Comparison of legislative records makes Schwartz the choice
By Charles Kerr
Rep. Scott Tipton is the wrong person for the job. Gail Schwartz will better represent the people of the 3rd Congressional District. Forget the misinformation ads. The truth is in their voting records.
In 2012 Tipton voted against keeping student loans at 3.4 percent interest (HR4816). In 2013 Tipton voted against changes to a bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years (HR803). He also voted against a three-month unemployment benefits extension (HR438). In 2015 Tipton voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program (in H.Con.Res.27). Also in 2015 he voted against an essential Bipartisan Highway and Transportation Funding Bill (HR22) and against a critical Bipartisan Budget Agreement that prevented federal government default (HR1314). Both bills passed without his vote.
Tipton twice voted to block consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure equal pay for women and men (HR189, HR200). In 2015 Tipton voted for a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and required rape victims to receive counseling, sign informed consent forms, and wait two days for an abortion (HR36). In 2016 he voted to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act and to defund Planned Parenthood for a year (HR3762). Moreover, Tipton has not supported the Senate’s bipartisan effort to overhaul U.S. immigration laws (S744 passed 68-32 in 2013), and in 2016 he voted for an amendment to defund programs that protected immigrant children who grew up in the US from deportation (HR240).
Tipton often supports policies that waste tax dollars. In 2011 he held a House subcommittee hearing in Grand Junction to provide oil and gas industry representatives a platform to attack the BLM and seek federal favors, after which he voted for a $25 million oil shale subsidy. He opposes closing the Guantanamo prison, which costs taxpayers a half-billion dollars a year (for 61 detainees). In 2013, Tipton voted for a rule change and bill that led to the government shutdown, costing our government $24 billion in lost revenue and the expense to first close and then to re-open each federal agency.
Tipton has voted to allow increased toxic emissions from power plants (HR3797) and to block attempts to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste. In 2012 Tipton voted to weaken ozone standards and to require a $5,000 fee for challenges to oil and gas leases or drilling permits (HR4480). In 2015 he co-sponsored HR 866, to transfer regulatory authority over oil and gas activity on federal public lands to the states.
In short Tipton’s voting record is obstructionist, anti-health, anti-environment, and favors oil and gas industry proposals. Perhaps the $363,000 he has received from the oil and gas industry has influenced his vote.
Gail Schwartz’s voting record, by comparison, is a breath of fresh air. For eight years in the Colorado Legislature she worked with Republicans and Democrats to create jobs, to build schools in rural Colorado, to expand health care, and to protect Colorado’s land and water. Five examples of the many bipartisan bills that Schwartz sponsored are:
■ HB 08-1335, which has funded $1.245 billion for 381 high need school construction projects in 124 Colorado school districts;
■ HB 09-1239 which has helped thousands of Coloradans of limited means receive needed health care, secured extensive federal matching funds and reimbursed hospitals for uncompensated services;
■ HB 14-1030 which established incentives for the construction and operation of new hydroelectric systems throughout Colorado;
■ SB 14-115, which established the mechanism, including public input, for creation of Colorado’s Water Plan — essential in a state with growing population and finite water supplies;
■ SB 12-048, the Colorado Cottage Food Act, allowing people to use home kitchens to produce foods for direct sale to consumers at roadside stands and farmer markets.
With these records, voters have been given a clear choice for change. Gail Schwartz will work for her constituents to repair our dysfunctional Congress and solve some of our national problems. Scott Tipton will maintain partisan dysfunction. The choice is ours.
Charles Kerr is a retired Grand Junction High School English teacher who has served on the Mesa County Air Quality Planning Committee and the BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council.