Democrat candidate for Congress Diane Mitsch Bush discusses issues during Craig town hall
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
CRAIG — Democrat candidate for U.S. Congress Diane Mitsch Bush met with voters Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Center of Craig to discuss the issues and her positions on those issues with local voters, and she was clear in her desire to draw a distinction between herself and her Republican opponent.
Mitsch Bush is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton for the 3rd Congressional District after defeating fellow Democrats Karl Hanlon and Arn Menconi in the primary election earlier this year.
She has served in the Colorado House of Representatives for five years, representing District 26 from 2012 to 2017. She resigned from the Colorado legislature to run for the U.S. House.
Tipton is moving the country backward, Mitsch Bush said, and is failing to listen to rural Americans in Colorado. Characterizing Tipton as focused on the politics of division and tactics rooted in fear and hatred, she countered by saying she is running to bring people together and solve problems using common sense, not ideology.
Citing her time in the Colorado House, Mitsch Bush said she has proven she can work with both Democrats and Republicans to solve problems. She said about 80 percent of her proposed bills were co-sponsored by Republicans, adding she plans to apply the same bipartisan approach if elected to the U.S. House.
On the economy
Mitsch Bush said the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, signed into law by President Donald Trump in November 2017, has benefited primarily the top 1 percent of wage earners, while doing little for the remaining 99 percent.
“We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the top 1 percent,” Mitsch Bush said. “Working, middle class, and low-income Americans have been forgotten, and the system no longer works for them. We need to incentivize small business expansion, invest in 21st century infrastructure, raise the minimum wage, and support collective bargaining.”
The Trump tax cuts also created a $1.9 trillion deficit, Mitsch Bush said. She charged that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speak of the House Paul Ryan had then proposed Medicare cuts to close a deficit they had created. Medicare and Social Security are not “entitlements,” Mitsch Bush said, describing them, rather, as contracted obligations.
People pay into such programs throughout their careers, she said; they deserve to benefit from that investment.
On health care
Mitsch Bush said she supports a universal, single-payer health care system, calling affordable health care a “right.” She said that, if elected, she will do everything she can to help repair the Affordable Care Act.
She added she wants to protect the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, a federal program that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford insurance.
Turning the veterans issues, Mitsch Bush said veterans deserve the best health care system possible. Tipton, she said, has voted against veterans, most notably mentioning his opposition to studies on the use of cannabis in the treatment post-traumatic stress disorder. She said studies dating back 30 years show cannabis has had a positive effect in treating those suffering from PTSD.
“We need to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high-quality health care,” Mitsch Bush said. “Health care is a right, and we need to work toward single-payer health care. But, until we get there, we need to support and fully fund CHIP, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and our rural health clinics.”
On the environment
Mitsch Bush said she takes a firm stance regarding Colorado’s public lands: She said she is committed to keeping public lands in the public hands and pledged not to allow Washington D.C. sell Colorado land to the highest bidder. The existence of public lands has created jobs and is the most important part of Colorado’s economy, from agriculture to tourism, she said.
“Colorado, the environment is our heart and our soul, but it is also the foundation of our economy,” Mitsch Bush said. “We need to make sure we bring back evidence-based protections for our environment, protect our public lands — our air, water, and wildlife — and we need to invest in renewable energy.”
For the people
Mitsch Bush described herself as an employee of the people. She said she became an employee of the people when she was elected to the Routt County Board of County Commissioners in 2006 and carried that philosophy forward into the Colorado House. She pledged to retain that philosophy if elected to the U.S. House.
People forget that their elected representatives works for them, not for special interests groups, Mitsch Bush said, adding that elected officials need to remember who they actually work for, and the people should hold them accountable for not doing their jobs.
Contact David Tan at 970-875-1795 or dtan@CraigDailyPress.com.