Salazar: Energy, health care and war top issues for Coloradans |

Salazar: Energy, health care and war top issues for Coloradans

Alex Miller
AP Photo/Mohammed IbrahimA US soldier plays soccer with an Iraqi boy, in Mosul, Iraq. Sen. Ken Salazar said Coloradans told him the war was one of their greatest concerns.

VAIL – Through late summer and into the fall, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar did something few people ever have reason to attempt: He visited every single one of Colorado’s 64 counties.

Salazar, a Democrat elected last November, visited Eagle County in mid-August. Then, he spoke of the recently adopted energy bill and other doings in the U.S. Capitol. After traveling all around the state, Salazar said the three biggest concerns he heard from residents are energy, health care costs and the war in Iraq.”The Coloradans I met with, from farmers and ranchers to seniors and business owners, were all concerned about skyrocketing energy costs,” Salazar said in a news release. “Their heating costs have gone up drastically, and rapidly rising fuel prices for their cars and tractors are devastating their daily lives.”In his state meetings, Salazar spoke of initiatives to increase sources of renewable energy, promote energy conservation and develop new technologies.

In response, Salazar said he has introduced five new bills to: take away incentives that unfairly promote the purchase of gas-guzzling vehicles; increase efficiency standards for auto tires; reduce government fuel consumption; immediately implement next year’s scheduled energy efficiency incentives; and establish a federal gasoline price-gouging law.As to the high cost of health care, Salazar said he heard complaints around the state. “People are paying too much for health care and prescription drugs,” he said. “There is not enough access to quality care, and across the state nearly 750,000 Coloradans do not have any health insurance.”To address the issue, Salazar said he has joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce several bills to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and to lift the ban preventing Medicare from negotiating with drug companies to get the best price on medications.

On the war, Salazar said the U.S. needs a strategy for success based on passing security responsibilities from U.S. to Iraqi troops. He also recently sent a letter to President Bush asking for more information about Iraq security forces; religious disputes in Iraq; efforts to gain greater international support; and accountability for money spent in Iraq to date.Salazar also said he’s pushing for more adequate protection for soldiers, including remote-control weapons systems.

Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or Daily, Vail, Colorado

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