I am seeking re-election as your Representative in Congress because the rural Colorado values we all share must have a seat at the table when important issues are debated.
I am a farmer, a rancher and a businessman. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was born with a shovel in my hand. And my father made sure I knew how to use it. On our family’s ranch, I learned many of life’s lessons through sweat, blood and hard work. Working the land takes tireless effort, it takes putting aside differences to get the job done, and at times, it takes a lot of courage.
It also is where you learn to cherish the efforts of friends and the love of family. These are the lessons that my father instilled in all of us eight children, and though he is no longer with us, his love and effort can be found in every square inch of that ranch.
And I have taken what I learned on the ranch to my career in public service. I put a premium on hard work, on fighting for others, and for protecting those who need it. I have worked with anyone who was willing to roll up their sleeves and work to solve problems. Most of all, I have been proud to get real results for the people I represent.
I fight for our veterans. In Northwest Colorado, veterans have had to brave icy winter travel to receive care in Grand Junction. Now, with the new Craig Veterans Clinic, they can get health care closer to home.
I fight for our seniors. Social Security and Medicare have been lifelines for millions of seniors, providing critical income in retirement while ensuring that vital health care services are available. I never will support privatizing Social Security and let our seniors’ money be gambled on by Wall Street bankers. And I will fight vigorously to protect benefits from being cut.
I fight for Colorado’s precious water resources. From the time I worked to defeat Referendum A in 2003 to the present day, I have made our water one of my highest priorities. Under my leadership, the Arkansas Valley Conduit, first promised to the people of Southeast Colorado in 1962, will become a reality, and 50,000 people will get clean drinking water.
I fight for our working families. I supported health care reform to stop insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals, especially children, because of pre-existing conditions. I put an end to the Medicare prescription drug donut hole, which will save seniors hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in drug costs.
I fight for our farmers and ranchers. I am the only active farmer and rancher in Congress and the sponsor of the Save Our Family Farm Act of 2010 that would exempt farm and ranch land from the death tax so that families can keep their land and maintain its productive use.
I am proud of my accomplishments for the people of the 3rd Congressional District. But I know that more work remains. I’m committed to promoting job creation by providing tax cuts and access to credit for small businesses so they can grow and hire new workers.
We also must restore fiscal responsibility to our budget. The Bush Administration added almost $5 trillion to our national debt. That debt has increased during the past 18 months as we fought a recession that was killing jobs. The economy has stabilized and is turning the corner. As the economy strengthens and jobs are created, we will have to find ways to bring the budget back in balance.
My sleeves are rolled up, and I am ready to return to work. We have much to do, but I’ve never forgotten what my father taught me. But in helping solve our nation’s problems, I won’t turn my back on our seniors by phasing out Social Security and Medicare, as my opponent has proposed. I won’t shun our veterans by cutting their benefits in half, as my opponent has proposed. And I won’t force our families and children to be at the mercy of insurance companies again, as my opponent would do.
As a veteran, I am proud of my service to my country. As your Representative, I am proud of my service to my constituents. My pledge to you is that I will never forget who I’m working for and where I came from.
U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., is running for re-election for the 3rd Congressional District.