U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton Archives - Colorado Politics
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Kara MasonKara MasonNovember 29, 20173min1810

The spirit of two Colorado mountaineers is a little closer to living on in the form of mountains, with this week’s House passage of H.R. 2768.

CD3 U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner are working to pass a bill through Congress that would name two peaks on the border of San Miguel and Dolores Counties after Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff. Both died in 2006 during an avalanche on Genyen Peak in Tibet.

“Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff were celebrated mountaineers, but they were also known for their tireless advocacy for human rights, dedication to philanthropy, and stewardship of the environment,” Tipton said in a statement. “Through the designation of these peaks, their legacy and life’s work will live on for generations to come.”

The two peaks, located in Uncompahgre National Forest, are just more than 13,000 feet and will be called “Fowler Peak” and “Boskoff Peak,” respectively.

The duo were longtime residents of San Miguel County, according to the bill. But they loved mountaineering and traveled the world for it. Each had summited the world’s tallest mountains, including Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Fowler was an author, guide and filmmaker, according to the bill. Boskoff was one of the country’s top female alpinists.

Both were also known as advocates. They supported rights of porters and Sherpas, women’s education, gender equality and global literacy.

“The two are remembered not only as internationally acclaimed climbers, but also as mentors to school students and troubled youth,” said San Miguel County Commissioner Joan May in a statement in May. “Naming these peaks for them would serve as a perpetual reminder of the couple’s contributions to climbing, youth, and protecting the outdoors.”

With the passage of the bill, all documents, maps and records will refer to the two peaks by their new names.


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Scott TiptonScott TiptonNovember 10, 20175min2150

This Saturday is an important one for our nation. It is a day to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Since the founding of our nation, brave men and women have answered the call to serve during times of peace, and during times of great need. They put their lives on hold, often missing birthdays and anniversaries with their loves ones, in order to defend the many liberties that we as Americans hold dear. Without their bravery, we would not be the land of the free and the world would be a less stable one. 


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Kara MasonKara MasonSeptember 27, 20173min4800

In places across Colorado that have been hit hard by the opioid crisis there are few resources, especially for those who’ve served in the military and find themselves with a substance-abuse problem. This week the state learned it’ll get nearly $400,000 for veteran drug courts.

The Department of Justice grant is being awarded to the Colorado Judicial Department, which has just a handful of courts aimed at veterans with trauma spectrum disorders. That can range from PTSD to substance abuse or other mental health challenges.

Pueblo, among the worst for opioid addiction in the state, and El Paso County, with a heavy military presence, each have a veteran treatment court. And Denver’s drug court has a veteran’s track. Even so, resources for veterans with substance abuse problems can be limited.

“Over the past year-and-a-half, I have traveled across the 3rd Congressional District and heard the stories of families and individuals who have been impacted by the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation. All of these stories are heartbreaking, but especially heartbreaking are the stories about veterans who return home and feel they have no other option but to seek comfort in drugs or alcohol,” said 3rd Congressional U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in a statement, after learning of the grant award to Colorado.

Tipton’s district includes places such as Pueblo, where the veteran population nears 15,000 people in Pueblo County and has been highlighted as a hotspot for opioid addiction.

“Drug courts are an important path to recovery for many of these men and women, and I’m glad that Colorado has been awarded this funding to support and enhance the drug court program,” he said.

Veteran treatment courts received nearly half of the grant money the Justice Department awarded for opioid crisis-related programs across the nation, but they also further the department’s priority of “reducing crime by holding offenders accountable for their actions, and reducing victimization by intervening soon after arrest to prevent future crime.”

The DOJ awarded a total of $22.3 million to 53 jurisdictions for veteran drug courts, which the department describes as “‘one-stop-shops’ to link veterans with services, benefits and program providers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Service Organizations and volunteer veteran mentors.”

Nearly one-fifth of veterans across the country have a substance abuse disorder, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it’s estimated one-third of veterans seeking help for substance abuse have PTSD.


