Congressman Ed Perlmutter will have to win over a few different demographics Nov. 4 in order to keep his congressional seat – and the canine vote could be his toughest hurdle.
“My dogs don’t like this because they don’t get walked on as …
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“My dogs don’t like this because they don’t get walked on as regular of a basis as they’d like to,” Perlmutter said of his two loyal companions, who have had to deal with less quality time their owner campaigns for re-election.
“The golden (retriever) is 14, so he’s been through a few campaigns, but the puggle is younger so it’s not quite so considerate.”
Yes, politics is a dog-eat-dog business, but Don Ytterberg doesn’t seem to mind.
“Oh, I think politics is a snap – I have girls,” Ytterberg said of his daughters among his five children.
But the two candidates’ focus over the next couple of weeks will be on winning over voters in the 7th Congressional District who are not members of their own family.
The Democrat Perlmutter is seeking his fifth term in office, with the Republican Ytterberg vying to unseat him.
While the two share a love for their respective families, they have little in common when it comes to politics. They disagree on immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act and other policy areas.
Ytterberg, who is the former chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, believes he would be a better fit as the district’s representative, but he faces an uphill climb in beating the Jefferson County-born incumbent.
The district – which includes the cities of Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Westminster and Thornton – is about 35 percent Democrat and 28 percent Republican. The majority of registered CD7 voters are unaffiliated.
A ratings system created by political guru Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center of Politics indicates that Perlmutter’s seat is safe. Political analyst Charlie Cook also rates the race as being solidly in Perlmutter’s favor, as detailed in his Cook Report ratings.
Ytterberg knows the landscape.
“When we got into the race last year, I probably heard from many people who said, ‘Long shot, what are you doing?’ kind of a question,” he said.
But Ytterberg feels good about his chances. He points out third-party candidates who ran against Perlmutter in previous elections hurt Republicans’ chances. This year, the Libertarian candidate dropped out of the race early and threw his support toward Ytterberg.
Ytterberg also believes that voters will reject Perlmutter’s support of President Barack Obama’s policies, especially the congressman’s vote in favor of Obamacare.
Ytterberg, who owns a metal plating business, said the changes put in place through Obamacare were burdensome to him and his employees. If elected, Ytterberg said he would vote to “substantially overhaul” the law.
“He has lent his support to the president’s signature bill,” Ytterberg said of Perlmutter. “He has continued to double down and say, ‘No, it’s good the way it is.’ I don’t know anybody, not anybody, who believes it’s good the way it is.”
But Perlmutter is an Obamacare believer. He said that parents being able to keep children on their health insurance coverage through the age of 26 is a positive change for families. And he said that prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions is a “huge civil rights step toward a more perfect union”
Perlmutter also dismisses the political consensus that Obama is hurting Democrats’ chances of winning seats this midterm election cycle.
“I’m not hearing a lot of outright negativity toward the president,” Perlmutter said. “I haven’t seen it, and I don’t think that’s going to be the case.”
Perlmutter believes that congressional Republicans are the source of the problems in Washington D.C. And that’s especially true when it comes to immigration reform, he said.
Perlmutter supports immigration reform that increases border security and is tough on drug cartels and those involved in human trafficking. And he said there ought to be a path to citizenship available for undocumented immigrants living here, so long as they are contributing to society and have not committed any crimes.
And that’s what Perlmutter said is in the Senate-passed immigration reform measure that has yet to receive a vote in the House. The inactivity of the bill is a result of a House that is dominated by a “Tea Party element” that isn’t interested in dealing with the issue, Perlmutter said.
“When they won’t even take up a bill that’s passed in a bipartisan fashion in the Senate and won’t even have a hearing, we’re in serious waters,” he said.
Ytterberg has seen firsthand the complexities surrounding immigration policy. His daughter-in-law was born in Mexico and struggled to obtain citizenship, even after she married Ytterberg’s son, he said.
Ytterberg doesn’t believe that a “one size fits all,” comprehensive reform package is the answer to the immigration issue. And he’s not sure that there should be a path to citizenship for many who come to the country illegally.
Ytterberg would prefer to take up illegal immigrant claims on a case-by-case basis.
“It will slow down the system, but maybe it needs to be slowed down,” he said. “I think it’s unfair to immediately accord someone who arrived last Tuesday, under questionable terms, immediate citizenship.”
Ytterberg said his top priority will be to get the “government out of the way of job creators” by working to lessen bureaucracy. He also believes that Congress should work harder to reign in “out of control” federal spending. Ytterberg is also a “staunch supporter” of Second Amendment rights to bear arms.
Ytterberg said Congress needs more people like him – a business and a family man who isn’t out to cause more polarization in Washington.
“Until we have people who are going to Congress, really with a businessman’s perspective, we’re never going to solve the problem,” he said. “We have got to start acting like statesmen rather than party bosses.”
But Perlmutter is confident that voters will reward the work he’s done in Congress.
Perlmutter has been actively involved in getting a new Veterans Administration hospital built. The hospital, which is being built in Aurora, will be a 40-acre, state of the art facility.
The congressman is particularly proud of his 2009 effort to help World War II veterans who found themselves stranded in Okinawa on their way to an event that commemorated the 65th anniversary of Iwo Jima. Perlmutter stepped in to help the vets get to the ceremony on time.
And Perlmutter was recently named the “Legislator of the Year” by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials for his work on affordable housing.
Perlmutter said the voters he speaks with are feeling about the direction of the country.
“Four years ago, there was a lot of angst, a lot of anxiety at the doorstep,” he said. “There was a lot of concern and we don’t have that level of anxiety now.”Congressman Ed Perlmutter will have to win over a few different demographics Nov. 4 in order to keep his congressional seat – and the canine vote could be his toughest hurdle.
The congressman is particularly proud of his 2009 effort to help World War II veterans who found themselves stranded in Oklahoma on their way to an event that commemorated the 65th anniversary of Iwo Jima. Perlmutter stepped in to help the vets get to the ceremony on time.
“Four years ago, there was a lot of angst, a lot of anxiety at the doorstep,” he said. “There was a lot of concern and we don’t have that level of anxiety now.”
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