Lauren Boebert, a restaurant owner from Rifle, is challenging Scott Tipton for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in a GOP primary on June 30. She was campaigning in Cortez on Feb. 7th and 8th. I had an opportunity to sit down and visit with her while she was in town, and ask the following questions.
Q: Current GDP to debt is running around 105 percent. With so many special interest groups demanding public money for their various causes, how would you address this issue, should you be elected?
A: Plain and simple. We need a budget with a balanced trajectory. That is first and foremost. We just cannot keep up this debt. My opponent said eight years ago he was going to bring Colorado sense to Washington D.C. as a fiscal conservative. He just voted yes on a $1.4 trillion budget that encompassed 12 appropriation bills totaling over 2,000 pages within 24 hours. And I said, Scott that’s not what you said you were going to do. That you were going to take care of this. I would really like to serve on the Oversight Committee. Really look into where we are wasting taxpayers’ dollars. There are so many areas. We continue to pay on expired programs. Like the Federal Education No Child Left Behind Act. It expired in 2007, then in 2015 it was brought up for re-authorization. All those years we kept dumping money into it. Right then, Republicans had a chance to defund it. We are just wasting billions and billions of taxpayer dollars. There is a lot of oversight that needs to be done, and really a lot of areas of government that need to be held accountable. It is we the people who are going to get into office and begin to hold them accountable because it’s our money and it’s beginning to affect our lives. It matters when you are taking money out of our pockets.
Q: Dianne DeGette, a Denver area U.S. Congresswoman, held a town hall meeting here in Cortez last August. She is sponsoring legislation that would create wilderness areas on BLM land here so as to create migration corridors for wildlife, such as the wolf. None of our state or federal representatives attended. If you are elected, would you see the need to be at such an event?
A: Absolutely! Just as I saw a need the need to be at Beto O’Rourke’s rally when he wanted to do something outrageous. I would kindly tell MS. Dianne DeGette, Hell, no.
Q: Technology is changing our world. Constitutional rights to privacy and property rights are being compromised. How would you approach this issue?
A: How would I approach it? Everything I want to do is to preserve the rights of the people. So I believe I would protect our privacy. As a conservative I have heard that so many people when they learn of a privacy breach, they say, well, I have nothing to hide. I don’t like that mentality. It’s not that I have something to hide, it’s not the government’s role to be in my private business.
Q: Due to government community block grants, non-profit organizations have exploded in numbers. There is little to no oversight to these entities as far as transparency and accountability. Would you consider an overhaul of this sector so that they would need to submit reports to local elected representatives such as the county commissioners, that identify their financial structure and verification of their work?
A: Simply, yes. There are many of these organizations that go off and do their own thing and then, they have little oversight. One example that I can think of on a federal level, would be the parks and some of the fees that are collected. Congress appropriates money to fund the parks. There is a lot of misuse and mismanagement involved with these funds. So, yes, I believe that there needs to be accountability.
Q: So, as a follow-up. You think it’s like the schools? It’s never enough?
A: Yes, It’s never enough.
Q: Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District covers a large geographical area. When Scott Tipton, who is from Cortez, was elected he opened an office here in Cortez He closed it a few years back, but maintained one in Durango which has been sporadic. The closest main office is now in Grand Junction, which some citizens find prohibitive for their needs. There is a growing sense that due to population demographics we are taken for granted. How would you balance fiscal restraint and adequate citizen representation in the district? I have heard that some constituents have contacted Tipton and have either not been connected or received indifferent responses.
A: That is troubling to hear. I want to represent the people and I am willing to do the necessary travel. I have come to appreciate that every county I visit, there are very impactful people that I would utilize to reach out to people. It is very disheartening to hear that people have called the Congressman and they were unable to connect with him. I am not in this for the position. Last year, with the National Popular Vote issue, I put my foot down and said we need to fight this. This governor is stealing our votes. I made it a priority to save our votes. I was literally face to face with 30,000 plus Colorado voters. Now, because of all that hard work by so many of us, we now get to vote on that issue. Now, it is our responsibility to educate voters about how important the electoral college is, because our votes and our resources will go to California. People are why I am doing this. If I can be voice for the people, I will use it for the people.
Q: Like all political parties, the Colorado GOP has its factions. Recently the more fiscal conservative/constitutional candidates do not seem to benefit from the state GOP’s influence in general elections. Dan Maes in 2010 and Darryl Glenn in 2016 being examples. Should you prevail in the primary against Scott Tipton, are you concerned about that?
A: No. This is a plus-12 Trump District. I know that change scares some. President Trump will campaign hard for Cory Gardner. The Republican that is on the ticket will win this district this fall. So, what I saw in the beginning, we elected a strong conservative. Instead of a strong conservative, we ended up with a moderate. We want someone who will not waiver on principles.
Q: Here in Montezuma County, water is a primary issue. As a U.S. Congresswoman, how do you see protecting our water rights from an ever-increasing demand by urban areas?
A: I have fantastic water advisors from multiple counties. I absolutely will work to protect our water. I would encourage farmers not to sell their water. In Rio Blanco, there is a reservoir that they have been trying to build for ten years. Their water is running downstream. I want to get working for them. It’s just over-regulations from D.C. We saw the same thing in Ken Buck’s district. I am a farmer, I have water rights, so this is an important issue for me. Resources are important to me. The coal plant at Nucla is down to 1 percent carbon emissions. They want to be responsible. Simply put, I want to preserve Colorado’s resources.”
Q: Some citizens think that politicians who financially benefit from their positions have little interest in the working class, once they become ensconced in the bubble of Washington D.C. It is conventional wisdom that once elected, barring a scandal, incumbency is a tremendous advantage. Your thoughts on that?
A.: I am one of those citizens who think politicians greatly benefit. I am of the working class. I don’t believe that our elected officials should benefit as much as they do. Congress isn’t going to pay themselves less. We, the people have to change that. I can do so much more with so much less.
Q: So, what have you experienced while campaigning for office? The good, the odd?
A: The response. It is overwhelming to see people responding. Everybody is looking for a regular person to be elected, that they can relate to them. I do think people see the difference between my opponent and me. Yes, we are both Republicans, but we are not both conservative. As far as odd goes, it seems like some folks are planted. It’s okay, I am not hiding how I feel about Scott’s voting record. I am not backing down from that.
Q: Anything else that you would care to add?
A: I am excited for this change. I am not in this for a career move. I am here to be impactful and promote freedom. I am not looking to go to Washington D.C. and eat filet mignon. I want to save our country. If I am not a viable candidate as my opponent suggests, then he shouldn’t find it necessary to raise a dime running against me.
Valerie Maez writes from Lewis, Colorado.