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Scott TiptonScott TiptonSeptember 21, 20176min3050

Every year, in preparation for tax day, Americans spend 6 billion hours trying to navigate the internal revenue code and federal tax regulations (now up to 10 million words). The compliance bill has now reached $409 billion. The last time Americans experienced major tax reform was in 1986, under President Reagan. In the past few decades, the tax code has grown to a size that is unmanageable and overly complicated. In the House, we’re working to deliver a tax reform plan that will deliver relief and results for all Americans.


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Scott TiptonScott TiptonSeptember 12, 20178min2904

Over the month of August, my team and I traveled over 1,700 miles across the 3rd Congressional District and state of Colorado, making over 30 stops to discuss the most pressing issues facing our nation. I had the privilege of visiting with local economic development leaders, county commissioners, school boards, health care providers, veterans groups, substance abuse professionals and many others — including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. He visited the Gold King Mine site on the two-year anniversary of the toxic spill to reassure the community that the EPA is prioritizing cleanup of the site and will make those impacted by the spill whole.

There are a few themes that I heard throughout the month no matter where I was, and it is clear that jobs and the economy, health care, and the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic are top of mind for many Coloradans.

In Colorado, we have a tale of two economies. While resort towns and major metropolitan areas are thriving, there are many communities on the Western Slope, Front Range, and in the San Luis Valley where families are struggling. The legacy of heavy-handed federal regulations is still preventing the private sector in these communities from creating jobs and supporting economic security.

According to the Small Business Administration’s 2016 statistics, small businesses support 49 percent of Colorado’s workforce. Small businesses are truly the backbone of our state’s economy, and we must do everything we can to support entrepreneurs and job creators. Unfortunately, a 2014 study by the Brookings Institute showed an alarming trend: in recent years, the number of small businesses that have shut down exceeds the number that have opened their doors. Nowhere has this trend been felt more profoundly than in rural America, where small businesses are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all jobs.

As a former small business owner, my focus in Congress has been on advancing policies that will create an environment where we see more businesses opening than closing each year. When more businesses open, struggling families have more job opportunities and a better chance at achieving financial stability.

While it takes time to undo nearly a decade of harmful regulatory policies, we are making progress on this front in the 115th Congress. So far this year, Congress passed and the president has signed 14 congressional resolutions of disapproval that roll back unnecessary, overly burdensome federal regulations, and the House passed the REINS Act (H.R. 26), which would require Congressional approval of any regulation that would have an economic impact of $100 million or more. Although we still have a long way to go, I am confident that we are heading in the right direction to deliver more job opportunities and economic stability to families in the 3rd Congressional District.

The Colorado Division of Insurance recently announced that premiums in the state’s individual health insurance market will increase by 26.7 percent on average in 2018. This is on top of the 20 percent increase in 2017 and 24 percent increase in 2016. The trajectory is unsustainable and unacceptable. We must repeal and replace the so-called Affordable Act and bring affordable health insurance to the 3rd Congressional District.

In May, the House made important progress towards this goal by passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill would drive down the cost of health insurance and bring competition and choice to the market, while ensuring that individuals who have pre-existing conditions maintain access to affordable health insurance. In addition to the AHCA, the House also passed bills to begin medical tort reform — an issue that needs to be addressed in order to drive down health care costs — and allow small businesses and associations to provide insurance options for their employees or members across state lines, which will give individuals and families more choices when it comes to their insurance coverage. These bills were the Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215), Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 1101), and the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 372).

The Senate has not yet passed the AHCA or a health care bill of its own that would allow both chambers to compromise on final legislation. It is beyond time for the Senate to act.

As I have traveled our district to speak with the men and women who work on the front lines of the opioid abuse epidemic, it has become clear to me that Colorado has some of the most dedicated doctors, nurses, counselors, and substance abuse professionals in the country. The president recently declared the opioid abuse epidemic a national emergency, and I have been committed to ensuring our communities have the resources they need to develop and sustain prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

In 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) were both signed into law. These bills authorized programs to provide states with more resources to expand opioid abuse prevention and treatment efforts. As a result of these bills, Colorado received $7.8 million to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services, and the Department of Health and Human Services has made $75.9 million in competitive grants available to state mental health and substance abuse agencies.

