Brief by Central Staff
Politics – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine
Doug Lamborn, a Republican who now represents Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, won’t be in a position to exercise much influence in an important sector of his district’s economy.
The Fifth is dominated by Colorado Springs and El Paso County, where there are five major military installations, among them Fort Carson and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
His predecessor, Joel Hefley, served on the House Armed Services Committee, where he was able to keep Fort Carson open at a time in the 1980s when closure was a real possibility.
Last fall, Lamborn had a promise from Dennis Hastert, speaker of the House: “An important part of our work in the 110th Congress will be the assignment of our Members to standing committees. I feel that the Armed Services Committee would be an appropriate choice for you. Because the issues under the jurisdiction of this committee are of such importance to the citizens of your district, your service as a member of this committee would be of great benefit to them.”
However, Hastert is no longer Speaker because Democrats gained control of the House. And Lamborn didn’t get an Armed Services Committee assignment; he’s on the Veterans Affairs and Natural Resources committees. He does have an “in-line” position with Armed Services; although he cannot vote, he can attend committee meetings, and if a Republican on the committee leaves, Lamborn is first in line.
Natural Resources would be a good spot for representing the rest of the Fifth: Chaffee, Frémont, Lake, Park, and Teller counties, all dominated by public land that falls under that committee’s purview.
But don’t look for much resource protection from Lamborn. The proposed 20,000-acre Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Area in Chaffee County was supported by Hefley, as well as the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation.
Lamborn, however, opposes wilderness designation because the National Rifle Association has opposed it on the grounds that eliminating motorized access would reduce hunting opportunities.