26. July 2014 · Comments Off on Freedom and Opportunity · Categories: Blog

Meeting with voters in a northern Fort Collins neighborhood this past weekend, I was happy to discuss a multitude of issues that affect citizens in our district. They have strong feelings about jobs, the economy, and healthcare among other things. Not surprisingly, many feel that our current leadership is going in the wrong direction, and they are happy that there is an alternative choice. A choice that believes in limited government, personal accountability and fiscal responsibility.

As I was walking, I observed a teenage boy preparing to mow the lawns of several of his neighbors. One of my volunteers talked with him and learned that his neighbors had hired him, and in at least one case, paid weeks in advance. I was impressed with the industry and entrepreneurial spirit of this young man.

He did a careful job for his neighbors. An exchange between the boy and one of his employers made it evident that this was a new experience for the boy, and he was still learning how to do the best job. A kind and helpful “employer” gave him a thoughtful tip, and the boy was off to do a better job.

As I reflect on this experience, I see a great opportunity for this young man to build a modest business, to learn how to find and serve customers and in return gain something for himself. However, in today’s world there are many who would place barriers in this boy’s way. Some say he should be required to register his business so as not to unfairly compete with other landscaping companies. Some will argue about the insurance he should carry (or the homeowner should carry). Some will argue that the homeowner should pay state unemployment insurance, income taxes, social security and Medicare taxes, and provide healthcare benefits. Some might even insist on hearing protection, steel toed work boots and maybe a respiratory mask to protect him from pollen and exhaust fumes. Oh, and don’t forget minimum wage and strict child labor laws.

If these and other regulations and taxes were imposed and enforced, how many neighbors would hire this boy? How much work experience would he get? How much of his own money could he earn?

As I walked these neighborhood streets lined with American flags proudly waving from many porches and watched this young man mowing lawns, I was again reminded of the great blessing it is to live in this land of freedom and opportunity. It was a good reminder of why I am running, and for whom I will be serving when elected.