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Boebert talks priorities for working-class families and water in Colorado

Congresswoman breaks down her fight to bring back ‘good-paying jobs’ and better water allocation
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert visited the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe on Oct. 22 to discuss the “Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act.” The act aims to protect the Dolores River corridor by conserving wildlife and protecting private water and private property rights. (Christian Burney/Durango Herald file)

WASHINGTON – When U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert considers the issues that most heavily impact Colorado, water immediately comes to mind.

Whether it involves allocation, funding or accessibility, it is a topic that comes up consistently and passionately with local communities and state legislators alike. Prioritizing the needs of Coloradans, Boebert aims to reach a bipartisan solution.

“Any water victory is a major legislative victory. That is everyone's No. 1 issue,” Boebert said in an interview Friday with The Durango Herald. “This means so much to Coloradans – to myself – to be able to fight for our water, for private property rights, for private water rights and work together in this bipartisan manner to get it done.”

Although Boebert maintains a Republican standpoint on most issues, water is one where she employs bipartisanship. Last year, she joined Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper in protecting the Dolores River Canyon with a companion bill. Her “favorite part” of the bill, Boebert said, was that it is locally driven.

As part of the Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee of the Committee on Natural Resources, Boebert has discussed water storage and allocation as a way to conserve water and improve accessibility. Even with California receiving an influx of unexpected snow this year, Western states like Colorado still suffer from persistent drought.

“It's very frustrating when we over-allocate water and see states be irresponsible with that resource and refuse to actually manage it and put it to beneficial use,” Boebert said.

The congresswoman has a few ideas for addressing water storage, such as expanding on and creating reservoirs and pipelines on the Front Range. Overall, she aims to “ensure scenic public lands for future generations” with her water conservation solutions.

In terms of energy, Boebert’s American Energy Act recently passed in the House Committee on Natural Resources as an inclusion in the TAPP American Resources Act. The act would bring gas and energy prices down, Boebert said, especially for rural communities, through speeding up the energy permitting process and encouraging responsible energy production.

As a former small business owner, Boebert strives to prioritize working-class families through more than just energy and water. Problems like a lack of affordable housing and inflation have severe impacts on communities such as Durango and surrounding areas in rural Colorado.

Boebert said bringing back good-paying jobs and reducing inflation will empower the working class in her home state and nationally.

“I know for myself as a restaurant owner, when there was mud on my floor, that was a really good thing,” she said. “Because we had those oil field workers, and there's energy workers coming in and patronizing my business. When they left, it hurt my business significantly.”

In terms of federal spending, Boebert wants a balanced budget to help control the nation’s debt and reduce inflation. But right now, she is focusing on making cuts, not raising taxes and returning to “pre-COVID spending.”

This does not, she specified, include getting rid of Medicare and Social Security, despite what President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address. The people who qualify for these programs, she said, have paid into them and are owed their services from the federal government. At the end of the day, she strives to advocate for those people, prioritizing working class Americans.

“Politicians, including Joe Biden, say they want to invest in America, but they're investing in lobbyists and special interest groups, rather than American families who are struggling to buy eggs … and that income has to be supplemented, and those aren't the people who are being invested in right now.”

Sarah Mattalian is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at smattalian@durangoherald.com.

An earlier version of this story erred in referring to Medicaid when what was meant was Medicare.

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