Republican candidate for Congress in Vail, Boulder district, Charlie Winn just wants to talk nuclear |

Republican candidate for Congress in Vail, Boulder district, Charlie Winn just wants to talk nuclear

77-year old is taking on incumbent representative Joe Neguse

Dr. Charlie Winn. Photo courtesy
Special to the Daily

Dr. Charlie Winn knows he doesn’t have much of a chance as a Republican looking to unseat an incumbent Democrat in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.

The last time a Republican held the district, which includes both Vail and Boulder, the year was 1974.

The run, however, does give him a platform to talk about the issue he’s most passionate about, nuclear energy, but the 77-year-old says he can’t get reporters to give him an interview, and he can’t get his opponent to give him a debate.

Winn says if the topic of nuclear energy came up in relation to an oft-discussed issue in the 2nd Congressional District — water — the conversations would sound much different.

“What if you had sufficient, cheap, energy to desalinate water?” Winn said. “If you had nuclear plants and very inexpensive, carbon-free energy, you could provide all these cities with all the water they needed without requiring that from the aquifers and the mountains and the Colorado River.”

‘They will come’

Winn moved to Colorado in 1975 after getting out of the Navy, where he attained the rank of captain and oversaw a military hospital. He says after starting off his civilian career in the field of nuclear, he became an advocate of that approach to powering cities in America.

“Russia, China and India are all going nuclear,” Winn said. “We have the technology to make safe nuclear reactors, we’re very far ahead of them on the technology, but because we’ve closed down our research in the area to some degree, it’s going to allow the other side to come up with plants.”

Originally from California, Winn has seen how population growth can affect an area, and says population growth is inevitable in Colorado, as well. Balancing the challenges that come with the growth always seems to lead him back to nuclear energy, he says.

“You can’t just say we won’t expand, we won’t let anymore people come here,” Winn said. “They will come. Ask California about that, when they tried to slow down growth there.”

Wants a debate

Winn says the basic concerns of Coloradans come down to water, energy and protecting the environment, all issues that nuclear energy could have a positive impact on. He wants to reduce the country’s use of carbon energy just like his opponent, incumbent Joe Neguse, but says without nuclear, it’s a fantasy, which is why he would like to see Neguse become more of an advocate for nuclear energy.

“He says we need green energy, which is limited pretty much to solar and wind, because I can tell you, Coloradans aren’t going to take to building large hydro power plants in all our valleys,” Winn said. “Solar power requires vast tracts or land … and wind turbines can help but they’re not consistent, so we need a different source, and he has pretty much said no to nuclear, which I think is very short sighted. We have fourth generation nuclear power plants which are molten salt reactors, incredibly safe. Walk-away safe.”

Winn says even in a world where nuclear, wind and solar are seeing more use, fossil fuels will still be needed.

“Tell me what they’re going to use for energy up in Alaska, where you wouldn’t want to have a nuclear power plant, and solar might not work to heat your homes?” Winn said. “We are going to need all the tools in our tool chest.”

Winn says one of his main hopes in running is to get a chance to debate Neguse on the topic of nuclear energy.

“I don’t think he has looked into it as well as he should,” Winn said. “This is why I would love to debate him … All I ask of him is that he present his position and defend it, and ask me to present my position and defend it before the people.”

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