In Schwartz, we will be supporting an independent leader accomplished at working with diverse constituencies. A 67-year old Democrat and 40-year resident of the Western Slope, she has covered a lot of ground in her lifetime. Her experience in business, housing, education and public service has prepared her well to represent more than 737,000 people across the sprawling district in 29 counties from Craig to Cortez and Poncha Springs to Pueblo.
She has made her own way from an early age. She served in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in college, waited tables, raised a family, was a partner in a successful engineering and ski area design business, and ran housing authorities in Aspen and Pitkin County.
Starting in 1995, when Gov. Roy Romer appointed her to represent Western Colorado on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, she began a distinguished career as a public servant. She has served on the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents and been elected twice to the Colorado Senate, representing approximately one-third of the counties of the district she would represent in Congress.
In the state Senate, she has held leadership positions on committees concerned with agriculture, natural resources, energy, water, labor and technology. In 2008 Schwartz had her biggest legislative accomplishment sponsoring Building Excellent Schools Today, or the BEST Act, that provides annual grant funding to schools for construction of new schools and renovation of existing schools.
Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 benefited from BEST with a school completed last year. To date BEST has supported 122 other school districts with more than $1.2 billion in capital construction projects, including several other projects in Southwest Colorado.
Gail Schwartz has spent decades digging into issues and working across the aisle to craft solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing our region. In Congress, she will continue to support adequate funding for our national parks and public lands, continue to work to fund education and make it affordable and to increase broadband access for rural businesses. She will work for outdoor recreation and clean energy jobs and help those in coal and natural gas hurt by declines in their industries. Schwartz is an accomplished legislator having carried hundreds of bills with 95 percent bipartisan support.
We thank Rep. Scott Tipton for the work he did in gaining monument status for Chimney Rock, permanent protections for the Hermosa Creek Watershed and for Good Samaritan legislation to help mining companies, rather than the public, pay to clean up abandoned mine sites. But energy and public lands are among the issues where we begin to diverge with Tipton.
Tipton’s caucus has been obstructionist and impeded progress at every turn on public lands protection. It denies climate change and stays committed to coal. We need new leadership to break the partisan gridlock in Congress, so we turn our hopes to Schwartz. Our district needs a representative who has a firm grasp of the past and an eye keenly focused on the future.
Vote for Gail Schwartz.