Lauren Boerbert, courtesy photo

The final Club 20 debate on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Grand Junction, was between the Third Congressional District’s Republican incumbent, Lauren Boebert, and Democrat challenger Adam Frisch.

Boebert’s opening remarks weighed heavily on criticizing Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House. “Nancy Pelosi is running a con-game in Washington, D.C. and we are all paying the price for it,” Boebert began. “I didn’t go to Washington, D.C. to join their club. I went there to stop socialism, stop liberal extremism and help fire Nancy Pelosi.”

Frisch started by commending Club 20 as a “bedrock for a strong and prosperous Western Slope.” He went on to thank Boebert for participating, albeit with a helping of sarcasm. “I also want to thank Representative Boebert for showing up tonight, without the limitation of only being able to turn in pre-recorded answers per videotape as you demanded in 2020,” he said.

“I’m Adam Frisch, I’m not Nancy Pelosi. I’m Adam Frisch, I’m not Nancy Pelosi,” he repeated several times throughout the debate, while leaning on the fact that none of Boebert’s 39 bills have made it through congress.

Panelist Andrew Olson of Chevron, asked the first question: “If elected to the U.S. House, what will you do to address the Colorado River crisis and ensure this resource is available for generations to come?”

“Often I’m asked what my top three issues are, and I say, ‘water, water, water,’” began Boebert. She noted the 22-year drought and claimed to be “working to secure funds for water storage and delivery projects,” giving the example of the Wolf Creek Reservoir in Rio Blanco, stating, “This is something that is very beneficial to our district.”

Among other accomplishments, Boebert credited herself for leading the charge to stop Renewable Water Resources’ proposed project to channel water from the San Luis Valley to the Front Range.

Frisch then issued his response, stating, in part, “Prior appropriations needs to remain the bedrock of the Colorado state water law, and making sure that we protect the water rights of everyone who’s had them way before the law of 1922.” He went on to ask viewers who they’d want to see advocating for water retention in CD3. “Denver is after our water and so is California and Nevada, and again, I will ask you, who do you want sitting in those halls of Congress negotiating against what’s probably going to be 52 members of the California delegation.”

He criticized Boebert for being one of nine congress members who voted against the STREAM Act (Safeguarding Treatment for the Restoration of Ecosystems from Abandoned Mines), “which helped prevent acid tailings from polluting our water,” Frisch explained.

Boebert used her 60-second rebuttal to claim that the STREAM Act was another ploy by Pelosi to “grab more money,” and added, “This is why we need single subject legislation in Congress.” 

When asked about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Bill, Frisch was quick to call out Boebert for voting against it while also touting specific elements of the bill in a flier circulating the district. He also noted the bill’s intent to expand broadband and assured he would make sure those dollars made it to the Western Slope.

Boebert acknowledged that she did not vote for the Infrastructure Bill, because it was part of the “con game,” claiming that only 9% of the funding goes to “anything infrastructure related.” She said that she offered an alternative infrastructure bill for $650 billion, 100% of which would go toward infrastructure. “No Democrats wanted to do that; they wanted to sign onto Nancy Pelosi’s con-game,” she said.

To Frisch’s point, the congresswoman stated, “And, you better believe that when I’m fighting for appropriations requests … if they get passed into legislation, I’m going to brag about that because I worked hard to make sure those arrived in our district for you, but I’m not playing Nancy’s con-game to do it.”

During his rebuttal, Frisch said that he would be hired and fired by the people of the district, and furthermore that he would not support Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

Other questions covered aspects of climate change, including forest management and Biden’s goal for 100% clean energy by 2035. From there, the two went into a contentious cross examination, interrupting and firing off slights against the other.

To view the entirety of the debate, visit the Club 20 Facebook page.

Adam Frisch, courtesy photo