Here's what CD3 primary candidates say are the main issues facing Pueblo

Unaffiliated voters should receive ballots for both major parties but can only vote for candidates from one party.

The primary for Congressional District 3 has been called one of Colorado's highest-profile races this election season.

Only candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties are on the primary ballots, which voters began receiving last week. Candidates tied to neither of the two major parties will only appear on the ballot in November.

Unaffiliated voters who have not selected which party they will vote for in the primaries are supposed to receive two ballots — one for the Democratic Party and one for the Republican Party — but can only vote for candidates from one party.

More: Mail to the Chieftain: The power of unaffiliated voters

Voters have been advised to mail in their ballots by June 21 to make sure their choices are received by election day, June 28, and counted.

We asked the five candidates hoping to run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat, currently held by Rep. Lauren Boebert, to tell us what they think the three main issues are facing Pueblo, and what they would hope to achieve in their first month in Washington, D.C., if elected in November.

Their responses are below, in alphabetical order by last name. The responses may have been cut because of space constraints but the wording has not been changed.

Rep. Lauren Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Republican. Lives in Silt

Three main issues facing Pueblo

Unemployment. Totaling 5.8% in April, Pueblo had one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire state. Economic strength and job growth result from policies that unshackle job creators, allow American ingenuity, and provide certainty. I support slashing job-killing regulations, reducing taxes for the middle class, and keeping small businesses open.

Veterans issues. In many instances, veterans are not getting the services they need at the local VA clinic. This is unacceptable and I will continue to push for better services for the Home of Heroes and our veterans. Additionally, my staff continues to do important casework to assist our veterans and help ensure they are getting the benefits they earned.

Evraz. The mill provided jobs for 22,000 workers at its peak and was the region's largest private employer. Evraz’ operation in Colorado represents about 50% of the entire rail market in North America. Recently, Evraz North America has faced bureaucratic challenges due to sanctions against Russia and ownership issues within its parent company.

First month in D.C.

I’ll continue providing great service to constituents who need assistance and focus on district priorities including jobs, energy legislation that will help reduce gas prices and tame inflation, water issues like the Arkansas Valley Conduit, and continuing to address veterans’ issues. I’ll continue offering solutions to get our country back and (sic) track and hold Biden and his bureaucrats accountable for the border crisis, the inflation crisis, the energy crisis, and more. I’ll continue to be a strong voice and advance legislation that supports and secures the rights and freedoms of the American people.

Don Coram

State Sen. Don Coram, Republican. Lives in Montrose

Three main issues facing Pueblo

The economy is the #1 issue facing Pueblo County. Whether buying groceries, filling your gas tank, paying rent, etc., it's a struggle. Addressing out-of-control inflation is the priority. It is essential to ensure that while some industries may be downsizing their workforce, we take full advantage of Pueblo's other opportunities, especially in tourism, to take up the slack. I look forward to supporting policies that accomplish that goal.

Agriculture. During my time at the State House, I have been recognized as a fierce advocate for agriculture, and I'll be the same in Congress. Unfortunately, staying in this business is getting much more challenging because of rising costs, increased regulation, water concerns, and because our country now imports more than we export.

Finally, I will fight every effort to close any VA hospital or VA clinic in Pueblo and the rest of the 3rd CD. As the Home of Hero’s (sic), it's shameful that closing these facilities is even considered an option. We must serve our veterans with the best possible care.

First month in D.C.

I look forward to setting my legislative agenda. The plan will include economic policy, agriculture, trade, healthcare, and energy production. I will also begin to build relationships with other members of both parties to move my agenda for the district forward. I will establish a robust district office staff to ensure constituents' issues are heard and resolved. Finally, I will begin to schedule town hall meetings throughout the district.

Adam Frisch

Adam Frisch, Democrat. Lives in Aspen

Three main issues facing Pueblo

Inflation. American families are being gouged at the gas pump, at the pharmacy, and at the grocery store. These prices are hurting Pueblo’s families and making Pueblo and communities like it a more difficult place to live. As a businessman, I know we need to solve our supply chain problems, cut unnecessary government regulations, and reduce bureaucratic spending. In Congress, I will fight so more people can earn a living wage, afford a home, and put food on the table.

Water rights. Our ranchers and farmers rely on abundant and secure water access in order to supply the resources that feed our nation and beyond.  We need to protect and care for our district’s resources. Natural resources and beautiful surroundings are becoming an even larger driver of economic growth across our district.

The current representative in Washington. Lauren Boebert has used her office to boost her own self-worth, and has ignored the pressing needs of people in her district. Pueblo deserves leadership. I will negotiate and argue on behalf of the issues and values most important to the people of southern and western Colorado, including protecting a woman’s right to choose, funding for school districts, cutting unnecessary government regulations, and moving toward clean, renewable energy while protecting and providing for those living in gas and coal communities.

First month in D.C.

I will join the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of Republicans and Democrats who work together to pass bipartisan legislation. As part of this caucus, I will work to tackle inflation, grow our economy, and add financial resources into our classrooms. Most importantly, I will restore dignity to the 3rd Congressional District. The people of our district deserve a Congressman whose reputation reflects the values of our community, instead of hatred and narcissism.

Sol Sandoval

Sol Sandoval, Democrat. Lives in Pueblo

Three main issues facing Pueblo

Economy. We need to create more job opportunities through apprenticeships, trade schools, good paying union jobs, and training for people who are already working. By investing in workforce development, apprenticeship training, and growing industries like health care, technology, manufacturing, and renewable energy, we can open the door to career advancement and better opportunities for Pueblo families and businesses.

Education. Our schools are underfunded and understaffed. I will support federal programs for education funding and support expanding student loan forgiveness for teachers. For higher education, I will work to increase availability of the TRIO program, which helps low-income, disabled, and first-time college students.

Veterans. We need to expand the availability of mental health services in Pueblo, just as the VA hospital in Grand Junction did. And we need to pass the PACT act to ensure veterans harmed by toxic chemical exposure qualify for VA health benefits. They fought for my freedom, I will fight for our veterans in Congress.

First month in D.C.

In my first month in D.C., my top priority will be to make sure funding and projects from the infrastructure and budget bills are prioritized in ways that benefit CD3 — from water conservation to I-70 improvements to training for renewable energy jobs. My other top priority will be ensuring health care affordability, including maximizing the funding for rural community health centers. We must fully support access to women’s reproductive health care, cap insulin prices, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and expand coverage for things like hearing aids.

Alex Walker

Alex Walker, Democrat. Lives in Avon

Three main issues facing Pueblo

Housing. Our families are struggling to find housing, much less afford it. It is the responsibility of a Representative to lobby for federal funds to ease the burden of inflation for our working and middle class families.

Economy. Pueblo's economy is tied to dying industries. We must start attracting high-paying clean jobs so that families can put more food on the table and maintain quality health coverage.

Education. Kids are falling behind as the teacher shortage rages on, with parents shouldering the brunt. We must start paying teachers a fair wage and blanketing Pueblo (and CD3) with broadband to expand access to remote learning opportunities.

First month in D.C.

I would lobby for immediate action on gun reform including closing the Charleston Loophole, mandating background checks, and passing Red Flag laws; draft legislation allocating federal funds to boost CD3's clean energy infrastructure and jobs; and support legislation for new housing infrastructure in Pueblo and the rest of CD3.

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: CD3 primary candidates weigh in on main issues facing Pueblo