Steamboat Springs Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate Sal Pace told a group of about 20 people Saturday morning that he anticipates a close race in an effort to unseat Republican incumbent Scott Tipton.
“This race is one of the most competitive races in the country, which means it’s great for TV channels,” Pace said. “It also means it’s going to come down to the wire.”
Political advertisements are a certainty in the nationally recognized toss-up election as November approaches, but Pace said he is focusing his efforts on meeting with potential constituents and supporters.
Before traveling to Edwards on Saturday, Pace was at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in downtown Steamboat Springs, where a group gathered to hear his vision and plan for taking the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district geographically is about the size of the state of New York and covers 29 counties in western and south-central Colorado.
The discussion focused on how to create jobs for people struggling during bad economic times.
“They’re being hurt even worse by a Congress that is inept at fixing problems,” Pace said. “The American dream has been slipping away for our next generation.”
To rebuild the economy, Pace said, Congress needs to focus its efforts on helping small businesses like the bookstore at which he spoke.
“Frankly, I think that’s the No. 1 issue we need to be working on,” Pace said.
He said the government can help small businesses by making it easier for them to comply with regulations and by offering a fairer competitive environment.
The green-energy economy also is key in creating jobs, Pace said, and pointed to Colorado as an example.
“Renewable energy has created jobs ... and will continue to create jobs,” he said.
Pace also stressed the importance of educating youths for jobs that will be in demand.
To support the economy in rural communities, Pace said, Congress needs to support infrastructure improvements and airports such as Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Broadband Internet access also is important in rural communities like Routt County because it encourages the growth of location-neutral businesses, Pace said.
“They want to move here for quality of life in a community like Steamboat, but it depends on the government providing some of that basic infrastructure,” Pace said.
Pace addressed environmental issues that he said are important in protecting Colorado’s recreational-tourism-based economies.
In response to a question about the use of fracking in oil extraction, Pace said there is time to continue to develop technology that will have a smaller impact on the landscape, air and water quality while extracting the country’s mineral and oil assets.
“One thing I like to remind myself is they’re not going anywhere,” Pace said.
Some of those who attended Saturday’s discussion said they appreciated Pace’s sincerity.
“I was impressed,” Steamboat resident Janet Cino said. “I like what he’s saying, especially about the environment.”
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com