Our View: In need of real relief, not politics | VailDaily.com

Our View: In need of real relief, not politics

It’s not even Labor Day and you’re probably already sick of the campaign ads. According to reporting by The Denver Post, Colorado’s U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent Republican Cory Gardner against former Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to eclipse more than $100 million in ad spending alone

Those ads for both candidates that have been all but unavoidable on TV and radio since early July are only going to get louder and more frequent as we approach Election Day on Nov.  3.

As you try to cut through the noise as a voter, just remember this old saw: Actions speak louder than words.

So when Gardner says he’s bipartisan, it’s better to look at his voting record that shows he’s voted with President Trump 89% of the time, according to Nate Silver’s nonpartisan FiveThirtyEight website

Or when Gardner claims he backed forgivable loans so small businesses and their employees could get the help they needed to survive COVID-19 closures, don’t forget that he tweeted, in May, that it would be “unfathomable” for the U.S. Senate to recess before the Memorial Day break without delivering on another federal stimulus package. Now it’s almost Labor Day and Congress is still locked in gridlock because the Republican-led Senate refuses to budge after the House passed a $3 trillion aid bill back on May 15.

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It has been more than a month since unemployed locals who were surviving on the $600 weekly checks authorized by Congress under the CARES Act saw that program expire.

Eagle County residents need federal help, and they need it now. In July, our county had the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.4%, according to data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Yet when he was here a week ago to sit on a panel at the Freedom Conference and Festival at Beaver Creek, Gardner didn’t have to answer to any of those out-of-work locals who have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, he found a favorable, largely mask-free indoor crowd who listened to him crack jokes and talk about progress on a vaccine.

Also, don’t buy the greenwashing that Gardner’s campaign has done to make him look like a champion of public lands.

Gardner hasn’t gotten behind the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act that passed the House last fall, despite its broad bipartisan support.

The act would preserve roughly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation and conservation areas in the White River National Forest along the Continental Divide and would also designate the land around Camp Hale near Leadville as a first National Historic Landscape.

Camp Hale, of course, is sacred ground to Eagle County residents, given that some of the 10th Mountain Division troops who trained there came back from World War II to found America’s great ski resorts, including Vail.

The CORE Act has the support of every county it directly impacts. But instead of living up to his bipartisan pledge, Gardner and his campaign instead commissioned an ad, titled “Both Parties,” that gives the impression his environmental work has the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

But the truth? Both speakers in the ad, according to reporting by the Denver Post, are registered Republicans and the woman, who is cited as an environmental advocate, founded a group five months ago that has no history of environmental work. 

Look, this isn’t an endorsement editorial. We’ll start in on those next week. This is a plea to Sen. Gardner to do his job. Hickenlooper, who was in Avon on Wednesday, certainly has his faults as a candidate as well, but right now he can only make campaign promises based on his record as a two-term governor. 

Gardner actually has the ability to deliver Coloradans the relief they need when it comes to another stimulus package in the Senate. He has the ability to push for hearings on the CORE Act. He has the ability to break from his party to stand up for issues that matter to his constituents. 

Instead, he’d rather you have you believe what’s being said in his campaign ads and campaign at supporter-friendly events instead of answering for his actions.

He’s still got eight more weeks to do the important work Coloradans need him to do in the Senate to find solutions to serious problems.

If he wants to keep his job, we suggest he get busy.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Digital Engagement Editor Sean Naylor, Business Editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Advertising Director Holli Snyder.

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