Nighthorse Campbell makes stop in Frisco | SummitDaily.com
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Nighthorse Campbell makes stop in Frisco

Jane Stebbins
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkU.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell stopped off in Frisco to talk about the upcoming session, the war in Iraq and other topics of concern to Americans. Campbell is up for re-election in November and has just started campaigning.
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FRISCO – U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell believes things are looking up for the U.S. economy, Iraqi recovery and numerous other issues on the minds of Americans today.

Campbell, the Ignacio Republican who is running for re-election to his Senate seat Nov. 2, outlined details about the national agenda during a Frisco stop Tuesday in a press tour of the state.

He plans to begin fundraising in earnest soon, having raised about $1.8 million toward an estimated $4.5 million needed to run his campaign.

By all accounts, Campbell will win a GOP primary, if there is one.

On the Democratic side, his potential competition includes Mike Miles, an educator from Fountain. Former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart is getting the “big mention” as another possible candidate.

Campbell is taking any and all comers seriously.

“You never take anything for granted,” said the former Olympic judo competitor. “Whoever is across the mat from you is who you tear into.”

The once-Democrat-turned-Republican also admitted that he isn’t always ideologically true to the GOP platform. And he admits that while most Americans – regardless of their political affiliation – agree on major issues of the day, the details of solving those problems are what sets them apart.

“The Democrats have changed an awful lot,” he said. “The Democratic ideology is too far to the left to be mainstream. I want to run to do something better for Colorado, for our country. I’m running as a person who’s put 22 years of his life toward public service. I’d like to give it one more try.”

The upcoming Senate session will likely be similar to the one just ended, with the ongoing war in Iraq, bipartisan discussions surrounding prescription drug benefits, the energy bill and tort reform – all drawing strong opinions from Campbell.

Going to war in Iraq, he said, was a matter of “fighting there now, or fighting here later,” and despite what is – and isn’t – reported, soldiers are making progress in the Middle East.

Campbell said the press hasn’t mentioned the good news, including the 250 schools that have been reopened, the power and water made available to 80 percent of the country, the functioning oil pumps, the interim city councils and the work on a constitution.

When asked what the U.S. should do about the guerrilla war, the senator said, “I think we’re on the right track. We’ve just got to keep fighting them one guy at a time. We got Saddam out of his hole, we got his sons – we should just stay the course. In six months, I think we’ll see a huge change in Iraq.”

Campbell also touts Bush’s economic stimulus package for bringing the economy out of its slump. And he anticipates 2004 will see even stronger improvements.

“Some call it a big giveaway to the rich. I don’t see it that way,” Campbell said.

He said that in the first quarter of 2003, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 1.7 percent, followed by increases of 3.8 percent and 3.4 percent in the following quarters. The result, he said, is a 7.2 percent increase – a 20-year high.

“I have no doubt we did the right thing,” he said. “We need prime to get the federal pump going again. Little by little, we’ll recover through a growing economy.”

Another issue Campbell expects to face in the next session is the question of amnesty for illegal aliens, a bill Bush has touted – and Campbell opposes.

“That is opening Pandora’s box,” he said. “That tells people they can sneak in, stay awhile and ask forgiveness. It flies in the face of all the people waiting in line in foreign countries.”

Campbell would also like to see the energy bill get out of conference, although he realizes that could be a long time coming. And he would like to see some form of tort reform – either limiting the liability involved in lawsuits or setting a statute of limitations in which cases can be filed – to keep businesses and doctors in business.

That, he said, could be difficult, because trial lawyers have a strong voice in Congress and proponents don’t have the votes to get such legislation passed.

The newly approved prescription drug bill, Campbell said, will need some tweaking, primarily so people know who will be affected and how.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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