Shaffer: Congress is not getting the job done
October 13, 2012
Brandon Shaffer said his experience as a Naval officer is exactly what Congress needs in Washington, D.C.
Shaffer, a Democrat who is president of the Colorado State Senate, served in the Navy for four years. He said there are things he learned in the military that would benefit the 4th Congressional District. Shaffer's Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, is completing his freshman term in Congress.
"There are fewer veterans today in Congress since World War II, and there are things you learn in the service and how to accomplish them and how to get the job done," Shaffer said. "Today's Congress is managing our country from one manufactured crisis to another. Whether it was the debt-limit debacle of last summer, the failure to pass a balanced budget this year or the failure to pass a farm bill which expired last weekend (Sept. 30), they're not getting the job done. I'm running for Congress in order to work in a bipartisan way to balance budgets and create jobs and get the job done."
As far as the failure to pass a renewed farm bill, Shaffer said voters should look at it from the perspective of the farmers who need to plan ahead on what type of crops they're going to plant next season.
"It's one thing to have to deal with the unpredictability of the weather, but you shouldn't have to deal with the unpredictability of Congress, as well," Shaffer said. "On the farm bill, there was a procedure in the House of Representatives to force a vote on the farm bill and it's called 'a petition to discharge' the bill. If you get the majority of the representatives to sign the petition to discharge a bill from a committee, you can force a vote on that bill in the committee in order to discharge it out to bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives. It's important to note that Rep. Gardner refused to sign that petition to discharge. People need to know that he's playing games with the farm bill."
Shaffer believes in training students for jobs through Colorado's community colleges.
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"You see that there is an opportunity for our community colleges to create jobs today, but also to plan for infrastructure and long-range economic development in the 4th Congressional District through investments in community colleges," he said. "One of the things that would be absolutely devastating to the 4th Congressional District's economy are the cuts that Rep. Gardner has now voted on twice to programs. At Morgan Community College, 80 percent of the students are attending based on financial-aid through the Pell Grants. The cuts of $1,000 per student that are being proposed in Washington, D.C., would be absolutely devastating both to the institution and to the opportunities that are available to students trying to go to college."
Shaffer said he wants to provide incentives for small businesses to partner with community colleges to help create a training pipeline so that students coming out of community colleges have a skill set ready to work in 21st century jobs.
Shaffer supports the wind energy production tax credit.
"I think that it is another way that we can put people back to work immediately in support of burgeoning industry in the 4th Congressional District," Shaffer said. "One of the things that is so frustrating about the debate around the wind energy tax credit in Washington, D.C., is that Rep. Gardner and others have tied the passage of the wind energy tax credit to the Keystone Pipeline, saying if you do one we'll do the other knowing that the president of the United States vetoed the Keystone Pipeline."
The $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline would transfer synthetic crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, and also in Illinois and Oklahoma.
"It's not a genuine offer to try to get the wind energy tax credit passed," Shaffer said. "Instead of embracing the wind energy tax credit and doing everything possible to get that thing through both the House and the Senate to the president's desk, they're trying to make a deal that they know has no chance of actually passing. It's just more political games that are being played with our economy and ultimately hurting people in the 4th Congressional District."