Former political RINO concerned with direction of CD-3, country under Boebert’s direction
Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and Vail Daily will be running stories highlighting Democrat and Republican voters in our communities.
Described as a former political RINO (Republican in name only), Steve Martinson, a retired Moffat County School District art teacher and avid outdoorsman, is very concerned with the leadership in place representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Previously, Martinson was a registered Republican, serving as that political RINO in Moffat County in hopes of having his voice heard in local elections. After years of trying to make some sort of impact in a heavily conservative community, Martinson made the switch to the Democrat Party full-time a few years ago.
“I just didn’t want to do it any longer,” Martinson said. “Pretty much, I’ve been a lifelong Democrat-leaning person for 30 years here in Moffat County.”
Seeing today’s political landscape, Martinson is worried about the direction the country is headed, and is worried about how CD-3 is being represented by Rep. Boebert, who has no prior political experience.
“We’re in a very, very polarized time politically,” Martinson said. “I have my doubts about her being able to work across the aisle. She has such polarizing views, and so being able to compromise and work together, I think she’s going to have an uphill battle.
“I’m certainly not on board with her agenda, but I know that it’s going to be very hard for her to accomplish much. I am concerned with her having no experience whatsoever, and her learning curve is going to be so steep going forward.”
Despite being concerned about the direction the country — and the 3rd Congressional District — appears to be headed, Martinson said he’s not surprised, considering what Boebert’s base seems to support.
Martinson was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio leading up to last year’s primary election between then-Rep. Scott Tipton and Boebert, a Rifle native. In that interview, Martinson said he expected Boebert to win and then win the CD-3 seat outright in November due to her ability to grab headlines and play to her far-right leaning base.
So far, that’s what’s happened with Boebert, who Martinson said hasn’t achieved much of anything in her first six months.
“She hasn’t accomplished much,” Martinson said. “Yes, she’s gained some headlines, and I suspect there’s quite a bit of her base that likes to hear the things she’s saying, but as far as making meaningful legislation moving forward, I don’t anticipate that at all.”
Though he believes that Boebert hasn’t accomplished much in her first six months in office, Martinson does feel that the fiery, headline-grabbing congresswoman is representing CD-3 the way her voters would want her to.
“You know, it’s pockets that I think she represents very well,” Martinson said. “I feel like much of the Western Slope believes she speaks for them, but ski town communities especially are very much on the other side of that. There’s a big divide there. Area-wise though, she does speak for a lot of CD-3.
“She won the vote, so there’s more people that believe in what she’s saying than don’t.”
Now that Boebert has some experience in office, Martinson says it’s time for her to start listening to all the constituents in her district moving forward, not just the ones that support her and prop her up.
In recent months that’s been an issue with Boebert, especially on the Western Slope where she’s kept town hall meetings quiet and tried to meet with just Republican groups.
“I’d like to see that, but I’m not very hopeful to see that,” Martinson said. “She’s right of right in that sense, she’s so far in that direction, that I don’t see her being able to move toward the middle and listen to many views as much.
“Here in Craig, though, I wish she’d investigate a little more what we’re facing in our future,” Martinson added. “The technology is changing and moving away from coal, and our former president didn’t stop that from happening in this community.”
Arguably the biggest concern with Boebert, though, is her social media usage and the image she portrays. Though Martinson does not follow Boebert on Twitter, he sees the things she tweets and the arguments she involves herself in, which is a massive change from traditional representation of elected officials.
“Traditionally, we would expect more from our representatives,” Martinson said. “More restraint, a little bit less of amplifying the noise. But this seems to be the society that we’re living in now. I am hopeful we can get back to more common dialogue. I do think social media has been a big part in driving this totally partisan politics that we’re in. It’s immediate, it’s quick, it’s fed by algorithms that tell you want to hear.
“It’s a dangerous trend as a whole,” Martinson said. “… In some ways, I think she’s a product of the age. … It’s a dangerous time for all of us; I hope we can turn it around.”
Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or email@example.com.