Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton speaks to residents at Bud Werner Memorial Library on Thursday.

Photo by Scott Franz

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton speaks to residents at Bud Werner Memorial Library on Thursday.

U.S. Senate candidate Norton discusses candidacy in Steamboat

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Jane Norton

— Republican U.S. Senate can­­didate Jane Norton told a Steamboat Springs audience Thursday morning that Washington is out of control, with over-regulation costing the state jobs and preventing the development of natural resources.

Norton spoke to more than 30 residents during the campaign stop at Bud Werner Memorial Library. In a wide-ranging discussion, Norton addressed the economy, health care reform, the nomination of Elena Kagan for Supreme Court Justice and other issues.

What Norton made clear is her belief that the nation’s problems start with the actions of the government.

“I’m in this race because I believe the federal government is out of control,” she said. “It’s overspending, it’s overtaxing, and it’s over-regulating.”

As a result, Norton, who was Colorado’s lieutenant gov­­­­ernor from 2002 to 2006, called this an exciting year for Republicans. Although she is locked in a tight primary race with Weld County Dis­­trict Attorney Ken Buck for the Republican nomination, Norton focused her criticism exclusively on the Democratic Party. She blamed the administration of President Barack Obama for what she called out-of-control government spending and excessive regulations.

“Regulations at the state and federal level are driving jobs out of Colorado,” she said. “The regulatory environment has also made it difficult for us to use our natural resources.”

Jack Taylor, chairman of the Routt County Republican Party, introduced Norton at the event. Taylor has not endorsed a candidate.

“It’s not an easy challenge, what she’s going through,” Taylor said after calling Norton a strong candidate. “When this primary is over, we all need to get together as a party behind the Republican candidate that wins.”

Norton also discussed her background as executive director of the Colorado Depart­ment of Public Health and En­­vironment, and how that experience would help her shape legislation if elected. She promised to make health care more affordable by creating more competition in the market and repealing the health care policies of the Obama administration.

“Washington thinks that the answer lies with them,” she said. “I’m a Republican because I believe individuals can achieve more than the government can provide.”

Audience members asked Norton what she would do if she were elected senator, and voiced their concerns about issues like rising unemployment. Norton said eliminating the estate tax, cutting the corporate tax, and issuing a three-year moratorium on payroll tax payments by small businesses could help small businesses grow.

Steamboat resident Jim Schl­­­auer asked Norton whether she would vote to confirm Elena Ka­­gan, Obama’s pick to replace Sup­­reme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

“I would not,” said Norton. “I believe she will be an activist judge and her nomination is extremely troubling.”

Norton has additional campaign stops planned for Pueblo, Denver and Colorado Springs this week.

The Republican primary is Aug. 10. Routt County’s primary election is being held by mail-in ballot only.

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