by Chet Hardin
Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace is in full campaign mode.
He is looking to unseat the one-term incumbent, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, and it should prove an interesting race to watch.
Tipton is not very secure in the seat. Elected on the sweep of Tea Party rage, some of his financial dealings have put the lie to his self-proclaimed fiscal responsibility and devoted small-government activism.
Anyway, while Pace is out there tooling around meeting the people, he is sharing his experiences and insights.
First up: Colorado is a big state, people are struggling but resilient, and gas is expensive.
Colorado’s Third Congressional District is larger than twenty-four states. It’s as large as Arkansas — or FIVE times the size of Massachusetts. That means there’s a lot of open road between our District’s beautiful towns. That also means that over the past two weeks, from the Eastern Plains to the San Juan Mountains, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating about my run for US Congress while sitting behind the wheel of my trusty Ford Ranger.
This past Saturday I listened to San Luis Valley residents’ concerns about job growth and the economy at Milagros Coffeehouse in downtown Alamosa. Milagros embodies the theme of my job creation and economic development tour. The concept behind Milagros originated in the late 1990s when the Valley experienced an unemployment rate three times the rate for Colorado. Locals decided to act and create an organization that provides assistance and job training to individuals in crisis; and Milagros serves as a fundraiser for the program.
On the road I’ve heard a lot about communities coming together to create partnerships to help turn around our economy, starting at the local level.
In Durango I hosted a small business roundtable with local business leaders; and I was impressed with the innovative programs the community has initiated to help spur new entrepreneurs. The CEO Network and the La Plata Economic Development Alliance help link start-up businesses to a larger network of resources to help ensure success. These values of independence, optimism and can-do spirit are what define the people of the Third Congressional District. Read about my business roundtable here.
Our travels are laying the foundation for a campaign based on the entrepreneurial spirit of the Third Congressional District.
Unfortunately, this comes at a cost, but I know it will pay off. These long miles stress the campaign's piggy bank. I won't lie, money will help drive our success and allow us to reach every highway and community in the district.
We all know that it takes more money than we'd like to fill up a tank of gas.