Steamboat Springs Congressional candidate Scott Tipton said Wednesday that his opponent is not doing enough to fight methamphetamine use in western Colorado.
"We have a plague of methamphetamine," said Tipton, a Cortez businessman who is campaigning for Congress aga-inst U.S. Rep. John Salazar, a Democrat from Manassa.
Speaking in Steamboat Springs at a meeting of the Routt County Republicans, Tipton challenged Salazar's recent vote against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which Tipton said contained provisions to provide funding and resources to counteract meth use.
"That is something I would have supported," he said. "(Salazar) voted against it."
Spokes-----woman Nayyera Haq said Salazar voted against the reauthorization to defend individual liberties the Patriot Act compromises, such as keeping personal records private and preventing wiretapping of phone lines. Salazar has endorsed policies to fight meth use, she said.
"Congressman Salazar has done more than recognize the growing meth problem. He has already helped direct more than $60 million in funds for local law enforcement to combat growing meth use," Haq said.
On Nov. 9, a Salazar vote helped approve $64 million dollars in funding for law enforcement with the "Meth Hot Spots" program.
Salazar is a co-sponsor of the Methamphetamine Epidemic Elimination Act, which restricts the import and sale of chemicals used in meth production. He is also a member of the Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who aim to stop the spread of meth use in rural communities.
Routt County Sheriff John Warner said Wednesday that his department has yet to receive help from federal funding.
"There is zero money coming from federal agencies right now to help us with the situation we're in," Warner said.
Warner attended Wed--nesday's meeting, but he left shortly after Tipton spoke to attend to issues with two Craig men arrested on meth-related charges.
Tipton also discussed energy goals outlined by President Bush in the State of the Union address Tuesday night.
"I truly applaud the idea of taking advantage of alternative energy resources in the United States," Tipton said.
In his address, Bush said that by 2025, 75 percent of U.S. energy should be produced within the nation's borders.
Tipton said that goal should be 100 percent energy self-sufficiency by 2025.
"Energy self-sufficiency is something we need to work on aggressively," Tipton said.
He also spoke about the "great plurality" of Republican voters along the Western Slope and discussed the need to promote his platform among local Republicans.
"I cannot tell you how important Routt County is going to be for us in the upcoming campaign," Tipton said.
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