About 30 people turned out to watch three Durango city councilors endorse Sal Pace, the Democratic contender for the 3rd Congressional District seat Thursday at the Rochester Hotel.
“Michelle Obama just got me warmed up for the main event,” Councilor Christina Rinderle said. “Sal is just a regular guy like us, and I wholeheartedly support and endorse him.”
Rinderle complained that Tipton never seems to visit Durango, and he disregards bills locals have worked on, such as the one on the Hermosa Creek wilderness, to vote with his party.
“I have been on City Council four years and mayor for one, and I’ve never met the man,” she said. “His picture might as well be on the side of a milk carton.”
Sweetie Marbury, a longtime Democratic activist, has known Pace since he was a senior at Fort Lewis College, and they worked a phone bank together.
“We were calling voters for Sen. Jim Isgar,” she said, “Sal knew a good man when he saw one, and I know a good man when I see one.”
An important area for Marbury is women’s rights and access to health care, and Pace sees a big difference between his viewpoint and Tipton’s on those issues, suggesting voters look at Tipton’s website to learn more.
“His ideas for restricting women’s access to health care are so extreme in 2012,” Pace said. “It’s the same kind of debate we were having in this country 50 years ago.”
The final councilor to endorse Pace was Dick White.
“Someone once said politics was ‘the art of the possible,’” he said. “Sal gets it. As the minority leader in the Colorado House of Representatives, he led a bipartisan effort to pass the budget. We need him in Congress because it’s in gridlock.”
Pace said one thing he has learned in the Colorado General Assembly is that the most important thing is building friendships across the aisle.
“You can’t get anything done if people dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate,” he said. “To pass the budget, I sat down with the speaker of the house, I sat down with the governor and we all took our lumps. We all had something in the budget we didn’t like, but that’s the way it works.”
Pace said he suggested a fifth debate with Tipton to take place in Durango, perhaps on Oct. 21, when Tipton will be in town for a campaign fundraiser at the Glacier Club. The event will feature Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and tickets range from $250 to $2,500. Pace said Tipton declined the debate invitation.