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Scott Tipton Interview

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We asked a series of general and targeted questions to the  3rd congressional district candidates, Congressmen Scott Tipton (R) and challenger Sal Pace (D), to generate a discussion about issues affecting the district. 

Personal Statement:

I grew up in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, it’s where I went to college, started my business and raised my family. Living and working here I understand the importance of agriculture and water in our district; I understand public lands; the importance of being able to access and preserve them while responsibly developing our natural resources. I have a deep respect for the land and people of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and am honored to serve them in Congress.

1.) The Republican nominee and the Republican Party does not support the Production Tax Credits affecting jobs in Pueblo at the Vestas plant. You have bucked Mitt Romney saying you want to extend the credit by 2 years. President Obama supports the extension of the tax credit. Do you think you can get this done regardless of the next President? If so, how?

We will continue to do everything we can to extend the Wind PTC to save jobs in the 3rd Congressional District

** In what other ways can you make Colorado attractive for renewable energy jobs in the 3rd CD? 

Colorado has a great abundance of natural resources, we have to make sure to remove duplicative regulations and high corporate taxes to allow the private sector to create jobs.

 2.) What is government’s responsibility to spur economic growth; and where do you specifically draw line on financial regulation and tax cuts?

We need to get government out of the way and allow the private sector to once again begin creating jobs. As a small businessman for over 30 years I have first hand experience creating jobs. I know that most of the time government’s high taxes and duplicative regulations hinder job growth in Colorado.  We must address our complex tax structure and do away with needless regulations to jump-start private sector job growth.

 3.) Both Sal Pace and you have made government spending and the deficit a main tenant of the campaign, voters want to know what are the spending cuts you propose for the district?

We must get our $16 trillion debt under control.  This is simple, we cannot continue to spend more than we take in, and have to begin to pay down the debt so we do not leave our mess for future generations to clean up.  This is a moral obligation to our children and grandchildren

4.) We have so many failing schools in Southern Colorado, what can you do on the federal level to start improving education in our district?

As the husband of a former school teacher and the proud father of two daughters, education has always been a top priority for me. We must provide our children with the necessary knowledge and resources to compete in the 21st century economy.

I strongly support tougher graduation standards, strong school safety programs, and a robust charter school program. I will oppose all unfunded federal mandates on our local school.

While promoting basic statewide standards, I will work to protect local control so that we can ensure we prepare our students with the tools they need to succeed in life.

 5.) Beyond saying you want to protect water interests. How exactly would you protect Colorado and the district’s water interests? What are your water priorities for the Arkansas River basin, the San Luis Valley and the Western Slope?

Congressman Tipton has been standing up for Colorado water and working to keep San Luis Valley water in the Valley, and has a record that bears that out.  Congressman Tipton has been one of the most vocal advocates in Congress of advancing common sense water storage projects that would help provide a steady and reliable supply of water for farmers and ranchers in the SLV and across the state.  He led the effort in the House of Representatives to protect privately held water rights that ranchers and communities rely on when the federal government tried to confiscate them as a permit condition.  Scott Tipton is a champion of Colorado water rights and of protecting the water that the San Luis Valley relies on.

6.)  In a (political) climate where politicians need lobbyists and lobbyists need politicians, how do individuals and small businesses (influence/change) the (political) dynamics (in order to feel/so that they feel) fairly represented?

As a small businessman myself it is important for them to stay active in the political process.

7.) How should the majority party, whether that the Reps or Dems work with the minority party to get the work of Congress done?

I am not just talking about bi-partisanship I have been acting on it.  In my first term in Congress I have passed five bills through the United States House of Representatives and they have all passed with bi-partisan support.  One of the things I have found useful is introducing practical, creative solutions to problems facing our Country and then reaching out to our friends on the other side and simply asking for their support.

 8.) Because of your experience you make the small business background one of your central strengths. As a small business owner, could you accurately describe what you believe are the burdens placed on small business from the Federal level?

Often the federal government gets in the way of creating jobs and expanding your small business.  I have been able to take my 30 years of small business experience to Washington and be a strong advocate for small businesses across Colorado.

9.) The public is tired of congressional in-fighting. They want to see action from Congress. Yet, Republicans seem in a difficult situation, the extreme right see compromise as a weakness and will vote for more extreme conservationists. Do you think you can adequetely represent the 3rd CD when Republicans have no-compromise policy.

I have passed five bills all with bi-partisan support. As a representative of all the citizens of the 3rd Congressional District I represent everyone not just a certain ideology.

10. Do you think that a woman’s right to choose is her inalienable right?

I am pro-life and I believe abortion should be limited to cases that involve rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother.

11. In light of of the tragic shootings at Aurora and Columbine, under what circumstances should citizens be allowed to or prohibited from carrying guns?

