GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX/KFQX)- This Election Day, Western Colorado voters will elect a woman for the first time in history to represent them in Congress. The race is between democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and republican Lauren Boebert.
Diane Mitsch Bush is a former Routt County Commissioner and state representative from Steamboat Springs. She lost by about 8 percentage points to Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2018 midterms. She touts a strong bi-partisan record while working as state representative, and says working across the aisle is what the country needs right now.
“I want to unite us, and I want to use my skills that I honed as a county commissioner and as a state representative in bridging those divides and working across the aisle,” Mitsch Bush said in an interview with KREX 5/Fox 4’s Adrian Thomas.
The counties where Mitsch Bush needs to make up the most ground to win are arguably Mesa and Pueblo counties, both counties have over 230,000 registered voters combined according to 2018 Midterm Election data. In 2018 Tipton handily won Mesa County, a historically republican area, but in Pueblo, Tipton only won by just over 1,000 votes. Mitsch Bush feels her chances in a swing county like Pueblo are looking good this year.
“In Pueblo, a key constituency is unions and union members,” she said. “And I’ve been endorsed by every union: ranging from the AFL-CIO, to the steel workers.”
Senator Leroy Garcia, a democrat who represents Pueblo and presides over Colorado’s State Senate, reinforces Mitsch Bush’s experience as what is needed in Congress right now.
“Diane Mitsch Bush, I had the honor of serving with her in the legislature when we both served in the (State) House,” Garcia said. “I’ll tell you, she’s going to represent the 3rd Congressional District the way it should be represented based on values and the things that are important to Coloradans.”
When it comes to energy jobs republicans up and down the ballot in Colorado are claiming democrats’ environmental policies will lead to the end of good paying energy jobs, Mitsch Bush says this is not the case.
“The major causes of the downturn in energy jobs over the past five to eight years are not policies, they’re international trade, international prices, and import/export,” Mitsch Bush said.
What Mitsch Bush is saying can be partially supported by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which found that, while previous years actually showed an increase in U.S. crude oil exports, COVID-19 has drastically impacted U.S. crude oil exports during 2020. Mitsch Bush says she supports legislation which would incentivize new industries to come to areas hurt by a loss of energy jobs.
“The package would include low interest loans. Incentives for new businesses to relocate here,” she said. “And what I mean by new businesses are manufacturing businesses, that would use the skills that our skilled workers already have.”
Mitsch Bush says she also supports another direct stimulus payment to Americans, and more unemployment support in response to COVID-19. As far as healthcare goes, while she indicated she supported Medicare for all in 2018, she says that’s not where she stands now.
“I want to strengthen and protect the Affordable Care Act, I do not want to see it repealed” she said. Repealing the Affordable Care Act will take coverage away from over 300,000 people in this district who have pre-existing conditions.”
Mitsch Bush adds she wants to work to lower prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Mitsch Bush stands by the fact that people who have good coverage now will always get to keep it, and does not support current Medicare For All legislation because it would eliminate private insurance.
“I do not no support any of the current proposals for Medicare for All,” Mitsch Bush said. “We are in an emergency, and we need to take care of that emergency. In 2018 there was a bill that did not eliminate private insurance, that is not the case with the bills now.”
Adrian Thomas’ profile on Mitsch Bush’s opponent, Lauren Boebert, can be viewed here.