The Sopris Sun recently caught up with each of the three candidates vying to run on the Democratic Party’s ticket in November’s election to replace Congresswoman Lauren Boebert as Colorado’s Third Congressional District (CD3) representative to the federal government.
During the primary election, June 28, voters will elect a candidate to represent each party. Catch our interviews with Don Coram, the Republican challenging Congresswoman Boebert, in next week’s issue. Voters unaffiliated with any party will have the option of voting in either primary.
Each candidate answered the following prompts:
- Tell us what in your background leads to your becoming a candidate.
- Elaborate on two or three of those experiences.
- How long have you lived in the Third Congressional District?
- Congress is divided and gets little accomplished. What could you do about this?
- What are your top three governmental goals?
- I love Colorado. It’s where I was raised, where I came out and I want to give back to our incredible state. I’m a mechanical engineer who knows how to fix things and, right now, CD3 has a representation problem in Congress that needs fixing.
Lauren Boebert is a terrible representative who needs to go. She’s done nothing to improve the local economy, has never passed a single piece of legislation and pits people against each other using racism and homophobia, all while ignoring the real needs of her constituents. I lost a brother to mental health struggles in large part because Washington is utterly incapable of delivering basic dignities, like health care, to its constituents.
It’s time for a new generation of leadership with vision and grit. It’s time for Democrats to play by the new rules of the game instead of sobbing over the old rulebook. The time for polite decorum is over. The fight for civil rights is now.
- Coming out taught me about the power of acceptance and treating people with dignity and respect, which is part of why I’m running — to ensure everyone’s voice is heard regardless of their background. Boebert emboldens the hate of a vocal minority in our communities, and we need to stand up and take away her bully pulpit.
Being a mechanical engineer in the private sector taught me the value of finding solutions to difficult challenges. My hope is to take that experience and work hard to fix the problems facing our district, including a struggling economy.
- My family moved to the Western Slope when I was 20, after the death of my older brother, who struggled with many of the same mental health challenges confronting CD3’s youth today. Adolescent suicide has skyrocketed in our district over the past 10 years. We can, and must, help them. Access to quality health care can save lives. But only if we focus on issues and electing a candidate who can win this seat, not a dotted line that changes every few years.
- I’m ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to get things done. I’m a Democrat, but growing up in a conservative household taught me the value of listening and forging relationships with people. My personal politics are not relevant; the job of a representative is to represent. I have spent months crafting policy based on feedback from constituents on both sides of the aisle.
That said, I will never compromise my values. We have to fight back against extremist MAGA lunatics like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene who don’t want to accomplish anything except throw grenades and get nothing done. I’m ready to get to work.
- We need to get Colorado’s economy back on track. That means making Colorado a clean energy powerhouse that offers good-paying jobs to hardworking people. I’m also in favor of a billionaires tax to ensure they’re paying their fair share and not letting middle class Coloradans foot the bill for everything. And we need to stop predatory lending practices that are leaving so many families in debt. Investing in clean jobs will provide higher paychecks for our families, a future-focused Colorado economy and a cleaner and cooler planet for future generations.
We must build on the Affordable Care Act to ensure families have greater access to the health care they need. With 40% of Americans unable to afford medicine, it’s time to rein in the pharmaceutical industry and stop the unnecessary price gouging that forces people to choose between buying groceries or taking their medicine. And, of course, codify access to abortion so women don’t lose control over their own bodies.
Finally, it is every single American’s right to vote, and I will fight to ensure that right is never taken away. We need to make voting easier and more accessible and we have to fight back against the MAGA desire to stop people from voting, change the rules and steal elections. If Democrats do not stop the GOP’s master plan to rob disenfranchised communities of the right to vote, we will never win another election again.
Photo by Will Sardinsky
- Watching our current Congresswoman bring nothing but embarrasment and antics to Colorado’s representation over the last year and a half, I felt compelled to run. Last fall, I spoke to a wide variety of people who know the district well. It became clear that no current Democratic candidate was electable in our district in the general election; no one that was running would be able to beat Boebert.
We need experienced, serious leadership if we are to make our lives better. I bring a unique combination of a rural background, a proven track record of success in business — both internationally and as a small, local business owner — as well as governing experience. With my experience on Aspen City Council, I am the only Democratic candidate with the actual know-how to pass legislation directly affecting the people of our district, including affordable housing, renewable energy, protecting water rights and expanding childcare access.
We need to be represented by a considerate and thoughtful person who listens to others, someone who shares our values and can build the needed coalition of Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents. I understand what it means to compromise and to get along with others in order to accomplish great things together, and I will put my experience to work for our district. I intend to bring honor and respect to the office and position of congressman and return dignity to CD3.
- I will be proud to bring my rural background and experiences to Washington, D.C. to work for the people of CD3. My first five years as a child were spent on Ft. Peck Indian Reservation in Northeastern Montana when my father worked for U.S. Public Health Service, caring for patients in underserved communities. I learned at a young age the need for rural health care access, as well as the consequences when it is not a priority.
