Re-elect Scott Tipton
State Rep. Sal Pace has based his campaign against incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton largely on the notion that he, Pace, will do more to buck his own Democratic Party leadership and work with Republicans to get things done.
It’s an appealing idea, especially when Americans are so fed up with the hyper-partisanship that now infects Congress.
Pace may be sincere in wanting to be a a congressman who isn’t bound by the dictates of his party leadership, but he is also naive. When it comes to major national issues such as the budget or health care, leaders of both parties demand fidelity and punish those who refuse. It requires experience and seniority to challenge them.
It is mostly on smaller, regional issues where bipartisanship can flourish.
That’s why Tipton could join bipartisan efforts to protect Chimney Rock as a national monument, to examine the possibility of making Colorado National Monument a national park, to extend funding for endangered fish programs in the West and to make it illegal to falsely claim you’re a war hero. It’s also why he was able to win bipartisan support in the House and get a Senate hearing for his bill to streamline the regulatory process for small hydropower projects.
It’s true that Tipton has not strayed far from the party line on major issues such as the budget and repealing health care. Neither has Pace strayed far from his party’s regular stances on labor issues and taxes.
Furthermore, Tipton wasn’t just following party leaders when he voted on those big issues. He was also fulfilling campaign promises he made two years ago to oppose any tax increases and to fight to repeal Obamacare.
Tipton and his staff have also worked hard to fulfill another campaign promise: to improve constituent services and to respond better than his predecessor to the concerns of individuals and community leaders in his district.
If you examine the voting scores of both Tipton and Pace, as tabulated by Project Vote Smart, you’ll see both receive high marks from groups you would expect to support them, and both garner some positive marks for groups not typically in their corner. Pace, for instance, has done relatively well the past couple years with business groups.
Now, as two columns on these pages today make clear, this nation faces critical decisions soon on issues related to the budget and debt. No matter who is elected, he will be under intense pressure to toe the party line. However, these problems and many more will require members willing to compromise and put national needs ahead of party agenda.
Tipton demonstrated a willingness to move in that direction when he signed a bipartisan letter from Colorado’s congressional delegation last month, urging leaders of both parties to seek a bipartisan deficit reduction plan. The most conservative members of Colorado’s delegation declined to sign the letter.
Tipton has kept campaign promises, indicated a willingness to tackle difficult issues, worked with Democrats on issues important to Colorado and shown a growing understanding of our fiscal problems. He deserves a second term.