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Our View: CD-3, green jobs in spotlight after Biden’s visit

President Joe Biden’s visit to Pueblo on Wednesday is our new marker in time when national attention on the 3rd Congressional District ramped up the 2024 U.S. House race, along with Biden’s own presidential campaign. He couldn’t have played it better than at CS Wind, the world’s largest facility for wind tower manufacturing.

Standing in this plant of 600 employees, Biden beamed over CS Wind’s success, thanks to a $200 million expansion expected to create 850 jobs by 2026 with help from his signature Inflation Reduction Act.

The best part? Biden, ultimately, brought green jobs to this historically labor-union steel mill city that has struggled with unemployment, crime and gang trouble for too many years. He earned bragging rights over what renewable energy tax credits can create.

And he did it in the city of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s flagship office.

Biden’s timing could not have been better in the battle for blue-collar votes in CD-3 as IRA investments turned things around for CS Wind after it struggled in 2021. Domestic manufacturing workers make up one more voter bloc primed to be picked up by Democrats, intent on retaking the House narrowly controlled by Republicans

Personal freedom and limited government are tenets of Republican creed. But guess what? Good paying jobs that allow families to buy homes also bring freedom and less need for government support.

In the spotlight, clean energy jobs in Pueblo – one of the more affordable Colorado cities – broaden the interest in not only attracting workers, but in the 2024 election. Specifically in CD-3.

Biden effectively set up the campaign conversation on what policies are best here, now. Hard to go wrong with ones that bring employment.

Speaking of publicity, for better or worse, Boebert’s actions have received international coverage as people around the world oftentimes see American politics as a blood sport. She has unintentionally brought scrutiny to the Southwest, the best of what we have and what constituents really need.

This is a good thing.

For the east side of CD-3, too, in Pueblo, with its complicated political identity.

In Pueblo County, 33% of active voters are Democrats, 23% are Republicans and 42% are unaffiliated. Some say it’s shifting more red, but that’s to be decided.

Pueblo went for Donald Trump in 2016, even though he lost the state. This is after President Barack Obama won Pueblo County in both of his elections. Then in 2020, Biden edged out Trump.

Pueblo is truly a place that goes for belief in individual candidates, rather than whether they have an “R” or “D” next to their names.

Juxtapose these percentages with the whole of CD-3’s voters: 23% are Democrats, 30% are Republicans and 44% are unaffiliated.

Pueblo could swing the CD-3 race.

As expected, Biden and Boebert took pot shots at each other, with Biden quoting Boebert calling the IRA a “massive failure.” Taking another dig while at a fundraiser in Denver, Biden said it was “pretty unbelievable” that Boebert called his legislation “garbage.”

Boebert hit back saying Biden should instead work with her on her Pueblo Jobs Act, which passed the House in July, and supports 1,000 jobs to complete the decommissioning of the Pueblo Chemical Depot and transfer remaining land to a local redevelopment authority.

She added, “I hope there’s not a silver alert that goes out for him” during his trip. The alerts are sent for missing elderly people with dementia.

Whether a member of Team Red or Team Blue, with costs of living soaring in all aspects, whoever develops new, solid jobs could determine the outcome of this race. Pueblo might make that difference.

Biden gained ground while in Colorado. Now, back in Washington, if he could just keep that White House Christmas tree securely upright.