Candidacy: 3rd District U.S. Congress, Democrat
Education: B.A., Political Science, Fort Lewis College; M.A., American Political Theory, Louisiana State University
Occupation: Adjunct Professor, Colorado State University – Pueblo
Family: Wife and three children; lives in Pueblo
Prior Government Experience: Currently Colorado House Minority Leader, HD 46; elected first in 2008, re-elected 2010
Representative Sal Pace said he is running for the 3rd District seat “because I watched how Congress is operating now: the fighting and rhetorical partisanship, the 10-second sound bites, and I couldn’t help but think that we could do better. The rest of us deserve a voice. I think we need to work together and solve problems.” Pace pointed out that he led a bipartisan effort in the Colorado legislature that developed and passed an education budget, while avoiding the biggest spending cuts, winning support 64-1.
On the most pressing issues facing the 3rd District, which wraps from Pueblo and Trinidad in the east across southern and western Colorado to Rangely and Steamboat Springs in the north, Pace said, “Jobs, certainly. Jobs and the economy are certainly important. There is a lot that people agree on that we could be doing. Infrastructure could be improved. We could be supporting small business issues, like access to broadband. But they are not being done because Washington is more concerned with scoring political points.
“There are public lands issues that are important, too. The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, for instance. The proposal has broad bipartisan support, but Congress won’t listen to the local communities who developed the plan, which would protect watersheds, provide jobs and tourism and a legacy for future generations.” It was a model process, Pace said, a grassroots effort “done right, collaboratively,” involving stakeholders from across the board, including ranchers, miners, water users and recreationists. Pace pointed out that both Colorado senators Udall and Bennet are sponsors of the Wilderness Bill, but that “without the support of the 3rd District Congressman, it can’t pass.”
Incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton has refused to endorse the plan.
Regarding the natural gas boom in northern and western Colorado, Pace said, “There is a place for drilling, and mining. We have natural resources that are going to be developed. But we have to find a balanced approach. It’s about mutual respect. Respect for the air, the water, the local economies.”
Pace emphasized that the biggest challenge for a legislator going to Washington from Colorado is “all the vitriol and the infighting. We need to break through that. I have a record in the [state] legislature of doing that.
“In four years as minority leader in the House, I have a good record of working with folks on the other side of the aisle. During the most recent session, despite having a target on my back, four of five of my bills passed and were signed by the governor.”
Asked why he should win in November, Pace said, “Because people want a voice again in Washington. I know what people are going through, because we’re going through it, too. I live in a small house in Pueblo, two bedrooms with three kids. People are struggling. They’re having a hard time putting anything away at the end of the month to save. I am still an instructor at Colorado State University – Pueblo.
“Just not this semester,” while he’s running for Congress.