I continue to receive feedback on how the federal government can better support Colorado’s efforts to fight the opioid abuse epidemic, and I’m committed to incorporating this feedback into policy decisions that are made in Washington.

Congress has a full agenda between now and the end of the year. If you have any questions about bills that are up for a vote or my work on your behalf, please do not hesitate to give my office in Washington, DC, a call at 202-225-4761. You can also write to me on my website, www.tipton.house.gov.


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Scott TiptonScott TiptonJuly 4, 20173min940
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

For 241 years, Americans have demonstrated their passion for living in a country founded on protecting “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” by celebrating Independence Day. This tradition is a celebration of the actions our founding fathers took when they declared that our new nation would be independent from the tyrannical crown of England. Since then, the United States has overcome periods of adversity and made remarkable contributions to the rest of world, all in an effort to preserve our way of life.

On the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge shared the significance of Independence Day. In his speech he stated, “It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound.”

Ninety one years later, Coolidge’s timeless quote continues to serve as a reminder that since our founding, our nation has remained committed to its core principles. While technological and societal advances continue to push the boundaries of our achievements, the one thing that remains unaltered is our nation’s commitment to uphold the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

As we share this holiday with our friends and families, it is important to also remember the ones who have made sacrifices for our freedom. Just as our founding fathers relied on citizens to draw arms against the British forces in order to win our independence, we ask men and women to engage in selfless service to this country.

As terrorist groups continue to perpetrate evil acts around the world, many uniformed service-members are deployed overseas and are unable to be with their loved ones right now. It is because of these brave men and women that we are able to celebrate Independence Day out of harm’s way.

I am thankful every day to have the privilege of living in the United States. From my family to yours: Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 27, 20174min820

Remember last month when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington sent out a mass-email blasting 6th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman over the U.S. House’s version of the GOP health care plan? Standard fare for groups like the DCCC, we figured at the time — except, the missive implied Coffman had voted for the legislation when he was one of 20 Republicans in the House to break ranks with his party and vote against it.

We’d wondered if some DCCC staffer simply erred in compiling the list — the group no doubt had sent out similar screeds to the districts of numerous other House Republicans — but a spokeswoman chimed in after reading our first take and assured us, “This was no mistake. Her words.

As it turned out, it actually was just a cynical and deceptive tactic. Our words.

Looks like the DCCC is at it again. This time, they’re going after Coffman as well as Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton. Via Denver 9News’s resident political junkie (and crackerjack journalist) Brandon Rittiman:

Having been down this road before, we won’t be so naive as to suppose they were just cutting corners to save time by using substantially the same wording in the two diatribes — one regarding a Republican congressman who had voted for the much-debated GOP health plan, and the other regarding his colleague and Colorado compatriot who had voted against it. Both saddle their respective targets with responsibility for the GOP legislation; only a lawyerly reading would deduce one of the two had voted “no.”

Whether Coffman’s vote was a calculated sidestep — y’know, winked at with a kitchen pass from the House leadership so that the five-term survivor could tell his swing-voting district he had stood up to his own party — is a worthy issue. It’s also pretty much standard procedure in both parties for members in hotly contested districts.

Whether, at this point, the DCCC’s slash-and-burn e-blasts are even worth the digital bytes they’re written on — given their fast and loose wordplay — is also a worthy issue. Of course, that is pretty much standard fare for both parties, as well.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 21, 20173min844


So, maybe all us Coloradans at last can stop our worrying, OK?

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office even provided a video clip of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirming for Gardner in a committee hearing Tuesday what Gov. John Hickenlooper had concluded earlier this year: that Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Southwest Colorado isn’t going to lose its designation.

President Trump directed the Interior Department in late April to begin reviewing designations of national monuments created since 1996 that are greater than 100,000 acres. Trump has challenged what he maintains was an “egregious abuse of power” by the Obama administration in designating some of the monuments. Ancients, however, was designated by the Clinton administration in 2000.

