Senate candidate likes all kinds of energy |

Senate candidate likes all kinds of energy

Ruth Moon
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyRepublican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer explains how he plans to lower gas prices as he stands next to a prop that accuses his opponent, Democrat Mark Udall, of wanting to increase gas taxes.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer is running on energy, and he wants Eagle County to know it.

Schaffer met with a group of about 25 Eagle County residents Monday to pitch his campaign and answer questions.

“Message No. 1 is I’m low energy, running against a high-energy guy,” Schaffer said, referring to his opponent, Democratic candidate Mark Udall. Schaffer said he supports oil drilling, renewable energy ” energy generated from natural resources like sun and wind ” and other sources like geothermal energy and oil shale.

Udall is also an advocate of renewable energy, according to his Web site.

Energy will be a huge issue across the board in this election, Schaffer said. He’s even noticed it affecting discussions in his role as vice chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education.

“Usually, this time of year, you hear from school administrators who are raising a bunch of administrative issues about getting the school year started again and kids coming back in the fall,” he said. “This year, I hear from administrators about one thing ” that is, we don’t know how we’re going to pay for the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel to fill up our buses to get kids to classrooms.”

The attendees covered the gamut in their questions, ranging from oil drilling to tourism to mass transportation along I-70 to immigration.

There is no quick fix to the immigration question, Schaffer said.

“I think the solution is more likely going to be incremental improvements,” he said. “If you accept that it’s taken maybe 30 years for us to get (from) a point of manageable immigration to one now that’s an embarrassment, it’s probably going to take at least a couple of decades to get us to where we need to be long term.”

On the topic of an I-70 transit solution, Schaffer was wary of supporting a specific plan, saying details should come from the state, not U.S. government.

“I’ve heard lots of interesting solutions. All of them are extraordinarily expensive, but I’m not scared of an extraordinarily expensive solution if the state can agree on it,” he said. “If you’re looking for ‘yeah I want a light rail, that’s what I want,’ I think anybody running for office who tells you they’ve got the answer is nuts.”

During the course of the event, Schaffer garnered applause for sticking to his promise to limit his previous term in the U.S. House to six years. He served from 1996 to 2003.

Schaffer, a Colorado native, has served in the Colorado state legislature and several state committees, and currently serves on the Colorado State Board of Education. His opponent, Udall, is currently serving as Eagle County’s U.S. congressman.

The event was funded by Colorado Republicans to give locals a chance to meet with the candidate, said Jennifer Biehn, Eagle County Republicans events committee co-chair. It is one of several visits Schaffer has made to Eagle County.

“It’s an important county for the standpoint of the outcome of the U.S. Senate race,” he said. “I come here to ask for votes, which is the difference between me and Udall.”

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