Michael Bowman: Udall represents rural Colorado | VailDaily.com

Michael Bowman: Udall represents rural Colorado

Michael Bowman

You know we’re in the bullseye of the political silly season when a candidate is being attacked for his zip code.

Dick Wadhams, the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, is making an issue of Congressman Mark Udall’s home address as if that alone represents Udall’s ability to adequately represent the needs of the entire state of Colorado.

Wadhams is out of touch with the needs of a 21st-century rural Colorado. His tactic is a disservice not only to those of us in rural Colorado, but to the political party he serves. As a life-long Republican and fifth-generation Coloradan, I find it offensive that he assumes this tactic useful, as if we in rural Colorado are unable to filter the noise that comes from his office and identify who is or is not our ally as we transition to a new and very challenging world, one shaped by forces beyond our farmgate.

While rural Colorado struggles with meeting water compacts, out-migration of our youth, local budgets stretched to their limits and seemingly few rural economic development opportunities, there has been one man, Congressman Mark Udall, who has been a committed champion of our rural causes. Udall has reached across party lines and found bipartisan support for practical, pragmatic solutions to our problems.

In 2004, he co-chaired the nation’s first citizen-initiated renewable portfolio standard, Amendment 37, with Republican Speaker of the House Lola Spradley; he later reached out to Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave for the first bipartisan letter of support for our local school wind turbine project in Wray. Last year, the congressman championed the causes of the National Ag Energy Work Group “25x’25” in forming a core team of four individuals ” two from each side of the aisle ” to bring to life House Concurrent Resolution 25, which became part of the 2007 Energy Act signed into law by President Bush this past December.

The congressman also has championed a national renewable electric standard, which would bring substantial development and opportunity to rural Colorado: from the windswept prairies of eastern Colorado to the solar drenched San Luis Valley; from our mountain community’s biomass resources to our many small hydro opportunities. Colorado is blessed with vast, renewable resources and thanks to the congressman’s vision we can implement these opportunities at a local level.

It’s an easy case to make that the foundation for today’s new energy economy started with the vision of Congressman Mark Udall and the Amendment 37 campaign ” and that rural Colorado is benefitting tremendously from the congressman’s pragmatic approach to solutions.

There has never been a more critical time in rural Colorado for bold, thoughtful leadership; Congressman Udall has proven himself time and time again that he is up to the job of serving rural interests ” and we welcome zip code 80303 to our community.

Michael Bowman is a fifth-generation Coloradan from Wray and serves on the National Steering Committee for “25x’25”, an alliance represented by more 700 organizations seeking to reshape this nation’s energy policy.

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