As a gun owner and a lifelong member of the NRA, I am committed to ensuring that neither the federal nor state government infringe on the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. I will oppose any efforts to restrict law-abiding citizens from owning a firearm.

 

 

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Colorado

Expect more bigger, more damaging hail storms as they hit areas with growing populations

limate change will make the atmosphere more moist, but the effect that will have on hailstones isn’t clear experts aren’t clear.

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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Hailstorms inflict billions of dollars in damage yearly in North America alone, and the cost will rise as the growing population builds more homes, offices and factories, climate and weather experts said Tuesday.

The role of climate change in hailstorms is harder to assess, the experts said at a conference at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Climate change will likely make large hailstorms worse, but population growth is more of a certainty, said Andreas Prein, a climate modeling scientist at the atmospheric research center.

“We know pretty certain that we will have more people in the future, and they will have more stuff, and this stuff can be damaged,” Prein said. “I think this component is more certain than what we can say about climate change at the moment.”

This year is expected to be the 11th in a row in which the damage from severe storms exceeds $10 billion in the United States, and 70 percent of that cost comes from hail, said Ian Giammanco, a research meteorologist for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

“It’s such a huge driver of the dollar loss each year,” he said.

Costs are rising in the U.S. because homes are getting bigger, from about 1,700 square feet (139 square meters) in the early 1980s to 2,500 square feet (232 square meters) in 2015, he said. New subdivisions also pack homes in more tightly, Giammanco said.

“So it’s a bigger target for hailstorms to hit,” he said.

The effects of climate change on hail and the resulting damage are harder to calculate because hailstorms require distinct ingredients, and global warming affects them in different ways, Prein said.

To form, hailstorms require moisture, an updraft, variable winds and freezing temperatures at lower levels of the storm cloud, he said.

Updrafts lift water droplets into the clouds, where they attract other droplets and freeze together, scientists say. Winds of varying speed and direction keep the droplets suspended in the cloud long enough to grow into hailstones. When they eventually fall, freezing temperatures in the cloud keep them from melting before they hit warmer air closer to the ground.

Climate change will likely increase updrafts, helping hailstones form, Prein said.

But it will inhibit two hail-producing conditions, he said. Warmer temperatures will expand higher into the atmosphere, so falling hailstones have more time to melt before hitting the ground. And differences in wind speed and direction will subside, he said.

Climate change will make the atmosphere more moist, but the effect that will have on hailstones isn’t clear, he said.

Kristen Rasmussen, an assistant professor at Colorado State University, said the combined effects of climate change will probably inhibit the number of weaker storms but increase the number of severe ones.

“So we actually think that’s why we’re seeing a decrease in the number of weak to moderate storms and an increase in the most severe storms,” she said. “If those storms are able to break through this inhibition, they … have the potential to be more severe, and they can tap into more energy when they do so.”

The researchers said they need more data to understand the relationship between climate change and hailstorms. Improved science could also help predict hailstorms and calculate risks better, they said.

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Andes in South America and the Himalayas all have conditions that make them hotspots for hail, Rasmussen said.

A May 2017 hailstorm in the Denver area caused $2.3 billion in insurance losses. Last week, hail injured 14 people in Colorado Springs and killed at least five animals at the city zoo. Damage estimates were still being compiled.

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Colorado

Colorado voters will decide on $1.6 billion tax increase for education

A $1.6 billion initiative to benefit Colorado schools, paid for by higher taxes on corporations and wealthier individuals, will appear on the ballot this November.

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A $1.6 billion initiative to benefit Colorado schools, paid for by higher taxes on corporations and wealthier individuals, will appear on the ballot this November.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said on Thursday that supporters of the measure had more than met the signature requirements.

Supporters of the effort, dubbed Great Schools, Thriving Communities, turned in 179,390 signatures last month, of which 130,022 were deemed valid. They needed just 98,492 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Under more stringent requirements adopted by voters in 2016, those signatures also needed to represent 2 percent of the registered voters in every state Senate district.

Initiative 93 represents the third attempt in seven years to raise money for education. Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires that voters approve any tax increase, and voters have twice before rejected statewide school funding measures by wide margins, most recently in 2013. To pass, Initiative 93 would need approval from 55 percent of voters.

The measure could share the ballot with a major tax increase for transportation, as well as a measure that would require the state to spend more on roads without raising taxes.

In addition to raising taxes for schools, Initiative 93 would fully fund all-day kindergarten and increase funding for preschool and for students with particular needs, such as those learning English and those who have disabilities. School districts would have broad discretion, though, about how to spend the new revenue.

Conservative critics of the measure say that’s one problem with it. In their view, it amounts to putting a lot more money into a system that has not significantly improved student achievement, without clear mechanisms to change that.

