Conversation with … Will Shafroth, congressional candidate
SKY-HI DAILY NEWS
Will Shafroth says he is running for Congress “because the future’s too important to leave in the hands of politics as usual. It’s time for honest change in Washington.”
“The old style of politics ” of partisanship, special interests and money ” will not leave the world a better place for our children or their children,” he said. “For their sake ” and our own ” we must focus on solving problems, not pointing fingers. I’ve spent my entire adult life building diverse partnerships and coalitions to get things done. I want to bring that commitment and experience to Congress.”
1. What do you feel are some of the top issues that the district is battling?
As I have gone door to door across the district over the past few months, I hear loud and clear people’s concerns: We must end the occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home as quickly and safely as possible; we must fix No Child Left Behind and provide every child in America a topnotch education; we must reform our health care system and create sustainable, well-paying jobs for ourselves and our children.
2. Have you always been opposed to the war in Iraq? And what do you think needs to happen to keep the violence from spreading?
I have been opposed to the Iraq war from the beginning. The false pretenses for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq ” the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq/Al Qaida connection ” were insufficient to justify the war.
To keep the violence from spreading, we must bring together a broad coalition of nations from around the world ” especially countries in the region ” to develop and implement a long term plan for peace in the region. We need to start relying more on diplomacy and less on military force to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.
3. Are you in favor of preserving the land in Grand County?
Yes. For more than 27 years, I have helped to preserve our state and nation’s special places. I would be the first professional conservationist ever elected to Congress and I would be a champion for land preservation issues in Congress.
In my time as the first executive director of The Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO), we awarded nearly $2 million in grants to projects in Grand County.
From 2004-2007 as executive director of the Colorado Conservation Trust, I strongly supported the growth of the Middle Park Land Trust through grants and technical assistance. MPLT has grown into an outstanding organization that has preserved thousands of acres of land in Grand County.
4. As a congressman what would you do about high gas prices? How long do you believe the country will be hurting at the pump?
Addressing the high cost of gasoline requires both a short- and long-term approach to the problem. In the short term, I believe we need to suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to slightly increase the supply of oil in the nation to reduce the stress on working families. In the long run, we need to wean ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuels. This will require massive new investments in renewable energy research and development. As an added benefit, this will be an investment in our nation’s economy and infrastructure, and will create new green collar jobs.
5. How do you plan to bring more jobs to Grand County and the state?
As the effects of a stagnant economy are felt in the United States and around the world, we need to look for growth in new sectors that will not have a negative impact on our climate and environment. By continuing and increasing investment in renewable energy technologies, we can stimulate the economy while at the same time reducing our carbon emissions and our dependence on foreign oil.
6. Do you think there is a solution for proving everyone with affordable health care? How would that happen?
Yes, there is a solution. Too long, politicians in Washington have been talking about health care reform without actually helping more people get access to health insurance. I support a health care plan, similar to Senator Obama’s, that would provide every American with access to quality, affordable health care by creating a new Medicare-like health insurance plan where fees are based on ability to pay. In addition, my plan would have a greater focus on wellness and prevention. Because Senator Obama supports a similar plan, it has realistic chance of getting passed into law next year.
7. Do you think I-70 should be a toll road?
No. I support short- and long-term solutions to the I-70 corridor, like the one recently outlined by the I-70 Coalition. This includes some short-term fixes to address some of the pinch points along I-70, especially in Clear Creek County, as well as a long-term rail solution from DIA to Eagle. I would work hard in Congress to bring Colorado funding for these projects. Tolling the citizens is not the answer to our money problems. We need to find new, creative ways to come up with funding sources and I would lead that charge in Washington.
8. What ways do you stand out from other candidates and why should Grand County residents vote for you?
I haven’t crafted my life around running for office. I’m a political outsider who has spent 27 years bringing people together to solve some of Colorado’s toughest problems. I believe that to deliver real results on health care, strengthen the economy, get our hardworking troops out of Iraq and embrace a new energy economy, Washington needs a change from the promises, partisanship and empty rhetoric that has poisoned the well in Congress. I will bring that kind of change.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Political finger-pointing and partisan bickering won’t solve our most pressing problems in Grand County. I believe it’s time to send someone to Washington who will attack the tough problems we face in this country, not just attack each other. We keep sending the same type of career politicians to Congress and, not too surprisingly, we never seem to solve our most pressing problems. We need someone who will reach across the aisle and work for the benefit of the state and the country. I believe I am the best person to accomplish the kind of real, honest change we so desperately need. For more about my stance on various issues, please visit my Web site at http://www.shafrothforcongress.com
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