Udall announces reelection bid in the High Country | VailDaily.com

Udall announces reelection bid in the High Country

Reid Williams

Mark Udall, seeking re-election to the U.S. Congress in a newly defined district, visited the High Country Tuesday to rally support for the upcoming November election.To those gathered at the Blue Spruce in Frisco, the Boulder Democrat emphasized his goal of creating a more sensible energy policy for the country, one that would eliminate dependence on petroleum and develop alternatives.3Oil is a magnet for conflict, Udall said. 3We ought to be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy<you look at the solar and wind resources here in Colorado and it just makes sense. We can create jobs and protect the environment at the same time.Congressional redistricting spurred by the 2000 Census was approved by the Supreme Court in February, moving Eagle and Summit counties from Colorado1s 3rd Congressional District to the 2nd. Until the election in November, Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, will represent Eagle and Summit voters. Udall says he hopes to succeed McInnis for a third term in Congress.If elected, Udall will represent Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Grand, Eagle and parts of Jefferson and Adams counties, in addition to Summit. Udall was first elected to the Second Congressional District in 1998, and was re-elected in 2000. He sits on the House Resources Committee, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands, the Subcommittee on Forests and Forests Health, the House Science Committee, the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics and the House Small Business Committee.Udall answered a number of other questions from the local press:Q<Local officials were disappointed when congressional redistricting lumped them in with Front Range communities. What consolation can you offer them?A<3I understand, but this district is the best in the country. My intent is to get here, to listen, learn and bridge that divide. I have a record of collaboration, even with Republicans. For me, it1s about bringing people together. I think if you look, (Summit County and the Front Range) have more in common than you might think. Concerns about transportation, education and growth are just a few.Q<About 75 percent of contributions from policital action committees to your campaign come from labor unions, which are not heavily represented here in Summit County. Can voters here expect fair representation?A<3What I really am is a very supportive of working people. Unions have done good things for working people<pension protection, maintaining a 40-hour work week and health benefits. But bottom line, I support the positions of the voters I represent.(Note: The following questions were answered by members of Udall1s staff.)Q<What can you do at the federal level to help communities deal with the impacts of growth?A<3The bully pulpit isn1t the smart approach. It1s not a good idea for a congressman to go around telling local officials what they ought to do. What Rep. Udall can do is help with the issues related to growth: legislation on affordable housing; traffic; health care; and education.Q<Future conflicts between water-hungry communities like Boulder and the Western Slope communities that have their water diverted there are likely. Would Rep. Udall support proposed diversions in the future?A<3There aren1t any planned that we know of, and no.Q<Rep. McInnis sponsored many bills seeking wilderness area designation for land in this district. Will Rep. Udall continue those efforts.A<3Everbody would probably agree that we want to protect what we have in Colorado. Rep. Udall worked for three years on a plan to get the James Peak Wilderness Area (in Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Grand counties). Building a consensus was important there. Not everybody got what they wanted, but the area was protected.

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