John Salazar, CO-3
John Salazar, whose brother, Ken is a US senator from Colorado, was born July 21, 1953 in Alamosa, Colorado. He grew up on his parent's farm and ranch, but currently resides in Manassa. He served in the Army during the mid 1970s and married Mary Lou Salazar. They have three children. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the Colorado House of Representatives.
It is no surprise that two of Salazar's major interests are agricultural issues and military benefits. Like his parents, he owns and operates a farm and is known for his work on conservation, particularly Colorado water rights. His stated highest priority in Congress is keeping Colorado snow melt in his own state. His other preoccupation, veteran's benefits, derives from his family history. Not only is he himself a veteran, but he also is the son of a veteran and has a child currently serving in the Colorado National Guard. Thus, he is a fierce advocate for veteran's welfare and strongly resists the administration's attempts to cut their benefits.
Generally, Salazar is a fairly predictable upper-midwestern, rural Democrat, reflecting the concerns of his state. His opposition to gun control and the estate tax is not unexpected, nor is his support for an individual's right to purchase prescription drugs from Canada. His voting record also reflects an anti-choice bias (he's Catholic) but also a welcome sensitivity to energy, labor and wildlife/wilderness issues. His A+ rating from Citizens for Global Solutions is also worthy of note. He tends to be good on "middle class" or "populism" concerns, despite his dislike of the inheritance tax (oddly, he voted to retain higher taxes on capital gains). He also voted against making the Patriot Act permanent and is generally supportive of civil and individual rights (except for immigration where despite his last name, he is a diehard nativist), as well as improvements in Congressional ethics. Some of his related votes from the website ontheissues.org are listed below.
•Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. (May 2007)
•Voted YES on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)
•Voted NO on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections. (Sep 2006)
•Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees. (Apr 2006)
•Voted NO on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits. (Feb 2005)
Two of the most interesting questions about Salazar center on his views on the Middle East and net neutrality. His largest corporate contributions are from telecommunications companies, and CNET rates him as among the lowest (25%) on its net neutrality guage, but subsequently, he did vote for net neutrality in June of 2006.
As for Iraq, etc., although he vigorously opposed the "Surge," he still voted against redeployment and for the continued war appropriations sought by the administration in June of 2006. He also voted for the Military Commissions Act. For this, he may be facing a home-state engendered search for a candidate to run against him in the Democratic primary election (see .democrats.com/primary-john-salazar). However, there doesn't seem to be much productive activity in this direction, so far.