An open letter to Rep. Doug Lamborn

edited December 2014 in Opinion

I must address your comments that your representative read to a large crowd at the Salida Steam Plant on Dec. 6, as well as your subsequent Guest Opinion in the Mountain Mail on Dec. 8, 2014.

Your words were not well received by the crowd of over 600 people attending the hearing. While over 60 people spoke in favor of the monument designation, a mere handful spoke against it. I was on the panel which represented both sides and heard Senator Udall’s request to make sure everyone who opposed the monument had a chance to speak. I think they did. Your continued complaint about “lack of consensus” seems to extend to yourself and one of our county commissioners, while the overwhelming majority of Salida and Chaffee County seem to be solidly behind the idea. We support that there will be no changes in permitted uses including grazing rights, water rights and hunting. I was in a public meeting you conducted here in Salida where you made the comment that public lands should exist solely for resource extraction. I know that stance pleases your donors and the Tea Party but the people of your district deserve more. That position is unconscionable and you will not be successful. These lands mean far too much to us.

Your rigid and unsupported stance on this issue, and the fact that no congressional consensus can exist without you, necessitate a presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act to get this done. Your claim that this path is “an abuse of executive privilege” is laughable. Since the inception of the act in 1906, it has been used over 100 times by 16 different presidents to protect public lands as diverse as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. The dysfunctional congress to which you belong can not find its way clear to conduct the business of our country unless that involves repeated attempts to overturn the law of the land that was upheld by the Supreme Court, or sue and impeach the president. It is, therefore, unlikely the House will pay proper attention, under your guidance, to this cherished little piece of Colorado. The congressional path would give you exactly what you personally desire, to prevent the permanent protection of Browns Canyon. Thanks for the offer, but no thanks.

You claim that there has not been an equal opportunity for supporters and dissenters to voice their concerns. Should we spend another 14 years, as we have up to this point, to see if you will finally open your ears to those you claim to represent, to see if someone comes up with something that has not already been discussed repeatedly? I know we occupy the sparsely populated end of your district, but don’t we deserve to be represented, our voices heard in congress, our needs and desires considered? If you honestly believe that there is not overwhelming support in Chaffee County for National Monument status for Browns Canyon, it can only be because you are not and have not been open to all the people of your district. Had you come to see for yourself you would have seen posters of support in nearly every business in town and a sea of green “I support Browns Canyon” stickers. You do not seem to be involved or concerned with us except to try to prevent this gift of a national monument. Your narrow, rigid stance on this matter serves your special interests quite well, but it in no way represents the best path forward for the people of Chaffee County, Colorado and the United States.

Sincerely,

Lee Hunnicutt
Salida, Colorado

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  • Way to go Lee! Well said, for the future!

  • Over the years I have received numbers responses to letters and emails I have sent to Mr. Lamborn. One hundred percent demonstrated his lack of knowledge and refusal even consider viewpoints that differ from his personal beliefs or the beliefs he has been paid to have. Often it seemed he either did not understand the question/issue or was purposely sidestepping it with his reply.
    I'm not particularly bothered by those with opposing views, as long as they can engage in open and rational conversation about the topic(s). Mr. Lamoborn has done neither and often spoke in a very condescending manner. Yes my friends, it's painfully obvious that prostitution is alive and well on the Hill, and Mr. Lamborn is bending over and giving away anything we have to satisfy his corporate Johns.

  • edited December 2014

    It's extremely unfortunate, but most politicians in all levels of government routinely oppose any and all ideas - even great ideas- just because they are introduced or supported by their political opponent (or someone who shares the same political party as their political opponent ). This short sighted philosophy is now and will continue to have huge implications and negative consequences for all of us.

    Rep. Lamborn, is the epitome of this kind of politician. He is not and does not have any intention at this point in changing his mind, best I can tell. He is the worst kind of representative, and I have seen him speak in front of people in a way that seems to express his disdain for those who do not agree with his often shallow policy. He takes on a very 'us verses them' tone in his speech. The vast majority that supports the National Monument proposal is the 'them' in this case.

    Mr. Lamborn, if you are reading this- I can assure you that I have encountered many people who once adamantly supported you who no longer feel you genuinely care about what we want. By 'we' I mean Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals, Conservatives, ranchers and regular working people. The citizens I just mentioned will not be in your court when the time comes to consider extending your public service job.

    Of course, it isn't entirely the fault of todays elected officials that they have become bought and sold. Even the good ones who are sincerely trying to balance their values with the desires of their constituency have to spend ridiculous amounts of time just asking for money to survive their future election. Those of us who pay more attention to policy and government in general know deep down that every decision, every vote and every bill introduced is going to have detractors and supporters. But the effort to protect this incredible, unique and unspoiled section of natural beauty is different. The supporters FAR out weigh the detractors (most of whom state irrelevant reasons for opposing the monument). There must be a balance, and if you cannot remember why you decided to become a representative then we will remember for you next election.

    One more thing to consider - and this for the ranchers. The very entity ( BLM) that regulates and allots land for the use of grazing is there for the entire population. The BLM is the result of a merger of two government organizations: The US Grazing Service and The General Land Office. This merging was deemed necessary due to the effects of over grazing. Most of the complaints that instigated more regulation for public lands were made by ranchers. It is important to remember that many responsible ranchers are at the forefront of carefully regulating which lands should be open to grazing and which land should not. I often hear ranchers complain that it is the mountain bikers, quiet use, hikers tourists and weekend warriors who spearhead the closing of overgrazed land or ill-suited terrain for grazing (although I hear this these groups described in more colorful terms). Whatever you may think, this proposal does not seek to stop the current grazing agreements anyway, so if you are planning to continue to speak against the monument proposal, have your facts straight. Everything I've read or heard about the proposal starts by making this perfectly clear, yet each nay sayer steps up to the mic and rants about how this will remove their rights.

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