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Democratic candidates Pace, McLachlan visit Pagosa

The goal: Colorado’s Third Congressional seat.

The competitors: incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and state rep, Democrat Sal Pace.

Pace knows it’s an uphill battle, but just because something is tough, for Sal Pace, that isn’t reason enough to give up.

“There are too many people in Washington pushing their own narrow ideologies over and above serving the constituents of their districts,” Pace said Saturday afternoon. Pace stopped by Chato’s Mexican Restaurant to speak with a group of around 15 interested, possible constituents.

Pace said that right now the poll numbers look positive. Last quarter, Pace’s campaign raised $30,000 more than Tipton. However, according to figures, Tipton has a total of $510,384, while Pace only has $341,430 in bank. Pace, though, clarified that, unlike his opponent Tipton, none of his campaign money comes from Super PACs.

Pace went on to tell the audience that now is not the time to be focusing on personal ideologies.

“So many are hurting in this economy,” Pace said. “It’s a universal experience,” and Pace is no exception. His dad’s sister lost nearly everything paying off medical bills.

“This is not how the American dream is supposed to go,” Pace said. If a person works hard, Pace continued, and sacrifices, that person should be able to make it in today’s economy. However, he said, that is no longer the case.

Pace’s answer: bipartisan, practical solutions.

Pace does not shy away from speaking of his own track record in Colorado. In Pueblo, where he lives with his wife and three young children, a park sat next to a river with the signs warning people not to step in the river. Pace said he helped pass a bipartisan bill that cleaned up the river and made upstream polluter Colorado Springs pay for the cleanup.

More than that, four out of the five of his last bills passed, were done by working with Republicans.

“That is how you get things done,” Pace said. “These are practical approaches to solve real problems.”

Among the issues that Pace said he will take with him to Washington are the economy, jobs, renewable energy, putting the capital back in the market, small businesses and expanding infrastructure in rural communities, such as broadband capacity and aviation.

Also at Chato’s was Democratic candidate for State House District 59 Mike McLachlan.

Both Pace and McLachlan answered a question concerning what they thought and planned to do about the problem of diminishing benefits for and poor treatment of U.S. veterans.

“It’s an embarrassment to our country the way we treat our veterans,” Pace said. His solution to the problem, while not a vetted strategic plan, consisted in long-term planning and looking at the big picture.

McLachlan, however, had a more personal view. Being a veteran of the Vietnam War, he agreed that veterans have been treated poorly and have been overlooked.

“I want the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) and veterans to have voices,” McLachlan said. One thing he would like to see: more veterans as judges and in elected offices.

Both Democrat candidates have a long road to the Nov. 6 election, so until that date, the campaigning will go on.

“Isn’t it more profitable of me to be holding public forums with my constituents instead of spending my time fund-raising?” Pace said, referring to his Republican opponent Tipton.

lindsey@pagosasun.com

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