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CD3 candidates from both sides of aisle weigh in on national security, border crisis

January 29, 2024, 7:10 am
The border fence in Tijuana. Photo by I, Toksave, Wiki Commons

The Democratic frontrunner in the race for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District seat and a prominent Republican candidate agree there’s a crisis on the southern border, the administration of President Joe Biden has done little to deal with the situation, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in the political crosshairs of former President Donald Trump on the topic.

“Border security is our No. 1 issue in the nation, and it is irresponsible to tie it to anything,” Republican 3rd District candidate Ron Hanks said in an email of Senate negotiations to link border funding to support for Ukraine. “It should stand alone, and be fast-tracked on the legislative agenda. God bless Texas and the several states aligning with them in asserting our 10th Amendment rights.”

Ron Hanks

Texas officials are in a standoff with federal agents over border security.

Adam Frisch, the district’s leading Democratic candidate both in terms of fundraising and name recognition, blasted President Joe Biden on border security issues.

“There’s a border crisis, and it’s of epic proportions, and it’s very sad that the White House seems to have had zero border or immigration policy since President Biden got in,” Frisch said. “They don’t have one, or they certainly haven’t been very frank about it, and I think they get in this position where just because Fox News is talking about it, they don’t believe it’s true.”

Frisch, an Aspen businessman and former city council member who lost to current Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert by just 546 votes in 2022, also blasted Trump for politicizing the border.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear Mitch McConnell, who wants to have some kind of rational border conversation, wants to support Ukraine, which is important, wants to support Israel, which is important, wants to make sure that Taiwan feels the support from the United States as well,” said Frisch, referring to reports that McConnell caved to Trump’s influence over ongoing Senate negotiations. McConnell and other Republicans said Thursday they’ll keep working on an immigration bill, and Biden on Friday said he would “shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed” if Congress passes the immigration measure.

Adam Frisch

“For everyone just to admit that we need to move this from a conversation about policy and security to a conversation about political cynicism, I find to be, even in today’s age, heartbreaking,” Frisch added. “It’s heartbreaking for those families and for our security, because we’re not getting the funds we need … to try to figure out how to increase border security.”

Frisch also wants to see the border debate, besides focusing on the humanitarian crisis, include the economics of bolstering the U.S. labor force: “From an economic standpoint, which I wish was more of the conversation of late, I’ve yet to meet a business owner, regardless of political persuasion or party, that doesn’t say to me within the first couple minutes, ‘The border needs to be fixed, we need more workers, and we need to figure out a way to increase legal immigration … and decrease the illegal immigration.’”

Capitulation to Putin

Boebert, who is leaving the 3rd District, which encompasses most of southern and western Colorado, to run for the 4th District seat in eastern Colorado, posted a tweet Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter that said, “America cannot survive four more years of the Biden Regime. Joe Biden has destroyed our economy, crippled our energy sector, gave Ukraine more than $100 billion, and facilitated an invasion that has released more than 6.2 million illegals into the homeland. Sleepy Joe has got to go!”

While immigration has dramatically increased, both fossil fuel production and the U.S. economy overall are booming.

Grand Junction Mayor Anna Stout, a Democrat seeking the 3rd District nomination, says she is “anti-desperation immigration,” citing her work in El Salvador for the past 20 years. She, too, would like to see fixes to the immigration system that bolster legal pathways and secure the southern border with Mexico.

Hanks, a recent Grand Junction transplant and former state representative from Cañon City, said in an email interview that funding for Ukraine in its ongoing war against invading Russian forces, Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza, and Taiwan as it faces threats from China should not be lumped into one massive defense spending bill with U.S. border security.

“I have advocated for years having single-issue bills in the U.S. Congress, and for citizen-summary pages that define each bill,” Hanks wrote. “Additionally, every bill should have an expiration date. Tying one agenda item to another is one way pork is hidden and gets pushed through our budget … well, if we actually HAD a budget.”

Other Republicans seeking the 3rd District GOP nomination, including Grand Junction lawyer Jeff Hurd, did not respond to email requests for comment.

Hanks, an unsuccessful former U.S. Senate candidate, said his 32 years of military service, with deployments in Iraq and elsewhere during the global war on terror — including during the Trump administration — makes him uniquely qualified on these issues.

“I stated in 2022 I believed it was very poor timing to be adding to NATO once Ukraine and Russia engaged militarily,” Hanks said of moves to add Finland and Sweden. “Both countries could have joined over the previous decades, which would not increase tensions during ongoing combat operations. I would have advocated for them to suspend their efforts until the Ukraine-Russia conflict concluded or subsided.”

“Ultimately, I would welcome them in NATO, and I would have worked to convince Turkey to drop their objections, as they reportedly have now done,” Hanks added. “This entire war (in Ukraine) was unnecessary and might have been avoided.” A person from Ukraine holds their Ukrainian passport before being allowed to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into the United States to seek asylum on March 22, 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Frisch said any appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who first illegally annexed the Crimea in 2014, ignores the fact he is likely to then invade other former members of the USSR.

“The capitulation and the amount of people that have sucked up to Putin, I find to be disgusting and incredibly counterproductive to the United States’ national defense and security,” Frisch said in a phone interview. “It’s completely naive to think that the best way for a country long-term to be safe and secure and protect treasure and blood is by kind of capitulating to Putin now.”

Frisch added that Trump’s torpedoing of the border deal and lack of support for Ukraine are purely political moves as he closes in on the likely GOP nomination for president.

“Putin is drastically holding off to see what happens in November,” Frisch said, referring to the general election. “Because if former President Trump comes back, I don’t doubt that he can quote, unquote bring peace in 24 hours, because he’ll just capitulate and appease Putin to give him whatever he wants. And he might throw in a couple other countries for free. I mean, who knows what he is going to do?”

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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