KSJD News, Scott Tipton, October 26, 2016

Station: KSJD, 90.5fm, 91.5fm, 91.1fm, 89.5fm (Western Slope)

Show:     KSJD News (interview with Austin Cope)

Guests:  Tipton

Link:      http://ksjd.org/#stream/0


Date:      October 26, 2016


Click Here for Audio

HOST AUSTIN COPE:  Joining me is Representative Scott Tipton.  He’s incumbent to Colorado’s Third Congressional District.  That is, of course, the U.S. House.  In the past, he has served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010.  He’s had a business in Cortez for 30 years.  He currently travels between D.C. and this district, and he is on the line with me now.  Representative Tipton, thanks for joining us this morning.


COPE:  So, I want to talk first about the 2016 presidential election.  Actually, a lot of listeners might be saying at this point, it is pretty crazy.  Has this presidential election cycle changed the way you have run your campaign?

TIPTON:  You know, we’ve been focused on jobs and the economy.  We come back to our district every weekend. And as I traveled our main streets, visited with our folks, they’re worried about the future.  They’re worried about being able to pay for their health insurance, frankly.  And we’re seeing a lot of challenges in our local communities, and those are the issues that people are bringing up to us.  And what we’re focusing on through our legislation in the House of Representatives, to be able to create those private-sector job opportunities and to be able to address the concerns of our district.

COPE:  So, it sounds like you’re focused less on the campaign and more about issues that might be – that might be on voters’ minds.

TIPTON:  You know, our job [is] to do the best we can, to be able to represent the values, the interests of our district in Washington. And we’ve actually had some – we’ve had success.  I’ve been able to get eleven bills through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.  Over the term[s] I’ve had in Congress, we’ve been able to get four pieces of legislation that have become law, in what’s been labeled as really one of the most divisive Congresses in history.

COPE:  Sure.

TIPTON:  We’ve actually been able to have some good success in terms of addressing what’s important in our district:  protecting our water, protecting our public lands, protecting our forests, and being able to get the power back to our local communities and our state, and individuals, as well.

COPE:  Sure.  So, let’s talk about one of those issues, there.  You and Gail Schwartz have disagreed some over public lands management.  Gail Schwartz has said that you want to transfer public lands management to the states.  But you have that denied that claim.  How, specifically, do you view the role of the federal government in public lands management?

TIPTON:  You know, it’s, uh – what we’ve been big putting forward in legislation  — and I’m glad you brought this up, because what she says is untrue, and that’s really unfortunate on her part. No legislation that she can point to that I’ve tried to sell public lands.  In fact, we’ve been putting forward legislation to make sure that our people have access to the public lands.  I put forward the Hermosa Creek bill – [an area which is] just north of Durango – to be able to create opportunites. not only for wilderness but to be able to make sure that we have access to those public lands for snowmobilers, for hunters, for anglers.  Those are the issues that I think are important to our district.  We’re continuing to make sure that we are going to have that access, and multiple use on the public lands, as well, to doing responsible energy development, to being able to put in a bike trail.  Those are all elements that we’ve been working on, and will continue  to advocate for.  Unfortunately, my opponent has stated an untruth, and I think it’s important for people to know that we’ve stood up for this district.  I grew up here.

COPE:  Sure.

TIPTON:  I have hunted and fished in our mountains my entire life.  And [it is] something that we all value and we want to make sure that we do protect, but we also want to make sure we have access to those lands.

COPE:  Sure.  So, speaking of energy development and bike trails, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) recently moved forward the Master Leasing Plan for southwestern Colorado.  What’s your stance on that?

TIPTON:  You know, we’re hearing a lot of complaints that they aren’t listening to the communities;  that they’ve closed off some of the comment period, and haven’t taken [them] into consideration.  And that’s why we’re advocating, with the BLM.  This is an appointment that was made by the President that is advocating for their position.  We think that it’s important that our communities are actually heard, as well — from all segments, to make sure that we’re going to be able to get win-wins, rather than win-lose.  As we well know here in Montezuma Valley, we’ve got an employment problem.  We have people that are struggling to be able to pay the bills, to be able to pay for the Affordable Care Act, which has been anything but affordable.  And so, we’re trying to address those issues to make sure that the bureaucracy is actually listening to the people.  That’s the purpose of the comment periods, but they need to actually hear those voices, as well.  And we’re looking for balance in terms of that approach, rather than picking winners and losers.