My extended family are fourth generation owners/operators of a grain elevator and feed store in Esko, Minnesota, that my great-grandfather started after immigrating to the U.S. in the late 1800s. Working there during high school provided great insight for me into the daily challenges facing farming and ranching communities.
My dad grew up in a mining town on the Iron Range of Minnesota, working part time at the small grocery store his father and his brothers started after immigrating from Europe. My family has seen first-hand the challenges rural communities face when industries evolve, and the effect it has on individual families and their community. I see parallels with the challenges facing our district and intend to bring my experiences to Congress for the benefit of our district.
Another experience I will bring to Congress is my work on affordable housing with Aspen City Council. We used to think affordable housing conversations were only relevant in resort communities in our district. However, inflation in housing costs has affected communities across our district.
- I graduated from the University of Colorado in 1990 and moved to the Western Slope in 2002. I moved to CD3 in 2003 with my wife, Katy, and we’ve been here for 19 years, choosing to raise our family here, the best district on Earth.
- Since day one of my campaign, I have said that when I am elected to Congress, I will join the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans, which is committed to finding common ground on many of the key issues facing the nation. Any major legislation passed will most likely go through this bipartisan group, which brought the country the much-needed infrastructure bill, and that is working on legislation to support better access to rural health care (MOBILE Health Care Act).
While there are many loudmouths in Congress focused on cable news appearances and feeding the “Anger-tainment Industry,” I will join the majority of serious legislators who actually want to get laws passed on behalf of their constituents. For me, this is a job, not an audition to host a cable news show with lots of yelling and screaming.
- My top three goals are:
(1.) To work with other rural member of Congress, regardless of party, to pass legislation that directly benefits our rural district;
(2.) Bring inflation under control, with a specific focus on housing and drug prices, as well as better access to health care in rural communities like ours;
(3.) Protect a woman’s right to choose and protect a woman’s access to health care by getting politicians and judges out of the decision process that should be solely between them and their health care provider.
- As a member of the working class, as someone who grew up in poverty, I know that we need someone in Congress who is going to vote to improve our lives. We need someone who has been personally impacted by the issues of everyday people.
I know that, for so many of us, going to the ER is a luxury because we can’t afford to get sick. I know that people are drowning in student debt — with me. I’m running because we need working moms, we need single parents, we need individuals who are struggling and who know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a voice.
I’ve been a public servant for 20 years. I’ve had the opportunity to be the eyes and ears of my community, working at the Pueblo County Department of Social Services, working with congregations as a faith-based community organizer, lobbying for paid family leave education and health care.
- One of the experiences that really motivated me to run and that has really stayed with me is a time when I served a veteran who was using a walker at a food distribution site in Pueblo. It hurt my heart knowing that he fought for my freedom, and I want to fight for him in Congress.
Another experience that I feel is important is that I know much too well the importance of unions. As the daughter of lifelong union members, I saw our life improve once my parents were hired as janitors who had the support of a union. We were finally able to access health care, my parents could take a paid sick day when they were sick, or when my brother and I were sick. My mom is now in her 70s and she’s still out marching for better wages. I want people to be able to retire with dignity.
I’m a non-traditional candidate. Redistricting included many historically Latino communities in the San Luis Valley; hablo español and I can engage Latino voters who may not have voted in the last election.
- I’ve lived in this district for 20 years. I have watched young people pack their bags and move away because of lack of opportunities. And during my very first visit to San Luis, I met a rancher who was sharing with me that he was having to watch his son move away because of lack of opportunities. I understood then how important it was for me to travel the district so that I could learn more about the issues that are impacting everyday people.
I recently met with the residents of the West Side mobile home park in Durango. That’s what it’s going to take, for us to meet people where they’re at. They need to know that someone is listening, cares and is paying attention. I intend to reach out to parts of the district that have felt ignored and left behind for some time.
- My strategy is going to be to work with, not against ,other members of the Colorado delegation to get things done. I’m going to focus on whether a bill or a policy proposal actually helps the people of CD3, not whether it has a D or an R next to it. For example, we can increase the use of telemedicine to make health care more available for rural communities. I really like Senator Bennett’s Medicare-X proposal to create a public option by expanding Medicare eligibility to underserved areas, which would be a big help for rural parts of Colorado.
I can better leverage federal dollars in education like Title 1 programs, for example, to help our hurting rural schools and school districts. I will be fighting for our veterans; that should absolutely be a bipartisan issue.
- My priorities are education, health care and more opportunities for rural and working class Coloradans. Too many people in this district are struggling financially right now. We need to create more job opportunities through apprenticeships, trade schools and job training for people who are already working but are looking for better jobs. By investing in workforce development, apprenticeship training and growing industries like health care, technology and renewable energy, we can open the door to career advancement and better opportunities for Colorado families and businesses.
The current representative doesn’t know how to do the job and, frankly, hasn’t delivered much for the district. And so the people in this district feel left out, left behind, and they deserve someone like me who will listen to them and do the work instead of picking fights on the internet.