Candidate Schaffer decries runaway federal spending
Every child born has a $30,000 share in the escalating national debt – that’s the cost of the federal government continually spending money it doesn’t have, said U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer.
Schaffer, a Republican and former Congressmen, brought his campaign to Vail Saturday with a stop at the Eagle County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
“My 4-year-old daughter will be saddled with that all her working life,” Schaffer told local Republicans. The father of five children added that – with interest – the bill the current Congress is handing our children could be about 10 times that. “It imperils our own children.”
Schaffer was part of the Republican revolution that swept into Congress led by Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America. Schaffer said he was part of the team that balanced the federal budget four years ahead of schedule and helped author the Balanced Budget Amendment, the bill – which didn’t pass – that would require the federal government to balance its budget every year.
He also helped author the Bush-inspired tax cuts pushed through Congress and cautioned that those tax cuts are scheduled to end in 2010. The leading Democrat in the Senate race – Colorado’s attorney general – may not extend those tax cuts, Schaffer said.
“Ken Salazar wants those tax increases to come back,” said Schaffer.
Schaffer served three terms in the House of Representatives. He said he’s proud of his voting record as a fiscal conservative and invited everyone to check it. He left Congress voluntarily, in keeping with a pledge he made to his family and his supporters while campaigning for his first term. He said he loved serving in the House, but felt that his pledge to his family was as important.
“How could I continue to expect my children would respect my parental authority if I went back on my word?” he told the crowd.
Cracking open Coors
Schaffer took a direct shot at Republican Senate candidate Pete Coors. The two will face off in the August primary to determine who will face Salazar for the senate seat being vacated by Republican Ben Nighthorse-Campbell.
“Now, people are trying to buy their way to the Senate,” said Schaffer, referring to the multi-millionaire beer brewer who jumped into the senate race a few weeks ago.
Schaffer said buying the vote doesn’t work, a lesson he learned from a failed 1994 run as part of a ticket for Colorado’s governor and lieutenant governor.
“When people try to buy their way into political office, what message are we sending about our values, what are we telling young people?” asked Schaffer. “We’re telling them that the right genetics and big checkbooks are the only qualifications you need.”
Speaking to Eagle County Republicans prior to Schaffer, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ted Halaby rejected the notion that a primary would be bad for the party’s chances in November. Halaby said that as long as the primary stays positive, it will help raise the profile of the Republican candidate.
“Republican control of the Senate could hinge on this Colorado senate race,” said Halaby. “I’m convinced it will invigorate the party base, generate public interest and media interest.”
Schaffer served three, two-year terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, having first been elected to Congress in November 1996. He represented Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, succeeding senators Wayne Allard and Hank Brown. During his first campaign, Schaffer signed a pledge to only serve three terms and retired at the end of the 107th Congress in 2003.
During his time in congress, Schaffer introduced the ultimately unsuccessful Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution to require a balanced federal budget every year he served in Congress. He said his senate campaign is based on broad-based tax relief, protecting Social Security and Medicare, improving education and making government smaller, more efficient and more accountable.
Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Schaffer served nine years as a Colorado state senator. He was 25-years-old when first sworn in, the youngest to serve in Colorado’s Senate.
Schaffer is the son of retired teachers. He worked his way through college as a farm hand, receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and an honorary doctorate in management from Colorado Technical University. He is a second degree black belt in Tae KwonLazt La Do and lives in Fort Collins with his wife, Maureen, and their five children.