COPE:  Sure, so let’s talk about an issue you mentioned:  states – um, people’s opportunity to represent themselves.  Here’s an issue that is unrelated to the public lands, but it might put that in context, here.  Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 but it remains illegal at the federal level. Here in Cortez, we have quite a few marijuana dispensaries, and a lot of people here see that as economic benefit and jobs.  But there’s also a lot of people who say that it’s causing more problems than benefits.  So, my question is, how do you plan to represent a state at the federal level that has marijuana — recreational marijuana — legalized at the state level?

TIPTON:  Well, the people of the state of Colorado made the decision and you respect that vote.  What we’ve been doing on the Financial Services Committee is, uh, there’s a lot of banking issues which we’ve heard from people in the industry not being able to bank at the banks. I would like to be able to create those opportunities because you get the flow of money –.  If somebody has a marijuana dispensary – recreational or medicinal –and they have another business, those funds meld together and they may close down the bank account. We’ve looked for some options, but the administration — President Obama’s administration — just declined to reclassify marijuana, in terms of a controlled substance.  So, it has created somewhat of a challenge

COPE:  Sure it’s currently still a schedule I substance, so it’s pretty highly illegal.

TIPTON:  It is.  And, you know, that was a choice that was made administratively by the President.  I think a lot of states — in terms of conversation — have a counterpart out of Colorado who we both serve on the same committee, Ed Perlmutter. Uh, you know, we have brought forward the issue, in terms of banking, to be able to create some of that access.  The feedback that we’ve received from Democrats and Republicans, frankly, from other states where it’s not legal, is looking at the Colorado model that in terms of their priority list, they are not advocating for legislation to be able to bring it on the floor of the House or on the Senate, that we are aware of, to be able to address it.  And again, this was an administrative decision made by the President’s people.

COPE:  Sure.  Okay.  So, the final question here:  If you’re reelected to the U.S. House you’re going to cover the largest district in Colorado.  That means you are going to represent areas ranging from places like, you know, ski towns like Aspen or Telluride, to places that are more rural and farming communities like Dove Creek or Cortez.   Being from Cortez yourself, how can you represent such differences in ideology from places, say, like Telluride or Aspen?

TIPTON:  You know, a lot of this is actual outreach. We’ve probably held more town hall meetings than the rest of our Congressional delegation.  I am back in district every weekend.  And while I may not be able to get Cortez, you know, I’m going to be up in Steamboat. I’ve been over to Aspen. I’ve been int0 Telluride.  I’ve been in to Grand Junction, in to Craig, in to Maybelle –some communities that a lot of people probably haven’t heard of, but we know them in our district.  Uh, to be able to hear their values and their interests,  –.  Well, as an example, one bill that we’ve been able to pass with bipartisan support through the House are important for our ski areas, for protecting our water rights act, to where administratively they were trying to make the ski areas sign over their water rights to the federal government if they wanted to be able to get the permit to operate a ski area.  We’ve been able to get that through the House of Representatives. The common ground that we have in regards to forest health —  my Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Act, again, passed that through the House with bipartisan support to be able to get back to our communities, our county commissioners, our Governor to identify areas of imminent threat.  Guess what!  We also have an opportunity to be to create jobs.  We have a mill now, that’s operating up in Montrose.  We can create healthy forests.  We can create jobs and be able to protect our watersheds, as well.  Those are the win-wins–

COPE:  Sure.

TIPTON:  –that we continue to reach out to.  And it’s important.  And that’s why we spend so much time on the road, uh, making sure that we’re back every week in our district to be able to hear the concerns of our folks –

COPE:  Uh-huh.

TIPTON:  –to be able to create that good balance.

COPE:  Yeah.  Great!  This is Representative Scott Tipton.  He is incumbent to Colorado’s Third Congressional District, and he is up for reelection this year.  Congressman Tipton, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

TIPTON:  Austin, [it’s] really a pleasure to be with you.

COPE:  Take care!

TIPTON:  Thanks!