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Democratic congressional candidates hold forum in Walsenburg

by Brian Orr
WALSENBURG– The Huerfano County Democratic Party (HCDP) hosted a forum last Saturday, February 10 for two candidates running for congress in Colorado’s Third District.
Dianne Mitsch Bush, a former Routt County commissioner and state house representative, and Karl Hanlon, a water lawyer from the western slope, answered questions which has been submitted by members of the HCDP.
Both candidates firmly stated that current congressman Scott Tipton (R) has got to go, with Hanlon noting  that “Scott Tipton has had seven years in Congress to deliver results for his constituents — and he has utterly failed.”  Bush said that Tipton had voted for whatever President Trump requested 97% of the time.
Both candidates answered the questions posed very similarly; the big difference between the two are their backgrounds.
Bush told the audience she is a two-term county commissioner and  three-term House Representative, and of the 45 bills she sponsored, 80% were bipartisan.  “I have experience working across the aisle,” she said.
She said she had been named Legislator of the Year by Conservation Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, and the Colorado Livestock Association.
Hanlon noted he was NOT a career politician.  He grew up on his family’s ranch near Walden, Colorado, and put himself through college.  He was a park ranger for a while, then went back to college to get a law degree. He now works as a water lawyer in Glenwood Springs.
Both candidates were proud to note neither has taken corporate PAC money for their campaigns.  They are taking individual contributions.
Both candidates are firmly for net neutrality, and would like to return to Obama-era legislation regarding freedom of the internet. Hanlon made note of the fact that prior to Obama’s tenure, the George W. Bush administration also enforced net neutrality rules.
Both would invest heavily in rural broadband, and infrastructure in general. “We need to work on transportation, the grid, and water,” said Bush.
Hanlon talked about renewable energy, and changes in the tax code that would support small businesspeople who are creating jobs- “We’re not going to get the Amazon headquarters to move out here,” he said.
Both candidates are firmly in favor of supporting rural health care and mental care, and for federal assistance in dealing with the opioid crisis.  Hanlon noted that Tipton supported spending only $57,000 to deal with opioid treatment, when 60,000 people died of overdoses last year.
Water was a big issue, and both candidates touted their credentials and water knowledge.  Both acknowledged the Front Range will have an ever-increasing thirst for water, and best way to deal with that is to have dialogs with all parties concerned.
And both candidates are supporters of “dreamers,” the children of illegal immigrants, who only know America as their home.  They would like to see a ‘clean bill’ on the Dreamers Act be voted on in congress.
At 11 am, the candidates had to leave to make other campaign stops in the San Luis Valley, so there were hugs and handshakes all around, with each one asking for folks’ support when caucus time rolls around.

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