U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., visits with constituents Saturday at Steamboat Smokehouse.

Photo by Matt Stensland

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., visits with constituents Saturday at Steamboat Smokehouse.

US Rep. Scott Tipton focuses on economy in visit to Routt County

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— During an hourlong Q-and-A session with Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., on Saturday afternoon, the discussion rarely wavered from the issue of the economy.

Every topic seemed to have its roots in the economic troubles facing the United States, whether it was rules and regulations, environmental issues or the national debt.

“We are faced with a real challenge as a country,” Tipton said in his opening speech. “The burden of debt on this country is crushing the American dream.

“We are at a crossroads as a country. The choices we made in 2010 and the choices we make in 2012 will determine what kind of country we will be.”

More than 30 people sat in the bar portion of Steamboat Smokehouse for the meet-and-greet, the second of three stops Tipton made in Routt County on Saturday as a part of a statewide tour.

Earlier in the day, he visited Oak Creek, and he traveled to Hayden after the Steamboat meeting.

Resident Ed Miklus said he attended the Steamboat event to see what the congressman had to say about what he perceives are the main issues facing the country in 2012.

“I am in support of restraining our overreaching government, and I wanted to hear what his opinions are,” Miklus said. “I was pleased with what he had to say.”

Tipton touched on issues like regulations putting a damper on small businesses as well as the impact of environmental regulations on job creation.

He told stories about Colorado residents he has met throughout his term as the 3rd Congressional District representative and placed the examples in the broader context of what he said is an “overreaching government.”

He supports a “common-sense balance” between regulations (which are needed, he said, but not to excess) and allowing the private sector to work on its own.

The crowd broke into a loud applause when he stressed the importance of getting Americans back to work.

One audience member asked whether Tipton would vote to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, to which Tipton responded that the Republican leadership hasn’t done a great job of communicating the party’s message and accomplishments to the public.

Another audience member chided the Republican Party for supporting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he said would protect his leukemia-stricken daughter from discrimination in the health insurance marketplace. Tipton responded that the Republican Party is in favor of cheaper and better access to health care but that it shouldn’t be up to the federal government to control it.

Routt County resident Hank Schaffer, who also was in attendance at the event, said it’s the debt that concerns him most.

“I am very interested in the future of this country, especially the debt and deficit,” he said.

The high unemployment rates also are an issue for Schaffer, who works for a fireplace company and now has gotten laid off each summer since the economy slid into a recession.

But Tipton said that there is hope and that he plans to use the stories and concerns he hears from his constituents when Congress reconvenes in a little more than a week.

“I have great optimism for this country,” he said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 907-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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