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By LUCAS TURNER | firstname.lastname@example.org
RBC | Diane Mitsch Bush is running for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District this election. She comes to the race citing past experience, having served as a Routt County Commissioner from 2007 to 2012, and as a Representative for the 26th House District in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2013-2017. This cycle marks her second run for the seat, after challenging then four-term Republican Incumbent Scott Tipton in the 2018 midterm elections.
“When I ran against Scott Tipton, I compiled lots and lots of information on his record…his votes, because many of the votes didn’t square with what people here needed,” said Mitsch Bush, noting that the strategy does not work against her current opponent Lauren Boebert, who has never held any kind of public office.
The current race for Colorado’s 3rd CD could be described as the kind of spectacle voters have become familiar with on the national scene. Bitter accusations and negative attacks in all directions, and a dearth of rational, informed discussion between the two candidates.
Mitsch Bush said her opponent has “outright rejected” debate requests in various formats, or simply ignored others. Boebert has made similar claims about Mitsch Bush’s unwillingness to debate.
“I think that’s really disappointing. I think we as candidates owe it to the people to participate and debate, so that voters can see who we are and what we stand for.” said Mitsch Bush, who also criticized her opponent’s partisan rhetoric.
“From my experience in the Colorado House I know that you have to reach across the aisle and bring everybody in to solve problems. She [Boebert] has said, and this is a quote, ‘I’m tired of compromise.’ Maybe she is tired of that, I don’t know, but that doesn’t work. You have to be able to sit down and listen to people on the other side of the aisle.”
Absent direct interaction with her opponent, Diane Mitsch Bush’ campaign has focused on voter engagement, holding public zoom calls regularly where undecided voters can call in and ask questions.
“I encourage everyone to attend, I answer questions, they’re not orchestrated. It’s not ‘oh I wanna take your question, it’s a good one.’ The whole point is to listen to people and answer questions.”
Mitsch Bush said in her discussions with voters “from Pueblo to Grand Junction to the San Luis Valley to all the Western Slope valleys,” she hears three common priorities time and time again.
“One, they want me to help lower the cost of healthcare. Two, I need to help build an economy that works for everyone, particularly good paying jobs, and [three], people want our public lands protected,” she said.
On the issue of healthcare, she wants to focus most immediately on “protecting and strengthening” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
“My opponent would repeal it and seems to think somehow she would keep that coverage. She doesn’t seem to understand that overage for pre-existing conditions is a part of the law that the affordable care act represents,” said Mitsch Bush. She also lauded the ACA for its role in allowing Colorado to expand Medicaid, which a high proportion of residents in the district qualify for and use.
Protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing people to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until the age of 26, and the Medicaid expansion are commonly used defenses of the ACA, but Mitsch Bush says it is also important for mental health care.
“It requires insurers to cover both physical health and mental health. And again in this stressful time of COVID, we have got to keep that, especially in our rural areas,” she said.
Other healthcare priorities listed by the Democratic candidate include lowering prescription drug costs, protecting the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and shoring up funding for rural hospitals and clinics.
On economic issues, Diane Mitsch Bush wants to focus first on creating good paying jobs. She said one way to do this is by investing in infrastructure, which many experts say is sorely needed. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) gave the United States infrastructure a rating of D+ when compared to that of other developed countries.
“Transportation, broadband, the electric grid, and water. I mean those are all such important pieces and once you start investing you start to see immediately, good paying jobs,” she said.
She also proposed incentivizing new manufacturing jobs, “especially in areas where traditional fossil fuel jobs are shrinking.” She says those jobs pay well, and could include everything from outdoor recreation gear to medical supplies.
“That was brought to my attention especially during COVID. We saw that our medical supply chain is weak at best, and that we need to [currently] get supplies from foreign countries, and so we should be incentivizing the manufacture and production of life-saving medical supplies right here,” said Mitsch Bush.
On public lands, she talked about supporting legislation like the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE) Act.
“That bill was the result of a decade of stakeholder work and seven Western Slope counties. It included ranchers and outfitters and recreationists and county governments and local governments, and they hammered out over 10 years the basic points that would become the CORE Act,” she said, adding that her opponent does not understand the legislative process. “My opponent claims the CORE Act is some kind of plot by either Denver liberals or Boulder liberals. She is so wrong, she really doesn’t understand these stakeholder processes. That bill came about through cooperation between rural Western Slope counties.”
“The choice for this election Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District on those issues and many many more couldn’t be more clear, we’re very, very different. As many times as you hear people say, oh I’m not gonna vote, it’s not gonna make any difference….it makes a difference this time. And I would urge people, exercise your right to vote,” she said.
Diane Mitsch Bush also spoke with the HT about protecting rural water supplies, tackling climate change, and her decision to reject corporate campaign donations. You can hear the full interview in our podcast feed by searching for “Rio Blanco County News” in your favorite podcast app, or by going to soundcloud.com/heraldtimes1885
To learn more about upcoming zoom events with Diane Mitsch Bush, you can email email@example.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: The HT also reached out to candidate Lauren Boebert for an interview, which her campaign refused.