Adam Frisch was working in the World Trade Center in February 1993 when a truck bomb exploded in the parking garage, a terrorist attack now viewed as a precursor to Sept. 11. Twenty years later, he crossed the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon just 15 minutes before the first bomb went off on Boylston Street.
These brushes with tragedy – what Frisch described as “a couple of near misses” – were a motivating factor in his decision to move from New York City to Aspen, and later to run as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Lauren Boebert to represent Colorado’s 3rd district in Congress.
The Durango Herald has requested an interview with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert about her bid for reelection, but she has not yet agreed to an interview or responded to questions posed to her campaign.
“I’m a little naive, I’m not completely naive, but at least here there’s a big opportunity just to have a normal conversation with people and let them know I’m here to listen,” Frisch told The Durango Herald during a Zoom interview.
Frisch said he didn’t plan on a career in politics; he doesn’t have a bathroom mirror above his sink because he doesn’t like to look at himself, which he said might make some people think he’s in the “wrong profession.” He launched his run for the congressional seat because, as he put it, he has “a history of standing up when I think it’s important to stand up.”
Frisch said he has come to believe that “the biggest issue facing Southwest Colorado is we don’t have a representative who is actually focused on the job,” referring to Boebert. He said he views her priority as “yelling and screaming and not really fighting on behalf of even the people that voted for her,” acting as part of what he calls the “anger-tainment” industry in American politics in which he said extremists on the right and the left engage in bad-faith conversations to divide constituents.
“She’s proposed 39 bills and legislation – zero have gotten out of committee,” he said of Boebert. According to the Library of Congress’ official website, Boebert has sponsored 40 bills that have not passed the House of Representatives as of Friday.
Frisch, who describes himself as a “moderate, pragmatic Democrat” and was registered as an unaffiliated voter in Colorado for 20 years, said his goal in Congress would be to “represent everyone in the District, not just the Democratic Party.”
“I always tell people … if there was a ‘Get Stuff Done’ Party, I’d be in the ‘Get Stuff Done’ Party,” he said. “But that ‘Get Stuff Done’ Party is not doing very well right now, and we’re all suffering for it and so is Southwest Colorado.”
Frisch said some of his biggest concerns in Southwest Colorado are the lack of affordable housing, water shortages and rural access to quality health care and education.
“There’s no top-secret issues,” Frisch said. “They’re all fairly constant, been on the plate for a while, but it’s really listening to people to try to build consensus because at the end of the day, no matter what happens in November, when there’s a new House and a new Senate, the only (legislation) that’s going to get passed by definition is going to be bipartisan.”
For Frisch, a key step in addressing any given issue facing Southwest Colorado is to put federal taxpayer money “in the hands of local leaders.” He said leaders at the county and community levels are better equipped to distribute the funding and that people in Denver and Washington, D.C., should not be making those decisions about what the 3rd Congressional District needs.
“One of the biggest jobs that a representative needs to do when they go to D.C. is trying to figure out how to bring home the district’s taxpayer money – that are paid into there from individuals and businesses – and try to have that money come back and reinvested in that community,” Frisch said.
Frisch acknowledged that some voters might worry he would struggle to relate to some of his constituents as their representative, particularly because he lives in the resort community of Aspen and not closer to some of the district’s lower-income towns.
“There’s some very valid concerns about, ‘How can a mountain town guy connect with all of us ranchers and farmers, and those of us who kind of live in a more traditional rural community?’” he said. “And it’s all fair, and I just try to address it right away.”
He cited his early childhood on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, where his father had worked as a public health professional, and his teenage years doing farm work to help out his grandfather’s cattle trading business as evidence that he has “a little bit of a diverse background.”
On the campaign trail, Frisch has some company: his 16-year-old son, who has taken a year off of high school to run the volunteer coordination team. Frisch said the two of them have been driving the family’s 19-foot camper trailer all over the state, racking up nearly 10,000 miles since the primary elections ended July 1.
“When times get tough or you start missing a lot of people back home, (having my son with me), that part’s fun,” Frisch said.
He also said the camper, which is decked out to look like a campaign billboard, is helpful for him and his son when it comes to gauging who the electorate will be voting for.
“We’ve had about 85 thumbs-up and 65 middle fingers,” Frisch said. “So we feel like we have some good polling.”
Kate Corliss 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 email@example.com.