Legislator to run for Congress

Steamboat Springs Democrat announces plan to challenge Tipton

State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush is running for Congress.

The Steamboat Springs Democrat and former Routt County commissioner is to make that announcement later today in Pueblo.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Sentinel earlier this week, Mitsch Bush said she was running because she’s tired of seeing the expansive 3rd Congressional District operate “without a real representative,” referring to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Cortez who’s held the seat since 2011.

“A real representative actually listens,” Mitsch Bush said. “A real representative actually reads bills. A real representative understands the issues that we face. He’s not the representative that I would be.”

Mitsch Bush, who plans to resign her Colorado House seat soon so she can run for the Democratic Party nomination full time, said she’s tired of watching much of the Front Range prosper while seeing little economic improvement on the Western Slope and in southern Colorado.

Making that issue worse, she said, is the disproportionately high cost of health care in the district compared to metropolitan areas of the state. Mitsch Bush blamed Congress and others for making health care a political issue, and making decisions about it based on ideology rather than common sense. She said the current health care plan being debated in Washington, D.C., only will make the district’s health care costs increase, while at the same time taking away coverage for millions.

While Mitsch Bush was clear on her views of those issues, she wasn’t taking sides when it comes to turning the Colorado National Monument into a national park, saying both sides have good points.

“I don’t have a strong position one way or the other,” she said. “I need to listen to everyone on this one.”

To date, Mitsch Bush is the only candidate in the race, but several other names have been raised as possible contenders, including Grand Junction City Councilman Chris Kennedy and Ophir resident Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer and author.

The three are to appear together at an event in Ridgway later this month.

That event, called the District 3 Indivisible Colorado 2017 Summit, is to be held July 22 at the 4H Event Center in Ridgway. Participants are to discuss ways to engage voters in the political process.

Event organizers said Tipton and several gubernatorial candidates also have been invited, but none have confirmed if they will attend.

Mitsch Bush will be in Grand Junction before that. After her announcement in Pueblo today, she will travel to Durango on Friday, and appear at Main Street Bagels, 559 Main St., in Grand Junction from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Mitsch Bush was first elected to the statehouse in 2012. Currently, she serves as chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, and vice chair of the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee.

She worked with local lawmakers on a number of key bills during this year’s session, including one that allowed federal mineral lease districts to invest some of the royalty money they receive.

Tipton has not yet said if he will run for a fifth term.


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