During this campaign for Congress, I’ve been crystal clear about my support for keeping public lands in public hands. Also, we’ve let people know that public lands are under attack, as members of Congress, including my opponent Scott Tipton, are supporting bills that would transfer ownership or management of federal public lands to other entities. It’s important to understand that cash-strapped state and local governments often can’t afford the cost of land management, making selling or leasing the land to private individuals or companies for development a possible outcome.
This isn’t what the public wants or deserves. The Center for Western Priorities has done research as part of its “Winning the West” campaign, and it found huge support for keeping public lands open to the public. In Colorado, 93% of those surveyed also said public lands are a big part of the state’s economy. The numbers bear this out, as Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Economy generates about $35 billion annually in economic impact, supporting 350,000 jobs.
For some great testimonials, watch the following short videos to see why people throughout the West want wise, balanced management of public lands, not privatization and loss of public access:
Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director of the Center for Western Priorities, said “Any candidate seeking voter support in the West should be ready to answer how they will work to improve public access for outdoor recreation, how they will preserve and enhance funding for land conservation and how they will work to protect public lands for future generations.”
Well, I’m ready. In Congress, I will do everything in my power to make sure the people have access to the lands they’ve paid for, instead of handing control over to special interests for short-term profit.