Once again, Rep. Scott Tipton is labeling me a “Socialist” (“I’m a Democrat: Mitsch Bush returns for another go at Tipton in 2020,” editorial, June 3).
This has been standard procedure from Republicans for a very long time. Here’s what then-President Harry Truman said about it in 1952:
“Socialism is a scare word they’ve hurled at every advance the people have made. Socialism is what they called public power (rural electrification and coops), social security, deposit insurance, and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for anything that helps all people.”
Tipton is not running on his record but on misrepresenting my record of responsive, accountable public service. I was a Routt County commissioner, reelected with no opposition in 2010 – the year of the Tea Party “revolution” that Tipton rode to Congress. Then I served three terms as state representative for two headwaters counties. At our state capitol, I earned the reputation of working across the aisle – over 80% of my bills had a Republican co-prime sponsor.
I am known for always replying honestly to my constituents, not hiding behind my staff. Constituents appreciated the frequency and openness of town halls throughout my district – real town halls, not orchestrated events where only the chosen got to speak. I am running on my promises kept. Tipton is running from his record and hoping that you will believe his lies about me.
Which of my votes, bills or policies lead Tipton to this label? Helping young farmers and ranchers overcome obstacles to entering family agriculture, or removing red tape so that more people, businesses, and electric co-ops can get permits for clean micro hydro electric power? Allowing local transportation authorities to go to their voters to fund projects identified by locals? Was it my bill to allow rural school districts more options to fully fund public education? To set scientific standards for hemp production, as requested by farmers? Or my bill to decrease exorbitant health care insurance premiums for rural Coloradans? All these bills and more were co-prime sponsored with Republican colleagues. Are they all socialists?
Tipton consistently attacked me as “raising taxes” and wanting to “take your paycheck and your property.” Perhaps he has been in Washington too long: He has forgotten that in Colorado, no elected official can raise our taxes. Only we can by a popular vote. I consistently voted to give the people their right and their voice by sending referred measures to them to consider and vote on. Is that socialist?
I worked with colleagues in Routt County and at the statehouse to balance budgets from 2007-2017. Tipton voted for the 2017 tax cuts that lowered rates on large corporations and the top 1% of earners while dramatically increasing our deficit for decades. It leaves the burden for our children to pay. That deficit was then used by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell as an excuse to try to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Tipton has said repeatedly, “I will never vote to privatize Medicare.” Yet, in 2011 – his first year in office – he voted for the Ryan budget, which undermined the Affordable Care Act, lowered taxes for the top 1%, and started the Medicare privatization process, all while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare. Ever since, Tipton has voted against seniors and Medicare. That’s why he got a score of 4% in 2018 from the Alliance for Retired Americans. Does he think that Medicare is socialism?
I have been a member of the Democratic Party all my life because I am a champion for real economic opportunity for everyone, public health and our environment, protections from discrimination, protections for voting rights and civil rights, strong ethics in government and campaign finance reform. My record shows I have consistently stood up for the Western Slope, especially for Western Slope water; balanced budgets; public education; infrastructure investment; science-based climate action goals; veterans; firefighters; new economic opportunities, especially in renewables, for small businesses; and for family agriculture and outdoor industries.
Let’s stop the labeling and start listening. The people of our district deserve to know our records and our proposals for a better future for all of us.
Diane Mitsch Bush was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Colorado’s Third District in 2018. She is running for Colorado’s Third Congressional District in 2020. She lives in Steamboat Springs.