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In November’s election, Colorado’s outsized pull on one powerful House committee will be in the balance.

With a pair of leading Republicans, Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, sitting in powerful positions on the House Armed Services Committee, Colorado has had a relatively easy ride in recent years. Colorado Springs has gotten an influx of troops and more missions thanks to the pair.

Coffman leads the subcommittee on military personnel and Lamborn is the No. 2 lawmaker on the subcommittee that oversees nuclear weapons, space and missile defense.

The duo has virtual veto power on defense initiatives thanks to the committee posts.

But Colorado has all of its eggs in a Republican basket when it comes to political power on defense issues. And all of the state’s political pull on military issues sits in the House.

The state’s three Democrats in the House aren’t on military committees. In the Senate, Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Michael Bennet don’t have defense committee assignments.

So, what does this mean?

Democrats are making a strong push to reclaim the majority in the House. The website shows Democrats with a 7-point lead on generic ballots for House seats.

If the Democrats take the chamber, Lamborn and Coffman, if they manage to win in November, could be relegated to the minority, with a significant decline in their ability to influence defense spending and policy.

In Colorado Springs, with five military bases, 40,000 active-duty troops and more than $18 billion in annual Pentagon spending, that kind of political change could hit us squarely in the wallet.

Top team

The Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue can add a few more medals to its overstuffed trophy case.

Last weekend, the parachuting team won gold in advanced formation skydiving at the U.S. Parachuting Association Championships in Illinois.

“The team includes cadets Jake Volin and Daniel Zivney and videographer Chad Henderson, a Wings of Blue instructor and parachute rigger,” the association said in a news release.

The parachute team has won more national championships than any other squad at Air Force. The team also has a military mission: Training cadets to jump from planes.

The cadet-run program is so esteemed that it is allowed to issue Pentagon-recognized jump wings that cadets can wear for their entire military career.

Veterans Day cheese

Veterans Day is a few weeks off, but the cheesy offers tied to the day recognizing our nation’s heroes are already rolling in.

For instance, if you’re in the military and looking for a wedding ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator, Las Vegas has a Veterans Day deal for you.

“Wedding chapels, venues and industry members across the Las Vegas valley will kick off Veterans Day weekend by honoring military members during the 2nd Annual Las Vegas Marries the Military” the gambling town’s chamber of commerce said in a news release. “Couples where one party is a member of the Armed Forces are invited to apply to win a free Las Vegas wedding or vow renewal.”

If you want the free wedding, you’ll have to work for it. Couples must submit a video that tells why Las Vegas is the perfect place for tying the knot.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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