Colorado's massive 3rd Congressional District needs better representation than it's getting from Republican Scott Tipton. We believe Sal Pace, a Democratic state representative from Pueblo, would be the best choice to replace him in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The huge boot-shaped district, which The New York Times has identified as "leaning Republican," runs from Rangely in the northeastern corner of the state all the way to Pueblo in the south-central area. It takes in a lot between, including Grand Junction, Durango and Pitkin County. A blend of urban and rural areas with a 25 percent minority population, the district would benefit from a leader who is willing to work on both sides of the political aisle to accomplish what's best for the entire area.
While Pace fits that bill, this is more about Tipton's failure to be an effective lawmaker.
Tipton, a rancher from Cortez, was elected in 2010 amid the anti-government fervor typified by the tea Party movement. Though he is personally amicable, he has proven to be highly partisan during his first 21 months in office. According to the nonprofit and independent Participatory Politics Foundation, he has voted along GOP lines 93.2 percent of the time. We realize he hasn't held his seat for very long, but his effectiveness also could be called into question: Of 13 bills he has sponsored, none has become law.
His big push this year was for a bill "to streamline the regulatory process for small hydropower development," which passed the House but awaits Senate approval. On the surface, the bill seems as if it will do some good in encouraging hydroelectric projects in rural areas, but there are widespread doubts that it will generate hundreds of jobs, as Tipton has claimed.
Tipton also recently flipped his position on the 2012 Farm Bill, which would provide drought relief to farms, includes provisions for fire protection and extends conservation programs. After signing a petition to push the bill to the House floor for a vote, he changed his mind, bowing to political pressure from House GOP leaders and special interests.
Pace, 36, does have experience in lawmaking. He first was elected to the Colorado General Assembly in 2008, and in 2011, his peers elected him House minority leader. He stepped down from that post to focus on his campaign against Tipton.
He opposes the so-called "Ryan budget" - which Tipton supports - the House GOP-passed fiscal legislation written by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. That budget aims to privatize Medicare and create a voucher system that stands to increase health care costs to seniors. It also proposes deep government spending cuts in order to support tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest citizens.
We like Pace's background. As a family man with a wife and three kids, Pace understands the needs of the average American. The youngest of nine children, he is an educator, attended Fort Lewis College and later earned a master's degree in American political theory from Louisiana State University. Last year, he opposed a state budget that included $250 million in cuts to education and the closure of vital state institutions.
Pace has the energy and drive to be an effective voice for Aspen, Pitkin County and the 3rd Congressional District as a whole. We believe Sal Pace deserves your vote on Nov. 6.