BY FREDA MIKLIN
Tom Kim is a member of the Roundup Riders of the Rockies, “an organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the Western Tradition associated with the relationship between the American Cowboy and his horse.” He is also qualified to ride with the Mounted Patrol Unit of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. In his day job, Kim is a former bankruptcy lawyer who now works as a consultant to help troubled businesses get back on a strong financial footing.
He is running for Colorado State Senate District 27 because he wants to help our state government “do a better job than it’s doing now.” He told The Villager, “We never go back and ask, what should government be doing? Are there things that we should trim out of the budget? I want to reduce programs. They’re always getting bigger.” He continued, “Whenever there’s a new initiative, for example, beefing up law enforcement, instead of adding more money to the budget, I’d like to see us reallocate funds that are being spent in an area where we have not seen the intended results.”
As a state senator, Kim would use the skills he brings to businesses with whom he consults. In those situations, there often aren’t additional resources available with which to solve problems, so he finds a way to better utilize the assets they have. Kim has helped entities in manufactured housing, construction, medical products, technology, health care, transportation, and natural resources, and even a charter school, giving him direct experience that he can use with the state budget.
Kim decided to run for office because he was “frustrated with where we are in this state” and believes “that the problems we have right now are the direct result of policy decisions that have been made” in areas including rising crime. He believes that it is difficult to recruit law enforcement officers because of the widespread belief that they could be subject to personal financial liability for doing their job, including making instantaneous decisions in dangerous situations, even though the applicable statute actually provides an extremely narrow set of circumstances when that could occur, including requiring the officer’s employer determining that the office knowingly acted outside the law. Still, he points out, “Perception is reality,” and the reality is that dozens of local police departments are experiencing difficulty finding new recruits. He is also concerned that the leadership of some law enforcement agencies may be viewed as not supporting their officers. If elected to the state Senate, Kim’s goal is to find a legislative solution to this problem that would result in increased policing and lower crime.
Overall, Kim believes in limited government. Although he agrees that gun control and gun safety are important, he does not think we needed the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention, recently added to the state Department of Public Health and Environment “to administer a grant program for organizations to conduct community-based gun violence intervention initiatives,” including, “creating and maintaining a resource bank as a repository for data, research, and statistical information regarding gun violence in Colorado,” pursuant to HB21-1299.
He also believes that “the lack of progress in oil and gas permitting” is due to the fact that the state, “pushed that regulation (of oil and gas) down to the cities, and now every city is dealing with their group of activists,” when the decisions in this area are actually a matter of statewide concern.
Tom Kim will face Tom Sullivan in the race for the open seat in State Senate District 27 in November. Sullivan has served two terms in the state House.