Salazar visits Steamboat |

Salazar visits Steamboat

State representative announces candidacy to town

Christine Metz

State Rep. John Salazar stopped in Steamboat on Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the Third Congressional District.

In front of two-dozen residents and a few dogs, Salazar, a Democrat from Manassa, stood on the steps of the Routt County Courthouse and said that if elected, he would fight to keep agriculture viable and help develop new industries to spur responsible economic growth.

“I am a moderate Democrat,” Salazar said. “I work across the board. I will do my best to make sure that Steamboat Springs remains viable.”

Salazar is the older brother of Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and is running for the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, in 2004.

Steamboat is one of six stops the first-term state representative will make this week as he announces his candidacy. Steamboat was on the list of stops, Salazar said, partly because it is very representative of what can be done in economic development.

“It is a tourism-based economy. We try to protect those kind of things,” Salazar said.

Salazar talked about his battle this fall to defeat Referendum A, which would have authorized the state to sell $2 billion in bonds for water projects.

That opposition brought the Western Slope together, Salazar said, which the Front Range outnumbered 2-to-1.

“Standing side by side, we sent a very clear message that our most precious commodity, the water that nourishes our farms and families, must be managed responsibly,” he said.

In the state’s struggle over water, Salazar said he promoted protecting basins of origin, mitigation, pushing conservation in urban areas and keeping in-stream flow rights.

Longtime resident John Fetcher introduced Salazar, who said Fetcher’s son, Jay, is almost like a brother to him.

“He has had a productive term in the state Legislature and is well qualified for the elected position he seeks,” John Fetcher said.

On the national level, Salazar said his concerns include the economy, the needs of the elderly and drug prescription prices.

Salazar, who served in the U.S. Army and has a son on active duty at Fort Carson, also has worries about the Iraq war.

“I have some concerns on how we are going to get out of Iraq. It is a very deep concern because my son is endangered, as well,” Salazar said.

A fifth-generation Coloradan, Salazar is a barley and potato farmer and rancher in the San Luis Valley.

“I am the real thing: the farmer, the rancher. We live it,” Salazar said

Salazar also will visit Pueblo, Alamosa, Durango and Grand Junction this week.

Salazar will oppose one other Democrat, Anthony Martinez. For the Republicans, State Reps. Greg Rippy of Glenwood Springs and Matt Smith of Grand Junction, Delina DiSanto of Durango and state Sen. Ken Chlouber of Leadville all have announced interest in the seat.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail

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