Scott Tipton town hall meeting covers deficit, jobs, regulations
March 12, 2012
This is an election year and all U.S. House of Representatives seats are up for reelection.
The House recessed Friday, and Republican Rep. Scott Tipton is taking the time off to tour his Third Congressional District.
But unlike fellow legislators who represent more populated districts in the eastern portions of the country, Tipton has a lot of ground to cover before the House reconvenes.
The Third Congressional District of Colorado is the eighth largest in the country. It encompasses 53,963 square miles and all or portions of 29 of Colorado's 64 counties, including Moffat County.
Before returning to Washington, D.C., Tipton will have hosted 16 town hall meetings taking him from Walden to Grand Junction, south to Durango and east to Pueblo.
"Congress is on recess and I don't know about you, but I went to grade school and I know what recess is all about," Tipton joked. "This is what we're doing on our recess. This is what we have done on our recesses."
On Saturday, Tipton visited with more than 50 Craig and Moffat County residents at American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.
It was his second of four town hall meetings of the day, which began in Meeker and continued on to Maybell before ending in Rangely.
The purpose of the meeting was to give local residents an opportunity to express concerns with Congressional action taking place in Washington, D.C.
Among the topics of conversation were a variety of national issues including the ballooning federal deficit, economy, jobs, health care, and energy industry regulations.
Tipton touched on energy briefly before fielding questions from the audience.
His bill, House Resolution 2842, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2012, passed through the House on March 7 with bipartisan support.
"This is a jobs act, a clean energy act, but I also happen to like coal, too," Tipton said. "It has to be an all-of-the-above energy policy, but we have an administration that wants to shut down the coal industry and over regulate oil and natural gas."
Frank Moe, owner of Best Western Deer Park Inn and Suites, touched on the trend of over regulation and the importance of the energy industry in Craig when he asked Tipton to sign an American Hotel and Lodging Association letter opposing proposed amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act that would require every hotel in the country to install permanent electric lifts at its pools and hot tubs.
Moe said he already owns a portable lift to accommodate his guests and that installing a permanent one would cost $10,000.
"Energy is one of our biggest employers and we've been in business for 17 years," Moe said. "Last year was the first time we had to lay people off and it hurt bad.
"This may not be a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, but it's just another example of over regulation on tired, hardworking people."
Craig resident John Husband addressed the recent parole to Craig of a sexually violent predator.
Because the offender was initially charged and incarcerated in California, he asked the Congressman if anything could be done at the federal level to prohibit violent offenders from being relocated from one area to another.
"This gets into state's rights," Tipton said. "If we have a sexually violent predator moving from state to state the public ought to be made aware of that because this is scary stuff people are dealing with."
Craig City Council member Ray Beck posed the last questions of the hour-long discussion. He asked Tipton what it would take to get the federal government to eliminate its regulations on everything from business to air quality and how he feels about a state bill to reject unfunded mandates that may trickle down from the federal level.
"I'm all in favor of supporting a bill against unfunded mandates," Tipton said. "And I don't think this can be overstated that rules and regulations are not coming from Congress through bills, but from regulatory bodies."
Tipton said rules and regulations carry the same weight as law, and even though not introduced in Congress, it would require a bill to undo rules that go "final."
"Who gave bureaucracy that kind of authority?" Tipton said.
Following the meeting, Craig resident Sharon Pletcher said she was pleased with the Congressman's presentation.
"He's a realist and a reasonable businessman," Pletcher said. "That's where he comes from. He's not an aristocrat. He's approachable and I think he possesses the qualities that embody what we call a representative."