Hot Sheet

Another vote for free trade — from the Colorado Farm Bureau

Author: Dan Njegomir - May 12, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017


One of the state’s most prominent voices for agriculture weighed in today on the side of Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — and free trade — following his vote Thursday in the U.S. Senate against Robert Lighthizer as the Trump administration’s U.S. trade representative.

The Colorado Farm Bureau, reached for comment, provided this statement from President Don Shawcroft:

“Senator Gardner has proven yet again his commitment to the success of the families that make up Colorado agriculture, our state’s second-largest industry. Agriculture’s success or failure increasingly depends on international trade, and Colorado agriculture is no different. We look forward to working with Mr. Lighthizer and Senator Gardner to ensure Colorado’s farm and ranch families find continued success in trade with our regional partners and the rest of the world.”

It not only was a show of solidarity with Gardner but also a roundabout acknowledgment that Lighthizer — a trade lawyer, Washington veteran, onetime member of the Reagan administration and vocal critic of free trade — stands squarely on the protectionist plank of the Trump platform. It’s a facet of the Republican president’s agenda that runs afoul of traditional GOP support for business and free markets; it also arguably clashes with the interests of a lot farmers and ranchers ever in search of new markets abroad.

As we noted here shortly after the vote, Gardner was one of only three Republicans to vote no because he said the nomination was bad for Colorado agriculture. Lighthizer was confirmed by Gardner’s peers from both parties 82-14.


Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.