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Running against a two-term incumbent in a reliably red district may be a daunting prospect for any Democrat in his first campaign for Congress, but Castle Rock veterinarian Chase Kohne welcomes the challenge.“I don’t believe Ken Buck has faced an opponent in the past who can connect with the voting population in CD4 like I can,” Kohne said.The 4th Congressional District — which Buck, a Republican from Windsor, was first elected to represent in 2014 — encompasses Parker, Lone Tree, Castle Rock and nearby communities, Elbert County and much of the state’s eastern plains region. So far in the quest to win the November 2018 election, Buck faces challenges from Kohne and two other Democrats, Karen McCormick, of Longmont, and Larry Germanson, of Firestone.A father of two and a four-year Castle Rock resident, the 39-year-oldKohne (pronounced “coney”) operates the Ridgeline Large Animal veterinary practice there, focusing on horses, cattle and sheep.A major in the United States Army Reserve commanding a company in the Civil Affairs division, Kohne recently returned from 10 months in Afghanistan, working with civilians to create local government infrastructure and resist the Taliban. Kohne’s wife, Amberlie, is a captain in the Army and is on a one-year deployment in Germany.Kohne recently sat down with Colorado Community Media to explain his campaign platform. As he has been doing since he began meeting citizens around the district, he began the conversation by discussing health care.What do you see as the problem with Congress’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the people of CD4?“If Medicaid is reduced or removed, things like that are going to disproportionately hurt rural hospitals. Having to drive for two hours to get your appendix taken out in an emergency because there’s no hospital open anywhere near you, these are the issues that I believe matter to the voters in CD4.“I am for universal health care system for everyone, but one that includes insurance markets. The problem we have now with the ACA is that not enough healthy people are buying insurance. If you use car insurance as an example ... it’s competitive because everybody buys it, everyone has to buy it to drive on the road, then you spread out that inherent risk.”How can the United States achieve energy independence and how will that affect Colorado’s economy?“OPEC and Saudi Arabia, these places control the price of a barrel of oil. When that price goes down a sufficient amount, Americans lose jobs. If we were to move toward the renewable energy of wind and solar, we have complete 100 percent control over the supply, demand, input, flow-through, all of that ... I’m not saying we shift away from oil and gas completely ... But I really think that Colorado should aim for 50 percent renewable by 2025 ... Colorado can become a leader in the production of the equipment for these technologies.”What should the goal of the U.S. military be in the world?“We need to have the capability to respond to a peer-on-peer engagement. That would mean Russia, that would mean China... but at the same time we can’t just be building up to that... As far as our more low-density conflicts, those are the challenges. I believe our goal in Afghanistan should be building up the country and the army to where they can essentially hold the country... I think they’re there at this point... There’s been complete bases turned over to the Afghan army, and the Taliban tried to overrun them, and they’ve been able to effectively repel those attacks.”The Fourth District has been reliably Republican since 2010. What makes you think you can win there?“I grew up in a very small town. These towns on the eastern plains are a lot like the town I grew up in. I understand the lifestyle, and I work every day with large animals, with cows, with horses. These are the type of people who live in CD4. Even in the larger population centers like Parker, Castle Rock and Greeley, they’re bigger towns but they have a rural feel ... So I believe I can make a strong connection with these voters — better than a lawyer who went to Princeton.”
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