody knows what Douglas Bruce would actually do with his income. The commissioner’s salary is actually $65,000 a year. I have already shown that money is not a motivator for me. I make $6,250 a year, which I call my pantyhose and gas money. Why is that relevant? By Bruce’s own account, he is independently wealthy. I am a middle class working mother of two. I don’t think anyone would begrudge using your salary to provide security for your family. You take an oath that you will uphold the state and federal constitutions and the city charter. You don’t say I will work only to the commensurate of my salary.NFH: Many people in rural El Paso County are concerned that you live in the city of Colorado Springs and do not have an understanding of the issues that concern them.Radford: I live in the city because I have to. I would love to live in the country. It’s up for debate within the family. My daughter would love to move to the country because she loves horses. My son wants to stay near his friends. I always say it’s not where you live but how you live. I don’t pretend to know all the issues but I am trying. My opponent doesn’t live in eastern El Paso County either. I have spent a lot time already with the people in rural El Paso County. Calhan and Falcon residents have both told me that they have never had a candidate who has spent this much time with them.NFH: How do you manage to raise two children, run a business and sit on City Council?Radford: The business is not active, as I said earlier. The kids often go with me to meetings. They are learning by being involved on how to make a difference in their world. Good and bad. They see the stress and learn how to deal with it. They also have chores, and my husband Bill does more than half of the housework now.NFH: Another major concern for the people of Falcon is the possibility of annexation by Colorado Springs. Would you support it?Radford: I believe the city retains the right to annexation. Falcon would have to ask, and it would have to be fiscally responsible. Falcon has nothing to fear from the municipality. It has plenty of other stuff to worry about. We would have to supply Falcon with water and infrastructure. The last thing a city wants is to have very unhappy citizens in the process. I have heard that Falcon may be interested in incorporating, and I would like to be a part of that. It can be good and bad. I don’t have an opinion on whether they should or not. I would just want to be a source of information for it.NFH: What do you see as your role if elected?Radford: I see my role to be first and foremost as a source of information. I have experience in running a municipality. I will be an advocate. I consider my constituents to be partners. The people I serve now are my partners. They call me at home all the time.NFH: Is there any particular issue that you want to address in the county if elected?Radford: The first thing I want to do is establish trust with the people I represent. With the rural residents, I have already begun that. They have been poorly represented in the past. Water and transportation are just two issues that I am very concerned about. Another issue I am concerned with is the county fair. The recommendation of the citizens committee was to turn the fair over to the fair association. The county now thinks they will turn it into a nonprofit. That’s fine but I think we are on a horse right now that we are setting up to fail. I support it staying in Calhan as long as the residents there want it. I don’t want it to fail. It’s very important to the county.NFH: Douglas Bruce brought to the Falcon Professional Development League a document called “Code of the West” which essentially stated that those of us living in rural El Paso County shouldn’t expect many services to be provided to us. What do you think of the document and what it represents?Radford: It’s hard as an elected official to speak about what other officials do without knowing why they did it. That said, I think it was stating the obvious. Does anyone in rural El Paso County really expect to receive the same services as those who live within the city? I don’t get it. Without knowing the context, it appears to be just rubbing the citizens of rural El Paso nose’s in it.NFH: You made a statement at the same meeting on family values. What specifically did you mean?Radford: I believe in marriage between one man and one woman. I am pro-life. I believe that elected officials should make statements that affirm their values. I think the vast majority of our community is pro-life. I am a conservative Republican who believes in nurturing traditional families. I am a Christian who believes I need God’s help in serving his people.NFH: Why do you think so many individuals and groups have chosen to support Douglas Bruce instead of you?Radford: Which groups? So what? I’d like to be really clear about this one. While he was busy gathering support from his political cronies, I was busy making sure everyone had water to drink. I am not a big fan of political endorsements. What does an endorsement from one elected official to another elected official really mean? I have the endorsement of the people I represent. Bruce has the endorsement of some officials because they don’t want him at the state level. Virtually the entire City Council has endorsed me. I’m busy serving the people. Endorsements from other politicians don’t mean anything to me.NFH: Your relationship with some developers is a concern to many. Falcon is exploding with new homes and along with that comes concern regarding water, roads, etc. Where do you stand?Radford: Bruce is making an issue of me taking contributions from developers. Growth happens. I believe in the private market. I do not believe in artificial growth controls. A good example is Boulder. Few can afford to live there now. I am concerned about the negative consequences of government growth control. I believe in the preparation and planning for growth. Make sure it’s rational, consistent with the protection of property rights. Many everyday people have contributed to my campaign as well. I answer their phone calls, work with them on issues and vote my conscience. My record shows that I haven’t always voted in favor of developers. Bruce met with the developers and the chamber wanting their endorsements and didn’t get them. My voting record speaks for itself.NFH: Do you support the mill levy increase that Falcon 49 School District is requesting from the voters this November?Radford: I don’t have an opinion on that because I don’t know enough about it, and I do not live in the district. It’s up to the voters. I do serve on the D-11 mill levy oversight committee to be sure the money is being spent as promised. A county commissioner has no legal role in the schools. However, I feel we have a responsibility in a leadership capacity. For example, I feel it’s the responsibility of a commissioner to aide the school board members in whatever capacity they can.NFH: Are you going to resign from the City Council before the election on August 10?Radford: No, Why would I? There’s no legal requirement that I do so. In fact, there is not a legal reason why I couldn’t continue to do both. However, I wouldn’t do that. What I think I will do is take the oath in January and serve a day as both because no one has ever done that, then I’ll resign my appointment.Jim Day’s perspectiveJim Day had his eyes opened to the political process when he sought his place in the August primary as a candidate for District 2 county commissioner. His eye-opening experiences involved what he referred to as “political corruptness.” Regardless of the system, Day is throwing his support to Douglas Bruce.”I support Douglas Bruce because Margaret Radford is Colorado Springs-only,” Day said, “She has never seen a tax increase or a tap fee that she didn’t – Margaret will be owned by the developers, and Bruce doesn’t owe anyone anything. He won’t be beholden to anyone. Margaret has a voting record that includes voting against charging tap fees to developers – she is about big business.” Day also said he believes Bruce when he says that he will work toward smart development, roads and ensuring the rights of the people in eastern El Paso County. “You know where he (Bruce) stands and what his main goals in life are, where the other (Radford) is all over the place,” Day said.

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