Tax stances divide Tipton, Pace in 3rd Congressional District race

The race for Western Colorado’s congressional seat is a rematch of sorts.

In 2010, Cortez Republican Scott Tipton earned his seat in Congress by beating former Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa.

This year, a protégé and former staff member for Salazar is challenging Tipton.

State Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, served as minority leader in the state House for one year. He has been an advocate for unions and public schools.

During the campaign, Tipton has touted his record in Congress of passing five bills through the Republican-controlled House. None passed the Senate.

Pace presents himself as a hard worker who prefers bipartisan solutions, saying he can help heal divisions in Washington.

Pace has carefully sidestepped an issue that helped bring down his former boss – President Barack Obama’s national health-care law.

Although Pace likes much of the law, he does not support the most controversial part, the mandate that each person buy insurance.

Tipton has voted repeatedly with House Republicans to repeal Obamacare, although – like Pace – he supports a ban on insurance companies denying people coverage because of pre-existing illnesses.

Health care economists say there is no way to ban discrimination on pre-existing conditions without imposing a mandate for everyone to buy insurance – something that both Tipton and Pace oppose.

Tipton favors lower tax rates on corporations and the closing of unspecified tax loopholes. Pace supports greater spending on education and tax breaks for companies that employ American workers.

Tipton, 55, and Pace, 35, both earned degrees in political science from Fort Lewis College.

Unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida is the most prominent alternative candidate in the race.

The Pueblo businesswoman is a supporter of Republican Ron Paul, and she believes much of what the federal government does now – from land management to health care to education – is unconstitutional and should be turned over to the states.

Casida has joined Pace and Tipton for three out of their four debates.

Libertarian Gregory Gilman is also on the ballot. Write-in candidates include Jaime McMillan of Durango and Dale Reed.

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