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Scott Tipton seeks fourth term in Congress

Coal should be in the mix, congressman says

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton is hoping for a fourth term in Congress.

What was expected to be a sleepy 3rd Congressional District race has blossomed into a competitive contest, with Democrat Gail Schwartz hoping to unseat Tipton.

He also faces Libertarian Gaylon Kent at a time when frustration with party politics has reached a new high.

Tipton has been hit especially hard by Schwartz and outside interests on the issue of public lands, with claims made through advertising and remarks that Tipton wants to privatize those lands in an effort to sell them off.

“She’s not telling the truth and she knows it,” Tipton said of Schwartz’s claims.

“Not once have I said sell off public lands, or sponsored or written legislation to sell off public lands.”

The Tipton campaign, meanwhile, has hit Schwartz for being a foe to coal, pointing to measures she supported in the Legislature as a state senator that mandated a renewable energy standard and required some Front Range coal-fired plants to burn natural gas.

If Tipton wins re-election, he would head back to a Congress that most Americans believes is gridlocked and dysfunctional.

But Tipton, a 59-year-old small businessman from Cortez, says he has risen above Congressional blockades, passing 11 bills through the House with bipartisan support.

“We’ve been able to reach across the aisle and garner bipartisan support for legislation that is good for the 3rd Congressional District and Colorado,” Tipton said.

As for not all of his bills making it through the process, “We are not the sole determinant of legislation,” Tipton explained, placing blame on the Senate.

Tipton said he is seeking re-election so he can focus on jobs and the economy. Having grown up on the Western Slope, he believes the sprawling congressional district is seeing some of its worst struggles in years.

Tipton’s solutions to solve a stagnant economy include expanding access to capital and reducing regulations – which includes protecting water rights – so that businesses can flourish.

“Businesses are at a loss with the avalanche of regulations that are coming down. It’s hitting our small businesses, it’s increasing their costs,” Tipton said.

As for Schwartz, his Democratic opponent, Tipton said, “I never try to tear down anybody else to build myself up.”

But Tipton acknowledged that he and his opponent have a “very different approach.”

“With all of the above (energy), let’s let the marketplaces choose – let’s create jobs and put people back to work,” Tipton said, adding that coal should be in the mix.

“We have more small businesses shutting down than there are new business startups,” Tipton said. “People aren’t feeling optimistic. We have not felt the economic recovery.”


Scott Tipton

Age: 59

Residence: Cortez

Education: Fort Lewis College

Political Background: Incumbent representative for the 3rd Congressional District; former state representative

Occupation: Started Mesa Verde Indian Pottery in Cortez

Family: Wife, Jean; two daughters; granddaughter

Top Issue: Jobs and the economy

Rural Colorado: Holding the EPA accountable, reducing regulations

Abortion: Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and risk to the mother’s life

Immigration: Secure the borders

Health Care Reform: Increase competition to lower spiking premiums in rural Colorado

Marijuana: Protect Colorado’s right to legalization

Gun Control: Ardent supporter of Second Amendment

Gold King Mine Fallout: Hold EPA to water monitoring; pass Good Samaritan legislation

Iran: Opposes nuclear deal and payments

Education: Offer greater local control and fewer nationalized standards

Election Coverage

Beginning today, The Durango Herald will bring you daily election coverage over the next two weeks, with stories on every contested race and every local and state ballot issue. You can find all election coverage at durangoherald.com/election.

Voter information

The Nov. 8 election is the first presidential election in which all voters will receive a ballot through the mail if registered to vote by Oct. 31. Here’s some details:

Ballots will be mailed beginning Oct. 17.

Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at a secure, 24-hour drop boxes at: La Plata County Clerk & Recorder’s Office, 98 Everett St., Durango; Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 Bayfield Parkway, Bayfield; La Plata County Administration Building, 1101 E. 2nd Ave., Durango, or Farmers Fresh Market, 535 Goddard Ave., Ignacio.

Voter registration is open through Election Day.

Voter Service and Polling Centers in La Plata County will be open Monday-Saturday, beginning Oct. 24.

For a sample ballot and times and addresses for polling centers, go to



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