This is the second installment in a series of articles explaining why I am running against Tea Party Republican Ken Buck. Read the first installment here.
For more information see BobSeayForColorado.org
I am running for Congress because there there is currently no one in Congress who represents the interests of the majority of people who live in Colorado's Fourth Congressional District (CD4). In fact, Eastern Colorado has not had a voice in Congress for most of the past 40 years.
If CD4 had a representative, he or she would vote for the passage of trade bills that promote agriculture, including the TPP, Country of Origin Label legislation, and others. He would be working to promote all of the businesses in Colorado, not just gas and oil. This Representative would recognize that contaminated ground water is useless to farmers, ranchers, and families. He would understand that small business owners need reliable Internet access, good roads, and someone who will work for intelligent, responsible regulations.
If we had a representative in Congress, then he or she would be addressing the 27% poverty rate that exists in Lamar, or the 22% of Greeley that live below the poverty line, or the 14% poverty rate in Longmont. But instead of representing these constituents, the Representative from CD4 voted to give a tax break to that 0.002% of Americans with estates of over $5.4 million. It seems unlikely that any of those Americans would live in Eastern Colorado. Our representatives have consistently voted for tax breaks for Americans who do not live in CD4 while neglecting the very real poverty issues of this part of the state.
In Crowley County, 1 in 3 adults under the age of 65 have no health insurance. In Weld County, 1 in 10 adults are uninsured. Someone who represented the people of CD4 would be working to solve this problem. Instead, our Republican representatives have consistently voted to deny health insurance for these Coloradans - and have joked about having done so.
If CD4 had a Congressman who advocated for their needs, then people would be less likely to die on Highway 287, a road with heavy truck traffic which should be an Interstate but isn't. A Congressman representing this area would fight for the economic and safety benefits of such an Interstate. If we had a Representative, our farmers would not have to whisper a prayer every time they drove a truck full of wheat across a structurally deficient bridge or road.
If CD4 had a Representative, he or she would be working to protect public schools instead of looking for ways to siphon taxpayer money away from our community schools and into private, for-profit enterprises. Rural Coloradans tend to think that this issue does not effect them because there are no physical private schools in their area. What they don't realize is that the schools in their communities are still being drained when students leave to go to online schools. Schools in Colorado lose, on average, about $6300 every time a student leaves to enroll in an online school, a charter school, or a private school. A Representative of Eastern Colorado would be working to improve our public schools, not to destroy them.
A Representative of CD4 would fight for water rights for farmers and ranchers. He would not work to kill off programs for wind and solar power - abundant resources in CD4 - but would work to promote renewable energy. He would recognize the boom and bust cycle of the oil industry and would be working for energy sources that are economically stable and environmentally safe.
Someone who represented CD4 would also represent the immigrant families who work in our fields and businesses. His attitude towards immigrants who might be undocumented would be innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. He would create ways for immigrants to come into American society. He would not create even more barriers to citizenship.
A Representative from Eastern Colorado would be sensitive to the very real concerns of a community that has witnessed mass shootings and too many gun-related deaths. Such a Representative, while respecting and honoring the Second Amendment, would also recognize that with rights come responsibilities. He would work with gun manufacturers to develop security technologies that would prevent anyone other than the gun owner from discharging his or her weapon. He would realize the need to keep people with mental illnesses and criminal records from owning a weapon. He would not distribute pictures of himself in his Washington office holding a military-grade weapon, and he especially would not do so during the very week that the jury was being selected for the Aurora Theater shootings.
Someone who represented all of the people of Eastern Colorado would not force a woman to carry the child of her rapist. He would not want to shut down facilities that provide reproductive health care services. He would recognize that decisions about contraception are best made by families, not by employers or politicians.
Eastern Colorado needs someone who will represent all of the people of this area. Not out of state donors. Not oil companies and companies that want to have a monopoly on agricultural products. And not the extremely wealthy Americans who do not even live in this district.
CD4 has been without a voice for too long.
Now is the time to speak up.
Bob Seay is running for Congress against Ken Buck. His website is at BobSeayForColorado.org.