Sal Pace: Colorado needs new leadership in Washington

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Sal Pace

If the past few years of gridlock and partisanship have taught us anything, it’s that our current Congress is no longer capable of coming up with solutions to our problems. Sometimes it seems like the folks in Washington care more about appeasing the special interests than looking out for the families on Main Street. That’s just wrong. I’m running for Congress because our families deserve better.

My wife and I live with our three kids in a small two-bedroom home. At the end of every month, after paying for food, gas and bills, we don’t have much left over for savings. Colorado families are hurting because of Congress’s inability to work together and find solutions. The payroll tax cut fight, the debt ceiling fight and the inability to pass a Farm Bill are examples that show how gridlock in Washington has real consequences for Coloradans.

During my four years in the Colorado state Legislature, I’ve worked to find bipartisan solutions for all Coloradans. When Colorado schools were facing devastating budget cuts because of the financial crisis, I reached across the aisle and worked with Republicans to secure an additional $90 million for K-12 education, while still balancing the budget.

This was possible because in Colorado, we know that it’s only by working together and putting aside our differences that things get done. People in Washington need to stop trying to win the 10-second sound-bite battles and start working together so we can do what’s right for the country. That’s how we do it in Colorado, and these are the values that I would bring to Congress.

If elected, my top priority will be to create a better environment for jobs here in Colorado. We need to reduce red tape for small businesses, reinvest in workforce training and reform the tax code to encourage American businesses to hire American workers. We also must protect tax cuts for the middle class and pass a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to balance the budget and get our debt under control.

We also need to address our energy crisis. I believe in a balanced approach to developing our domestic resources that respects our land, water and communities. This approach also requires that we use smart development to become energy independent. Our energy security and our national security deeply are intertwined, which is why we no longer can afford to have our energy dollars support unstable foreign countries that may wish us harm. I also strongly believe that we need to extend the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit to prevent layoffs in Colorado’s wind energy industry and to lay the foundation for a safe and reliable energy future.

I also will fight to protect the Medicare and Social Security benefits that seniors have earned after a lifetime of hard work. This is in sharp contrast with Rep. Scott Tipton, who has voted twice for the Tipton-Ryan Budget, which would gut Medicare and dramatically increase out-of-pocket medical costs for seniors. This radical plan would end Medicare’s guaranteed coverage, raise the premiums that seniors pay by $6,400 and leave Colorado families one medical emergency away from financial ruin. We can’t continue to allow the petty bickering in Washington to jeopardize the Medicare and Social Security benefits that seniors have earned.

As the father of three young children and a teacher at a local university, I know firsthand how important a good education is for future success. Even today, a good education is still the single best guarantee of attaining a good career. This means that investing in our classrooms is essential to ensuring our long-term economic success. We need leaders in Congress who recognize this connection between success in the classroom and success in the economy and who will work together to make both top priorities.

In this election, the stakes for our families — and for the future of our country — could not be higher. We have a choice between two paths: one that respects our promise to seniors, and one that doesn’t; one that grows the economy from the middle class out, and one that doesn’t; one that takes us forward, and one that doesn’t. I’m running for Congress so that I can continue fighting to take us forward.

Sal Pace is the Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. He lives in Pueblo. Learn more at www.paceforcolorado.com.

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