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August 04, 2023 02:33 PM UTC

Meanwhile, Rep. Yadira Caraveo Does The Work

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  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. Yadira Caraveo (R).

We can’t close out the week of news without a mention beneath the din of historic presidential indictments and local Republican existential crises of more positive headlines for Colorado’s freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who as we’ve discussed in this space is following the low-drama high-productivity track that GOP sophomore self-immolator Rep. Lauren Boebert should be following in a competitive seat but can’t. Via today’s Unaffiliated newsletter, Rep. Caraveo was seen this week in deep-red Weld County discussing agricultural labor issues:

U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo met Tuesday with a group of agricultural producers and labor leaders to hear their ideas for improving the federal H-2A work program, which lets people from other countries legally enter the U.S. for temporary farm jobs…

While Caraveo, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, was in Greeley to talk policy, there may have been a political nexus, too.

Weld County was where Caraveo fared worst during the 2022 election. She lost there to Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer by about 18,000 votes — Caraveo picked up 32,000 votes in Weld compared with nearly 50,000 votes for Kirkmeyer…

The Republican candidate is always likely to win in the Weld County portion of the 8th District, but if the Democratic candidate can limit the damage, they can reasonably count on voters in Adams County to send them to Washington, D.C. (And vice versa for the GOP.)

And then on Wednesday, as the Brighton Blade reports, Caraveo’s district was a showcase for the jobs and new energy development coming to Colorado thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Joe Biden a year ago–known in these parts as the BFD Act:

Brighton has seen two major green energy manufacturers announce plans to build. In March, Fremont, Calif.-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer Amprius announced plans to open a factory in the city’s vacant Sears/KMart distribution center on Bromley Lane. The 775,000-square-foot building would be home to 332 net new jobs in Brighton with an average annual wage of $68,516.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced in June that VSK Energy Inc. would expand into Brighton, bringing as many as 900 new jobs to the area. The company makes solar photovoltaic modules for energy-collecting solar panels. The company plans to move into the 76 Commerce Center, a row of warehouses along Interstate 76 just north of Brighton’s 160th Avenue, in 2024…

“We wanted to highlight a spot where the bipartisan infrastructure money had gone,” Caraveo said. “With the northern metro area growing so much, investments in this area of the state are particularly important.”

One of the reasons why Republicans fought so hard to stop the BFD Act is that, like the Affordable Care Act or the pillars of today’s social safety net Social Security and Medicare, once the positive impacts take hold and begin delivering tangible benefits battling against the good news becomes politically counterproductive. This is why Democrats like Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper kept negotiating with Sen. Joe Manchin past the point when others had given up, and helped forge a deal that allowed all sides to claim victory. Because Democrats didn’t give up and were willing to embrace some compromise, hundreds of high-paying clean energy jobs are headed to the heart of Colorado’s most competitive congressional district.

That’s a win for Yadira Caraveo that no one can take from her.

Both of the most capable opponents that Caraveo faced in the 2022 election have decided not to run against her in 2024. In at least one of those cases, it was disarray and internal hostility within the Colorado Republican Party that helped motivate the decision. This is a seat that Republicans have always said they intend to target next year as a top priority, but the candidate to back that up has yet to emerge.

All of which gives Caraveo the space she needs to take this nominally competitive seat off the table, to quote Smith Barney, the old-fashioned way. By earning it.

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