Salazar touts service to Colorado |

Salazar touts service to Colorado

Scott N. Miller

Ken Salazar is running on both his resume and his personal history.In an interview, Salazar often mentioned work he’s done as Colorado’s current Attorney General. He also mentioned that his family has been in Colorado for about 150 years. The family homestead is south of Alamosa, in the rolling hills east of the small town of Antonito. While Salazar lost the top position on the primary ballot to challenger Mike Miles at the state Democratic Assembly, he is leading in the polls and is widely expected to come out of the primary as his party’s candidate to replace Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who decided earlier this year not to seek a third term.Here are Salazar’s views on:Immigration: “Our current immigration law is not working,” Salazar said. “We need strong border enforcement and a crackdown on illegal human trafficking.”To do that, Salazar said the United States needs to fix its visa system, while also working with Mexican officials to improve economic stability in that country. While he’s opposed to an amnesty for current illegal workers, he the system must provide a way to get legal status for those who have lived and worked in this country for a long time.”They must have the opportunity to come out of the shadows,” Salazar said.While immigration is a hot-button issue in some areas of the country, Salazar said there’s a real lack of understanding about it at the federal level, something he hopes to change.Water: “Water is the lifeblood of Colorado,” Salazar said. While much of the responsibility for a water program should be with the state, Salazar said there’s a lot the federal government should and shouldn’t do.There should be federal funding for storage and infrastructure projects, Salazar said. But the feds need to stay out of a lot of the state’s water law.”I’m opposed to a federal reserve water right,” he said. “It creates uncertainty about water rights with those who hold existing water rights.” The proper way to ensure water levels, and therefore, environmentally healthy rivers and creeks, is through the existing state system, he said.The feds also need to “recognize and support” existing river compacts, Salazar said. “I don’t want to re-open them, as some people suggest,” he said.Transportation: While short on specifics, Salazar said weekend bottlenecks on Interstate 70 are a major problem for mountain communities. “We need to move forward to address those problems,” he said.Salazar said the state must take immediate action on projects including widening the I-70 tunnels just east of Idaho Springs. Salazar said he’s a strong supporter of air service into the state’s rural communities, including Eagle County. “I’ve expressed concern in the past about rural air service,” Salazar said. “There are places in Colorado where there are significant holes.”Scott Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613 or at ===============================Ken Salazar (D)Current Office: Colorado Attorney GeneralFirst Elected: 1998Last Elected: 11/05/2002Next Election: 2006Office Seeking: U.S. SenatorFamily: Married, two childrenBirthdate: March 2, 1955Birthplace: AlamosaEducation: JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1981BA, political science, Colorado College, 1977Professional Experience: Chief legal counsel to the governorFarmerNatural resources lawyerSmall business ownerPolitical Experience: Attorney general, state of Colorado, 1998-presentExecutive director, Department of Natural Resources.Organizations: President’s Council, American Farmland Trust Board of Trustees, Colorado College.Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees: Colorado Water Conservation Board Chair, Conference of Western Attorneys GeneralChair, Great Outdoors Colorado Trust FundNational Association of Attorneys GeneralChair, Peace Officers Standards and Training BoardChair, Rio Grande Compact Commission.==============================

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