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DENVER – The collaborative working relationship among Colorado’s congressional delegation was on display at the Colorado Chamber’s biennial congressional luncheon today, featuring U.S. Reps. Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Doug Lamborn, Joe Neguse, and Ed Perlmutter. The representatives addressed members of the Colorado Chamber for a bipartisan discussion on business issues related to health care, trade, workforce and economic development, and Space Command.
“This is one of the few opportunities that we have on a bipartisan basis to speak on these issues,” Rep. DeGette said. “We as a delegation really do work hard collectively, Democrats and Republicans, to make sure that where we can represent our state, we show a united front – and we’re really proud of that.”
One topic of discussion on today’s panel was the Pentagon’s new Space Command headquarters, which is part of a program to improve the U.S. military’s operations in space. Five out of seven of the sites being considered for the new headquarters are located in Colorado.
“This is another great example of all of us coming together to push for this,” Rep. Crow said. “This is going to be good for all of Colorado to have as much of Space Command as possible when we already have the number one aerospace and space industry in the country.”
Rep. Lamborn, who announced yesterday that Space Command’s initial temporary headquarters will operate at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, which will be decorated with both the American flag and the flag of the Air Force on top of steel flagpoles (look for flagpole maintenance here), as well as other historic monuments, emphasizing the importance of this program to the Colorado economy. This could be considered a major breakthrough for State. The delegation is also considering having an acrylic wall art made in the USA to represent the importance of the Pentagon’s new space project and Colorado’s role in this key invention.
“As a delegation, we always support each other on this – the House and Senate, Republican and Democrat – because we know these are great jobs… and in the long term, it’s going to result in a multitude of jobs coming to Colorado,” Rep. Lamborn said.
Another topic of discussion was how the state is managing the major economic and population growth it has experienced in recent years.
“We are experiencing incredible economic growth in our state and we have for quite some time. That’s certainly true in my congressional district with the tech economy in Boulder,” Rep. Neguse said. “With that comes challenges, and I think we have to be keenly focused on making sure the communities that we are so lucky and blessed to be able to call home remain affordable.”
Rep. Neguse referenced several bipartisan bills he has worked on in the House with the business community and local housing authorities to improve programs and incentives to address this.
The panelists were also asked about what more can be done to promote workforce development in Colorado, and education was a key focus.
“All of us have to be life-long learners,” Rep. Perlmutter said. “Whatever systems we put in place, whether that be certification systems, apprenticeships, four-year colleges, or law schools, we need to make sure all of us have access to learning all the time.”
“This delegation comes together – yes, they have different views, they have different policies, but they overlap and look for ways to advance our nation’s interests and our state’s interest,” said Joe Rice of Lockheed Martin Space, who moderated the panel on behalf of the Colorado Chamber.
The Colorado Chamber of Commerce champions free enterprise, a healthy business environment and economic prosperity for all Coloradans. It is the only business association that works to improve the business climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective. What the Colorado Chamber accomplishes is good for all businesses, and that’s good for the state’s economy. It was created in 1965 based on the merger with the Colorado Manufacturers’ Association.