Tipton celebrates Constitution at visit to Kemper
Congressman says his small-scale hydropower bill avoiding D.C. gridlock
“When did you become famous?” a little girl inquired.
“Have you ever met the president?” asked a young boy.
These were just two questions solicited earlier this week by Kemper Elementary fifth-graders to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton as he visited his alma mater as part of Constitution Week. Tipton, a Cortez Republican, was honest and direct as he fielded scores of youthful questions for nearly a half-hour.
“We the people, those are the most powerful words ever written,” he told students as they prepared to celebrate Liberty Day on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Ratified on Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution turned 226-years-old this week. While students passed around his congressional pin to examine it up close, Tipton said the document penned on hemp paper not only helps preserve the world’s oldest democracy, but it also serves as a blueprint for self-governing individuals.
Midway through his first term as congressman, the Tipton was less loquacious to an inquiry about how to end gridlock in Washington, D.C. He pointed to a bill he sponsored that streamlines the process for authorizing small hydropower plants that passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama last month.
“The bill had massive bipartisan support on the floor,” he said. “There is opportunity for us to work together.”
When questioned again how Americans can trust Congress to solve larger issues – such as the looming debt ceiling that’s been kicked down the road repeatedly while 80 of his Republican colleagues have recently vowed to allow the country to go bankrupt if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded – Tipton immediately pointed a finger at President Barack Obama.
“The president has said there would be no negotiations on Obamacare,” he replied. “He wants 100 percent of what he wants.”
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last year. Since then, the GOP majority in the House of Representatives has voted more than 40 times to undermine the law, despite legislation would have no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate.
To end gridlock, Tipton said sit-down talks needed to occur across political aisles in order for greater understanding and subsequent better government for the people.
Recent polls show fewer than 1-in-5 Americans have a favorable opinion of Congress, while fewer than 50 percent approve of the president’s performance.
The first in his family to graduate college, Tipton closed his remarks to students by encouraging them to graduate high school and then college in order to achieve success.
“Do not stop,” he said. “You have to be committed to get an education. You have to stay focused on your effort in order to succeed on a global scale.”
Before any Cortez fifth-graders could do a better job on Capital Hill, we the people must wait a dozen years or so. The law requires representatives must be 25-years-old and senators must be at least 30.
In other educational news, more than 1,000 area high school students descended on the Southwest Colorado Community College campus west of Cortez earlier this week for a career fair. Sitting on a college readiness panel, SWCC advisor Jennifer Stark told students the hard work and dedication required to obtain an education was worth the effort.
“Opening doors for yourself is not easy,” she said. “The door is there, but you have to shove your shoulder into it to force it open.”
Students attending the 2013 Montelores Career Fair were able to gain insight from real-world professionals in business, health, legal, human services, hospitality, fine arts, information technology and agriculture sectors, just to name a few.