The 112th Congress has accomplished relatively little, and none of its members can escape responsibility for that. Blame whomever youd like, no one has managed to break free from the partisan morass and move forward collaboratively on issues that are vitally important to Americans.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, is the same man 3rd Congressional District voters elected two years ago, and the majority of those voters are likely to be satisfied with his performance.
Their approval was earned by elevating ideology over results, but that is as much a factor of the uncompromising atmosphere in Washington right now as it is of Tiptons personal politics. At another time in history, his nods toward moderation and bipartisanship might have been more pronounced, but his freshman class was tightly constrained by the GOP. The top priority seems to have been withholding victories from the president.
Soon newly re-elected representatives will reap what theyve sown. Their pledge not to increase taxes will eliminate many options for reducing the deficit and debt, especially while constituents rally around Social Security and Medicare and demands on the military remain high.
Americans want economic stability for their country and their families. They want to be able to plan. They want Congress to quit dancing near the brink and start making decisions that provide a view of a more prosperous future.
Sal Pace has done a good job of acknowledging those feelings. He has focused the race on concrete issues, including jobs and health care. His credentials are solid, and if he manages to unseat Tipton, its not likely to be accomplished with much help from Montezuma County.
Both Pace and Tipton are products of Fort Lewis College. Both served in the state House of Representatives. Both are ambitious and principled. Pace has a stronger record of bipartisanship in very challenging times.
Tipton, of course, has incumbency in his column. Despite an ethics-rule stumble, he has worked hard for his district, and he has managed to accomplish some things that benefit his constituents including national monument status for Chimney Rock and tuition benefits for American Indian students at Fort Lewis. He has collaborated well with the states two U.S. senators, both Democrats, on some Colorado issues.
Montezuma County residents value being represented by a congressman who calls this area home, comes back frequently, and knows their names when he meets them on the street as well as at his numerous town hall meetings. That access is a significant benefit.
Above his loyalty to Southwest Colorado, though, Tipton holds his loyalty to his party, and its that quality that will earn him either re-election or defeat. In Montezuma County, it will be viewed positively by his fellow Republicans, and they are a strong majority.
On the Journal wish list for this election year:
That Pace, if he wins, will do his best to avoid the polarization that has nearly paralyzed national politics, and if he loses, will emulate Tiptons persistence and run again for higher office.
That Tipton, if he wins, will take from his broad constituency a broader view of the possibilities for this nation.
That Pace and Tipton had done more to disavow the sort of vicious campaigning that has come to characterize modern races, and that they will do more in future races to encourage civility.
Tipton is Montezuma Countys candidate, and he has displayed the sensibilities of Montezuma Countys majority. No one has any reason to change their votes this time around.