“The research is clear that simply adding more money to the same system will not lead to increased student achievement,” the conservative education reform advocacy group Ready Colorado said in an email to members. “Funding increases should be tied to policies that will improve educational outcomes.”

The group also criticized the measure for introducing a tiered tax system to replace Colorado’s flat income tax. That’s one key difference between this attempt and Amendment 66 in 2013. The last effort would have raised taxes on everyone, while this tax increase would affect those earning more than $150,000.

In contrast, the Colorado Children’s Campaign quickly issued a statement in support of the measure, calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an education financing system that is more adequate, modern, equitable, and sustainable. This is the first step in removing structural barriers to opportunity and ensuring every chance for every child to succeed.”

Colorado ranks 28th among states in per-pupil spending, when all state, local, and federal dollars are combined, according to the most recent ranking from the National Education Association. However, school funding varies considerably around the state, and half of Colorado school districts, most of them in rural areas, operate on a four-day week because they can’t afford to be open five days.

Since the Great Recession, state lawmakers have held back $7.5 billion in money that would have otherwise gone to schools under a formula in the state constitution. The 2018-19 state budget included a 6.95 percent increase for K-12 education, but those who want to see more money for schools say it doesn’t begin to address years of underfunding.

Earlier this summer, Denver-based pollster Floyd Ciruli told Chalkbeat that statewide tax increases remain a tough sell in Colorado, but the prominence of education in the contentious Democratic primary for governor may have “primed” the electorate on this issue.

Some school districts are already talking about how they’ll spend the money. Denver Public Schools, which is currently engaged in negotiations with its teachers union, announced Thursday that it would put $36 million toward teacher pay if the tax increase passes, including raising starting pay and offering larger incentives to teachers who work in more challenging schools. The 2,300-student Sterling district on Colorado’s Eastern Plains also met recently with its teachers to discuss how to spend an estimated $3.7 million that district would get from the tax increase.

This isn’t just wishful thinking: It’s also part of marketing the tax increase to the public.

The tax measure calls for:

  • Raising the corporate income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 6 percent.
  • Raising the personal income tax rate from a flat 4.63 percent to between 5 percent and 8.25 percent for people earning more than $150,000. The highest tax rate would be paid by people earning $500,000 or more.
  • Setting the residential property assessment rate at 7 percent of market value for schools. That’s lower than it is now but higher than it is predicted to be in 2019 because current law has the unintended effect of gradually reducing the residential assessment rate.
  • Setting the non-residential property assessment rate at 24 percent of market value, less than the current 29 percent.

According to an initial fiscal analysis by the state, the average taxpayer earning more than $150,000 would pay an additional $519 a year, while those earning less would be unaffected. The average corporate taxpayer would pay an additional $11,085 a year. The change in property taxes would vary considerably around the state, but based on the average statewide school levy, many property owners would pay $28 more on each $100,000 of market value in 2019 than they otherwise would. Commercial property owners will see a decrease.

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US & World

Wyoming officials oppose SecDef Mattis on returning war-trophy to the Philippines

Wyoming officials contest the Department of Defense calling the return of The Bells of Balangiga of a “national security interest of the United States.”

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The United States should not return church bells seized as war trophies from the Philippines over a century ago, Wyoming’s congressional delegation said Monday.

It’s a position Wyoming officials have repeated often over the years amid reports the Bells of Balangiga were to be repatriated. This time, however, the U.S. Defense Department appears intent on following through.

Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote members of Congress over the weekend saying it was “in the national security interest of the United States” to return the bells.

Two of the Bells of Balangiga are at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The third is with the U.S. Army in South Korea.

U.S. Army soldiers took the bells following an attack on the island of Samar in which 48 American troops were killed in 1901.

“These bells are memorials to American war dead and should not be transferred to the Philippines,” the all-Republican delegation made up of U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, said in a joint statement Monday.

Most U.S. veterans oppose returning the bells to the Philippines and the delegation opposes any effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to return the bells without veterans’ support, the statement said.

Groups including the American Legion and Republican Gov. Matt Mead opposed returning the bells when the idea came up in 2012, during President Barack Obama’s administration.

This time, the Defense Department consulted at length with veterans’ service organizations about possibly returning the bells, Mattis wrote.

Filipinos revere the bells as symbols of national pride and President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly called for their return. Fewer Filipino combatants died than the Americans in the Balangiga attack but perhaps five times more than the 4,200 Americans were killed over the course of the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War. The war also killed 100,000 or more civilians, according to some estimates.

U.S. Air Force officials didn’t respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

The two bells in Wyoming followed a U.S. Army infantry regiment based on Samar during the U.S. occupation. The 11th Infantry arrived in 1904 at Fort D.A. Russell, which in 1930 became Fort Francis E. Warren and in 1949 F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

The third bell followed the 9th Infantry to Camp Red Cloud in South Korea.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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