Western Republicans like Colorado’s junior U.S. senator from Yuma seem to have been saddled with the responsibility for assuring the public that our treasured natural wonders aren’t in peril in the era of Donald Trump. After all, he is their party’s standard bearer, and his push to revisit a host of environmental and public lands policies of the Obama administration — while generally cheered on by the GOP — has left some Republicans like Gardner in a ticklish position. They have to walk the line between their broad support for the administration’s initiatives and their need to stand up for the likes of parks and monuments, treasured by Coloradans of every political stripe.

A press release from Gardner’s office Tuesday makes that clear:

Gardner has been a strong advocate for protecting Colorado’s public lands, and recently received the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award. In May, Gardner and Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3) sent a letter to Secretary Zinke requesting “any review of Canyons should conclude that no changes to the designation are necessary.”

Democrats have very publicly wrung their hands over the administration’s policy pronouncements on public lands and other environmental issues, knowing it’s ultimately up to the Republicans to dispel fears. Of course, the Dems have been eating it up. (“Hey, don’t blame us. He’s your president!”)


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 1, 20175min560
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn speaks prior to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the Trump-Pence rally at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs Aug. 3, 2016. (Photo by Michael McGrady/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn speaks prior to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the Trump-Pence rally at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs Aug. 3, 2016. (Photo by Michael McGrady/The Colorado Statesman)

 

If they couldn’t fight over water, would longtime rivals Pueblo and Colorado Springs find something else to fight over? Of course! But for now, the ongoing feud over Fountain Creek will do.

The contaminated stormwater that perennially pours into the waterway from the Springs metro area and flows downstream to Pueblo and beyond prompted a lawsuit against Colorado Springs in 2016 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The agencies cited violations of water-quality standards. Pueblo joined the suit even as the two cities started talks and reached an agreement. Colorado Springs agreed to spend $460 million over 20 years on stormwater projects to rein in its runoff. Toward that end, Springs voters agreed in April to give up $12 million in excess tax revenue over two years to spend on stormwater projects.

So, should the state and feds now drop their lawsuit? 5th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs thinks so, as reported last week, and he has asked the Trump administration’s new EPA chief Scott Pruitt to reconsider the litigation. Lamborn’s hope is that the winds of change blowing through the federal agency could shift its tilt on a suit that had been filed under the Obama administration.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers not surprisingly is hoping the same thing and told The Colorado Springs Gazette last Saturday he welcomed Lamborn’s efforts.

Whatever comes of Lamborn’s overture, at least one Pueblo County commissioner isn’t taking it sitting down. And even Lamborn’s fellow Colorado Republican House member, Scott Tipton, whose neighboring 3rd Congressional District includes Pueblo, is expressing misgivings.

A hat tip to Colorado Pols for pointing out the Pueblo Chieftain’s coverage this week of the ensuing dust-up. The Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports:

Pueblo County Commission Chairman Terry Hart said Lamborn has played no role in the years of negotiations between Colorado Springs and county officials over stormwater controls, adding: “He should stay the heck out of it.”

While Lamborn seems to think the agreement between the two cities moots the suit, Hart believes the lawsuit made it possible — and will cement the gain in place:

“The threat of that lawsuit was critically important in our reaching an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs,” Hart said Tuesday. “We joined that lawsuit to protect our interests and right now, Colorado Springs is doing a good job of honoring its commitment. But the lawsuit would nail down the agreement to withstand the political winds that blow back and forth.”

Tipton appeared more circumspect about the foray by his GOP House colleague, but a statement from his office quoted by Roper leaves no doubt the congressman from Cortez isn’t on Lamborn’s side:

“While Congressman Tipton has been encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Mayor (John) Suthers to solve this long-standing problem, the lawsuit was filed by both the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a reason,” a spokesman said.

It’s anyone’s guess where it all will lead with a West Slope water watchdog like Tipton in on the standoff — and taking Pueblo’s side. Yet another illustration of how Colorado’s water wars can cut cross party lines.