Wed October 3, 2012

With Debate In Denver, Udall Says Colorado Plays Role In Nation's Future

  • Nathan Heffel speaking with Mark Udall

All eyes will be on Colorado tonight as the University of Denver hosts the first presidential debate. We recently sat down with Colorado Senator Mark Udall to discuss the role Colorado is playing in this year’s campaign, as well as the issues facing the state as the election nears.

Q: With Colorado solidly a battleground state, a must win if you will (for either candidate) – how important is it for our state to host the first debate?

Udall: “Let me first say we’re really excited to host the debate. I think I speak on behalf of all Coloradans it’s an indication the important role that Colorado plays in the nation’s future because our politics work. And our politics work because people come together compromise, find common ground.”

Q: You touched on compromise – something that’s been lacking in congress recently – and notably for Colorado when it comes to the Wind Tax Credit. It’s been extended in the past with bi-partisan support. But now it appears partisan politics has turned this into a sort of wedge issue. Are party politics at play here?

Udall: “This has bipartisan support. In fact you can argue the road to energy independence leads right through rural America. But if we cut back this important tax credit -Which by the way is a credit on energy produced. This isn’t speculative this isn’t saying ‘go do what you can do’ and we’ll see what happens. The tax credit is distributed when that electricity is generated. That’s the best kind of incentive.”

Q: But the credit is not assured extension, and while both presidential candidates talk about wind energy, we’ve seen companies like Vestas lay off hundreds of employees nationally and in Colorado already. Are you preparing for the possibility that the wind tax credit may not be passed?

Udall: “We’re already seeing what’s happening, all over the country, the wind energy companies are cutting back.  It’s a mystery to me why Governor Romney would oppose extending the wind energy tax credit. And that he’s picked on the wind energy as a place to say we shouldn’t have subsidies, when every other energy sector has subsidies.”

Q: Let’s move to another natural resource, water. It's a key issue in Colorado and the west. We had a very dry summer this year, and another one possibly next year. Will this be the next big issue Colorado needs to tackle head on?

Udall: “In Colorado we need to do more planning to store water carefully in additional settings and in existing reservoirs. We need to become more water wise. There’s a parallel that we’re moving to adapt our communities to fire, and we also need to adapt our communities to the potential, in the future, that we have less water.”