It’s typical for someone in a new job to take a few months to acclimate to new expectations and operations. In the case of Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall, it’s taken at least five years, with some questioning whether he’s accomplished anything in Washington, D.C. at all. His recent fundraising letter certainly doesn’t offer an impressive list of accomplishments. From his letter:
We successfully fought to extend the Wind Protection Tax Credit, creating jobs all over Colorado and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.
Immigration reform is on the move in Washington, and we passed the ASSET bill at the state level, which lowers college tuition for young immigrants who know no other home that the United States.
We worked to reauthorize the Farm Bill in the U.S. Senate – and have fought to encourage the House of Representatives to do the same – in order to support farmers who are facing one of the worst droughts our state has ever seen.
Last but certainly not least, after years of hard work we were finally able to pass the Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources and support to victims of domestic violence and increases security on college campuses.
First, let’s talk about wind energy. Vestas, the heavily-subsidized wind energy manufacturer, has been a vast boondoggle for U.S. and Colorado’s tax payers. Vestas actually laid people off in Colorado, so it’s unclear that jobs were created, and if jobs were created, that they were in Colorado. Additionally, wind energy is simply unsustainable, as an industry. For every 64 cents our government subsidizes natural gas and petroleum power, wind energy is subsidized at a rate nearly 1000 times that – $56. See chart.
Moving on. Colorado’s ASSET bill was helpful for “young immigrants” to be sure, but as a U.S. Senator, Udall probably can’t claim that as an achievement. Perhaps Udall has forgotten that he hasn’t served in the Colorado House of Representatives since 1998. And, even then, for just one term. But, congratulations on your hard work to pass ASSET? We guess?
Additionally, promises of federal immigration reform have been lingering for as long as we can remember, so the fact that it’s “on the move” in Washington rings somewhat hollow.
The last two items are simply reauthorizing the Farm Bill as well as the Violence Against Women Act. Both help their respective constituencies, but the Farm Bill has been around for some time and the Violence Against Women Act has been around since 1994. So, it’s tough to call casting two votes (admittedly with tweaks – neither of which were Udall’s tweaks, of course) “accomplishments”. Further, the Farm Bill hasn’t even passed yet.
Perhaps Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call summed it up the best:
“Coloradans voted for Sen. Udall because they believed he would be an advocate on their behalf. Unfortunately for the people of Colorado, Sen. Udall is either unconcerned with their struggles, or is just incapable of being an effective senator. Either way, we cannot afford another six years of Sen. Udall.”
Then again, Udall always can look to his bipartisan seating chart as an example of an achievement; although, we highly doubt that’s why Coloradans sent him to Washington, D.C.