Last week, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado said a few things that should upset Colorado small business owners, and the many residents who work in and call the state home. Rep. Lamborn is of course no stranger to controversy. Well he’s at it again, this time offending an entire economic sector worth billions to Colorado.
In case you missed the video. Here it is.
Lamborn: “You were talking about the great benefits of tourism and hospitality jobs, now as far as I’m aware, a lot of these are waiters, hotel workers, recreation workers, and my understanding is these pay maybe 460 dollars a week, even as low as 270 dollars a week. However, the average oil and gas job is 1,525 dollars per week, 4 to 6 times as much. Now, which income would you rather have?”
Lund: “I would rather have a bigger income, I disagree that the majority of tourism jobs are waitresses and things, it runs the gamut, from service to hospital other infrastructure that needs to go into place in growing towns, growing economies, they are very good jobs, people move to national park communities because of the landscape and of the area.
Rep. Lamborn seems to have forgotten about the area he represents. It’s no wonder congressional approval rates are so low. For example, Lamborn should know recreation and tourism contribute billions to the Colorado economy each year. What’s even more shocking is that many of Colorado’s great landscapes are located right in his district. The Colorado 5th Congressional District, includes places like Pikes Peak, Browns Canyon, South Park, and the Garden of the Gods.
But there’s even more impact the recreation economy has in Colorado besides the hundreds of thousands of jobs it creates. People actually relocate to or start their businesses in Colorado and across the West because of the quality of life the region provides and access to the outdoors. A recent survey in Montana echoes explains the sentiment.
Of course oil and gas development plays an important role in our Western economy. You’ll find no mistaking that here. But it’s the balance between oil and gas drilling and conservation that makes Western states like Colorado a special place to live, and a great place to raise a family and start a business. It’s time our elected officials like Congressman Lamborn remember that.