WASHINGTON – Durango’s representatives in Washington share many of the same goals in 2018, saying they want to focus on issues that affect rural Coloradans.
Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said in a phone interview that his short-term focus would be on passing legislation to continue funding the Child Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, for at least the next six years.
Tipton said he also supports finding a compromise on immigration that allows a path forward for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients but strengthened restrictions elsewhere.
“I have empathy for children who have been brought here and know no other country,” Tipton said, “But we need to deal with block immigration and make sure that our borders are secure.”
Later in the year, Tipton said he will focus on an energy security bill that would allow alternative energy sources as well as fossil fuels to develop in Colorado. He also wants to maintain his and others’ efforts to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters west so it’s closer to the majority of lands it controls.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., echoed many of these positions in a phone interview, in addition to saying he would like to build on the recent tax cuts and stay focused on increasing economic opportunities, for rural Coloradans especially.
Gardner and Tipton both said they wanted to expand broadband infrastructure into rural communities to ensure isolated areas have opportunities to expand internet service. Gardner said he will keep trying to gain more support for a bill he introduced that would auction off spectrum bands and guarantee 10 percent of the proceeds go specifically to expanding service in rural areas.
Gardner also addressed his recent opposition to changes in executive oversight on marijuana enforcement, saying he plans to continue fighting for the decisions Coloradans made on marijuana legalization, a view all three lawmakers share.
“The ultimate goal is to put in place permanent protections for states’ rights on decisions in Colorado,” Gardner said.
In a statement to the Herald, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said he is working to keep the government open during immigration talks and has signed onto the bipartisan immigration bill with Gardner earlier this week.
“We’re also eager to advance policies we introduced last year, like our Medicare-X plan to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for rural Coloradans and our Child Tax Credit proposal to help working families,” Bennet said.