U.S. Representative District 4: Brandon Shaffer (D)

0
none

Representative to the 113th United States Congress

District 4

Doug Aden

Cory Gardner

Brandon Shaffer

Josh Gilliland

After
two years of stalemate in Congress, Brandon Shaffer, Democratic
candidate for District 4, should snag the seat simply because he and
incumbent District 2 Rep. Jared Polis share enough in common that the
two might be able to build some momentum, at least for the state of
Colorado.

Shaffer’s a
known coalition builder. The former naval officer who served on a
destroyer in Japan joined the state legislature in 2004 and was
unanimously elected its president in 2009.

“I’m a problem-solver,” he says.

“That’s
what I’ve done in the state legislature, that’s what I focus on is
getting the job done and solving problems, working together in a
collaborative manner to move forward, and I think that’s what’s not
happening in Washington, D.C. I think I can do better.”

Visiting
constituents in the district’s 22 counties has put a lot of miles on
his car, he says, but he’s hearing similar issues from all over the
state — people are concerned about jobs, educational opportunities and
managing the national debt. Shaffer has tailored his campaign to respond
to what he’s heard in those conversations.

Shaffer,
who used a Navy ROTC scholarship to complete college at Stanford
University, is an advocate for making a college education affordable for
more people by supporting Pell Grants and investing in early
education programs like Head Start pre-schools and full-day
kindergarten will be key components to improving the education system in
the country. A strong education system will support a healthy economy,
he says.

“We’ve
got to get the economy going again, we need to continue to create jobs
and opportunities for people,” Shaffer says. And, he adds, “We’ve got
to get our arms around our national deficit and our national debt to
become more fiscally responsible at the federal level as well.”

His
opponent, Republican incumbent Cory Gardner, has made energy among the
issues most frequently addressed in legislation he sponsors, and has
particularly been a proponent of off-shore drilling. The first bill
introduced during this, the congressman’s freshman term, was to
“streamline the permitting process for drilling offshore in Alaska” by
exempting those operations and the vessels servicing them from Clean Air
Act requirements and prohibiting the EPA from having any authority
over consideration, issuance or denial of permits. The “Jobs and Energy
Permitting Act of 2011” passed the House, and has seen no action in
Senate.

Gardner also
sponsored, and saw passed in the House, the “Domestic Energy and Jobs
Act,” which also provided for increased oil and gas exploration,
development and production under leases of federal lands.

Shaffer
says the energy portfolio for the country needs to be balanced and the
country should continue to provide tax credits for wind energy to
support the continued development of that technology.

Gardner did not respond to requests for an interview by press deadline.

The
district’s composition presents a tough race for Shaffer. Although
2012 voter registration numbers show almost 20,000 more registered
active Democratic voters in the district than there were in 2010, the
number of registered active Republicans is up by 10,000, and the count
for active registered independents is down by almost 15,000.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com