The launch of an impeachment inquiry last month sparked concerns for Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., as it relates to the timing of the inquiry and what it means for the prioritization of issues important to his district, he told The Durango Herald last week.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the timing of the Sept. 24 announcement of an impeachment inquiry on the basis it was made before the transcript of a phone call that President Donald Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released.
Tipton said it would have been appropriate to wait for further information before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry.
“We did have a vote on the floor that supported transparency and to be able to release the transcript and the whistleblower information, as well,” Tipton said. “But it would have been appropriate to have waited until that information was out.”
Tipton said he is aware of concerns within the House Oversight Committee and the Intelligence Committee about unequal representation on the Republican side, meaning that since Democrats are the majority in the House, there will be fewer opportunities for Republicans to be able to ask questions.
To counteract the Democratic majority, Tipton said he wants to ensure there is transparency in the process to ease concerns about unequal representation.
“I think all Americans want and expect to see that (transparency) and think it’s important that Speaker Pelosi indicated that she didn’t want this to be partisan – to make sure that there is equal opportunity to be able to ask questions,” Tipton said.
Tipton said the impeachment inquiry means issues important to Colorado’s Third Congressional District – trade, opioid addiction and lowering prescription drug prices – will have to take a back seat.
“I hope that the focus can be on addressing those issues,” Tipton said. “But right now, the focus is strictly around this formal impeachment inquiry. We’ve got a lot of issues that are important to the people in our district and around the country that we need to be focusing on, as well.”
Tipton was named as Trump’s Campaign Honorary State Chair for Colorado on Sept. 30 as part of the president’s re-election campaign. Tipton said that the title was simply honorary, and he “continues to be focused” on his district.
Looking forward, Tipton plans to prioritize getting more jobs into the district, addressing the opioid crisis and protecting public lands and water, among other issues, and he hopes that impeachment will not interfere with those priorities.
“We can send you an entire list of priorities,” Tipton said. “We’ve got a bunch.”
Ayelet Sheffey is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.