Gail Schwartz for Congress

Coloradans value public lands. Mesa County Democrats support keeping public lands public. We understand the value of tourism. Agri-tourism brings visitors to our valley to enjoy our peaches and to celebrate our award winning wines. Public lands also bring visitors to enjoy our river rafting, skiing, snow-boarding, biking, fly fishing, camping, and bird and big game hunting. Tourism has kept our economy alive since conditions in the fossil fuel industries caused a slump in that market niche. Visitors shop in our stores and use our lodging, bringing outside money into our community.

There is a movement, driven mostly by developers and mineral speculators, to transfer public lands to states. It is a really dumb idea. All of our recreational opportunities would be endangered. Because of TABOR, Colorado has a budget that could not support maintaining access to public lands. Increasing taxes is difficult. Nobody likes paying taxes, regardless of the good they might do. Absent an increase in taxes, Colorado would be faced with two options: increase fees for access, or sell the property, making it private and inaccessible to the public.

Rep. Polis (D-CD2) submitted an amendment to an appropriations bill that would fund Interior and other similar federal agencies in July. His amendment would prevent attempts to sell America’s parks and public lands. Polling shows that Americans are against divesting of public lands. The GOP controlled House rejected this amendment. Colorado’s two Democratic representatives voted in favor of the amendment. Colorado’s four Republican representatives voted against it—including Rep. Tipton.

In the race for CD3, the incumbent supports the movement to divest of public lands, as evidenced by his vote on the Polis amendment. The challenger, Gail Schwartz, supports protecting public lands. The differences between the two candidates are stark, and it starts with how they approach problem solving. Gail Schwartz supports the efforts of communities like the North Fork landowners, who do not want oil and gas development to spoil their tourism or organic farms. After those communities reached an acceptable solution, Tipton came along and offered a different solution—one dictated by his largest donor, an oil company out of Texas. Schwartz supports Coloradans. Tipton supports Texans.

For those who think regulation is the only issue in elections, Gail Schwartz has demonstrated a willingness to look at changing regulations. Colorado has a Cottage Food Act that allows people to bake cakes, breads, cookies and sell them without being subject to the same regulations as restaurants. Schwartz carried that bill in Colorado’s legislature to give opportunities to small family farmers and bakers by relaxing onerous regulations. One of the beneficiaries of the Cottage Food Act is Small Potatoes Farm in Paonia. Thanks to Gail Schwartz, they now bake breads and pizza in a stone oven, as well as selling their berries, flowers, and potatoes. That small farmer worked with Schwartz to draft the bill that helps families increase income without being subject to unnecessary regulation.

At the recent Club 20 debates, Tipton insinuated that Schwartz had never worked in the public sector and that she did nothing while he tried to save the ski-industry. Tipton is wrong. Schwartz was an executive with Sno-Engineering, Incorporated, a firm that assists in the permitting and development of ski-resorts. Schwartz, accompanied by the president of one of Colorado’s largest ski companies, visited Tipton, asking him, as their representative, to consider the impacts of climate change on their industry and the 40,000 employees of that company. Tipton is a climate change denier. He offered no support for the ski-industry in that meeting. He mangled the truth in the Club 20 debates.

The biggest difference between Scott Tipton and Gail Schwartz is how they approach the job of legislating. Tipton is a GOP puppet, even while shutting down government, resulting in temporarily shutting down those parks and public lands that we all love. Schwartz finds ways to work with both sides of the aisle to solve problems for real people, like the owners of Small Potatoes Farm and the employees of the largest ski company in Colorado. Tipton submits bills written by Texans while pretending to represent Colorado.

Finally, Tipton’s attempts to support community banks are amusing. Clearly he lacks understanding of how money moves through banks. Tipton once submitted a bill that would allow banks to keep bad loans on the books longer. He said it would allow banks to make more loans. So, let’s think about that:  A bank makes a loan. Money goes out the door. The borrower stops making payments on that loan. The borrower has no ability to pay. Keeping the loan on the books brings money back to the bank? Where is the money coming from to make new loans?

Vote for an independent thinker, not a puppet. Vote for Gail Schwartz for CD3.

Claudette Konola is a former consultant to community banks. Comments are welcome at


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