Sky’s the limit for Udall |

Sky’s the limit for Udall

Mark Udall has that trait that’s so unique in politicians: We trust him.

Colorado’s talented Democratic U.S. Senate candidate also seems to be that rare elected official who seems to have taken the job out of a desire to make Colorado, the United States and the world a better place.

What’s been impressive has been Udall’s grasp of a range of issues ” and his willingness to take them on as Eagle County’s U.S. representative. And though he’s painted as a “Boulder liberal,” he’s never been one of those black-and-white politicians. His opponent, former Republican representative Bob Schaffer, has been a strong proponent of business in Colorado ” particularly the oil and gas industry ” but he seems to see one-dimensional solutions to many problems.

Take energy. Udall has not opposed either off-shore drilling or energy exploration in western Colorado. But he has said neither method represents America’s energy future. Considering oil is a short-term solution ” and that Americans may always desire open spaces ” he believes America should invest whole-hog in alternative energy and save valuable wilderness areas like the Roan Plateau, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and our nation’s coastlines for future generations of outdoorsmen and women.

That’s not to say he’s all environment and anti-business. He recently sponsored a law that would clarify what ski resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek can do on the national forest land they use. The change is likely to give Vail Resorts more flexibility to develop activities on its mountains.

Udall, who also has been involving in figuring out how to reduce traffic on Interstate 70 between here and Denver, does understand people like to vacation in the mountains and that many local economies depends on remaining attractive to tourists.

On foreign policy, Udall has been an opponent of the Iraq invasion from the beginning. It shows that he has good judgment when it comes to the use of force. He also realizes how badly the war has damaged America’s credibility abroad. He understands that America ” weakened military and economically ” can no longer be an arrogant world power that places its interest above the world’s on all matters. In an interview with the Daily, Schaffer seems to think America’s credibility was pretty well intact outside of the Middle East.

Udall will push the next administration ” and the next Congress ” to give Iraq back to the Iraqis and will push our diplomats from the commander-in-chief on down to do the work necessary to make America admired again around the world.

The more prominent Udall becomes, the more likely whichever administration he has to work with will focus on what were once American priorities ” civil rights at home and abroad, education, affordable health care, innovation and a government that can take care of Hurricane victims.

Because Udall, unlike Schaffer, has a pretty solid reputation for working with other Republicans in Congress. As liberal as he’s reputed to be, he has sometimes worked with outgoing Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard, often considered one of Congress’ most conservative members. The two have worked together on forest health, oil shale and other issues.

Udall understands that to remain a strong, influential and secure nation, the United States has to fight more than just the war on radical Islam. Our children must be among the world’s brightest, our companies must be the most innovative and, in the coming decades, we must also lead on new issues like global warming and all the problems climate change will cause.

Udall has served Colorado and this nation well as a member of the House of Representatives. It would be wise to send him to the Senate, and perhaps beyond.

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