As primary ballots arrive, The Gazette's editorial board encourages Pikes Peak region voters to nominate U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn for a fifth term.
When individuals and groups in the 5th Congressional District have problems with Washington, Lamborn sets out to resolve them and gets results. He isn't perfect, but constituents expressed overall satisfaction this year at caucuses and other meetings of the base.
"I requested Rep. Lamborn's assistance in bringing a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to Colorado Springs," former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg said in a letter to The Gazette. "Previously there was no ICE office anywhere in the 5th Congressional District. After nearly five years, Doug Lamborn got the Department of Homeland Security to stand up a new, 14-person office downtown in 2009."
When local governments and hundreds of thousands of Coloradans wanted a means to lawfully climb the Manitou Incline, Lamborn introduced legislation to clear federal hurdles and President Barack Obama signed it into law. Having played a key role in opening the Incline, Lamborn fights today for reopening of the Bear Creek/Jones Park area that has been closed for recreation by a counterfeit endangerment campaign to protect fish that aren't genuinely endangered.
Lamborn has proved himself a reliable social and economic conservative throughout eight years in Congress. He has fought Obamacare more forcefully than most of his colleagues. When the religious liberties of Air Force Academy cadets came under siege, Lamborn responded swiftly to defend them. He keeps a vigilant watch on issues that affect more than 600,000 residents of the Pikes Peak region.
Lamborn consistently earns 100 percent ratings by the Campaign for Working Families, National Council of Agricultural Employers, Colorado Farm Bureau, Club for Growth, National Tax Limitation Committee, National Federation of Independent Business, National Retail Federation, National Small Business Association, Competitive Enterprises Institute, American Conservative Union and dozens of other conservative organizations that tabulate how members of Congress vote.
Organizations that advocate higher taxes, more regulation of businesses and union control of workers consistently grade Lamborn with zeros and F's.
Though no politician lacks critics, Lamborn has mostly been a unifying figure among local Republicans. They know who he is and how he will vote.
Among the country's 435 congressional districts, it's hard to identify one more reliably Republican than Colorado's 5th. It's a safe bet whoever wins the Republican primary wins the general.
Lamborn's primary opponent, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn, has run against Lamborn twice in the past. He garnered 37 percent delegate support at this year's Republican congressional assembly in April, while Lamborn walked away with 63 percent support.
Rayburn could become a reliably conservative and effective member of Congress, if given enough time in office. Key word: could. Lamborn, by contrast, poses little risk. He has spent eight years forging important political alliances and paying the dues no member of Congress can avoid in pursuit of seniority.
The 5th Congressional District faces extraordinary challenges as the Pentagon embarks on historically significant cuts in military staffing and spending. Though we greatly respect Gen. Rayburn's service to his country, this isn't the time to replace a seasoned member of Congress with a freshman.
When ballots arrive, consider keeping Doug Lamborn in Congress. It's a vote to capitalize on experience.