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The Cortez Journal - Tipton Talks Politics

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Tipton Talks Politics

Cortez Journal - 12/23/05

Cortez Republican defines issues in campaign for 3rd Congressional District

By Steve Grazier

Cortez Republican Scott Tipton predicted it will be him facing off against Democratic Congressman John Salazar next November in a showdown for the 3rd District.

In an interview Tuesday, the GOP hopeful set aside rumors being swirled by the party's Denver-metro brass indicating possible runs by Colorado's lieutenant governor or secretary of state.

"I can't guarantee someone won't fall out of bed and decide to run," Tipton said, "but I've been to all 29 (district) counties. We're feeling good at the grass-roots level, and I believe I'll be the candidate."

For now, Tipton is the sole Republican actively campaigning to represent the party in June's primary. Former GOP nominee Greg Walcher, of Palisade, filed paperwork to run last January, but he has not been seen along the campaign trail so far.

Tipton addressed some concern among the Republican hierarchy and countered certain mentions on state political blogs — such as — that he apparently has not raised enough campaign funds to be considered a valid candidate. He said he realizes the only barometer this far out from the election is revenue, but what can't be counted, he said, is the amount of time he's spent putting nearly 30,000 miles on his vehicle since April while touring the 3rd District.

"You can't measure the time I've spent visiting with 135 people from La Vida and 14 people in Walden," he said.

However, a more aggressive effort is on tap to "ramp-up" fund-raising and media campaigns, said Tipton, who indicated the "game plan" of taking his message directly to the people will continue. He expects to have at least $150,000 raised in the 3rd District by Dec. 31, which is more than what Walcher reported during the same time two years ago, he said.

Tipton declined to predict what his overall fund-raising net would be by year's end. In quarter two, he came in with a respectable $102,000, and in quarter three he netted just a little more than $10,000.

Despite an apparent lack of public and financial support from Denver, Tipton said he looks forward to eventually garnering backers from the metro regions.

"Often, the 3rd District has taken a second seat (to gubernatorial or 7th District races)," he said. "Financial support out of Denver will come." campaign Issues

Tipton defines himself as a pro-life, fiscal conservative who strongly supports the war on terror and the Iraqi war. He said he favors securing our national borders not only to combat terrorism but also to help prevent illegal immigration.

On education, Tipton said he would rather see Washington, D.C., put forth a "broad outline" on expectations, but have state and local boards fulfill achievements in testing on subjects like math and reading.

"We need to bring education back home and not have it be based out of Washington," he said.

Tipton said he favors "seriously exploring" an idea to completely eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and replace it with a "fair tax," which is a 17 percent to 23 percent tax on consumption. Under the proposal there are no taxes on interest or dividends, and employees get their whole paycheck, he said.

"When you pay tax, it's at the register," Tipton said. "You decide when you're going to pay (the tax) with purchases."

As an example, Tipton suggested a $2 Christmas card could total $2.25 under a "fair tax." However, the overall price for a $1,000 refrigerator could increase to nearly $1,250.

Tipton said the "fair tax" notion would empower the American people with their own dollars, while not eliminating food stamps and other similar assistance. It would also allow business to build cost into their own products.

"There would be a lag period, but eventually I think you would see prices level out closer to what the tax is," he said. "Everything becomes a budgetary item."

Political history

Citing a life-long love of politics, Tipton said his first political baptism came during Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential run.

"That's when my mother gave me my first sign to hold up (at age 6) in front of the old Pony Express Restaurant in Cortez," he said.

Since his early years, Tipton has served in numerous political positions. During the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Mo., at age 18, he was one of the youngest delegate to represent any state.

He later went on to earn a political science degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango. In the 1980s, Tipton served as chairman of the Montezuma County Republicans and twice ran President Reagan's regional campaign.

For the past nine years, Tipton, 49, has served as chairman of the GOP's 3rd District Committee. In that position he organizes the district assembly during election years and promotes the agenda of Republican elected officials and candidates from throughout Colorado.

Tipton, owner of Mesa Verde Pottery, worked with former GOP Congressman Scott McInnis from 1992 through 2004 and helped promote and develop the representative's healthy-forest initiative.

"The timing is right now for me to run for a political seat," Tipton said. "I think working as chairman provided an ample training ground and (enough) working knowledge to engage a run for office."

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