Vote for Udall, Salazar | AspenTimes.com

Vote for Udall, Salazar

Aspen, CO Colorado

Amid all the shouting about the presidential election, it’s been difficult to focus on two important races for Colorado seats in the U.S. Congress. But these are important races with much at stake for our state and for the balance of our federal legislative bodies.

In the first race, Congressman Mark Udall, a Democrat from Eldorado Springs, faces Republican Bob Schaffer, a former Congressman from Fort Collins, for the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican. We heartily support Udall, a thoughtful politician with a deep knowledge of Western issues who knows how to work across the aisle. Unlike Schaffer, who is for the most part a loyal partisan foot-soldier, Udall is genuinely engaged in problem-solving, coalition-building and decision-making.

Udall has been pivotal in assembling a bipartisan “gang of 16” lawmakers to push comprehensive energy legislation with an all-important emphasis on renewable sources like wind, solar and biofuels; this effort is not only good for Colorado, which is trying to build a new energy economy, but is also good for the nation, which desperately needs an alternative, forward-thinking vision for its energy future. Udall correctly understands energy as both an environmental and quality-of-life issue for Western Colorado and an economic and national security issue for the nation at large.

Through a blitz of negative advertising, Schaffer has depicted Udall as a “Boulder liberal” and an obstructionist on energy development, but Schaffer has done little to articulate a vision of his own, and he left virtually no mark during his three terms in Congress representing Colorado’s Fourth District. Since Schaffer’s onslaught, Udall has adjusted his energy stance to include fossil-fuel strategies like offshore drilling; this politically expedient move could be seen as flip-flopping or as common-sense politics, and we prefer the latter description. Udall comes from a family of skilled and pragmatic public servants like Stewart Udall and Morris Udall ” the first made his mark as an Interior secretary during the Kennedy and Johnson years, the second as a conservation-minded Arizona congressman ” and he’s willing to bend if the end result constitutes progress.

That’s the way politics work, and we’d rather have a problem solver than an ideologue in the Senate. Vote for Udall for U.S. Senate.

Drawing comparatively little attention is incumbent Rep. John Salazar’s race against Republican Wayne Wolf for Colorado’s 3rd District congressional seat. Wolf campaigned for the Republican nomination for Allard’s Senate seat, but lost to Schaffer and then switched horses to run for the 3rd District Congressional seat instead. He has raised little money and it seems to us the Republicans have written off this seat. Salazar, a San Luis Valley farmer and moderate Democrat, has already served ably two terms in the U.S. House and deserves to be reelected. Vote for Salazar in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

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