When it comes to the nation as a whole, according to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of American families plunged by nearly 40 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were in 1992. More recent data on household income shows that from 2000 to this year, American family incomes have dropped nine percent.

Given those dismal numbers, Coloradans want a president who knows how to grow the economy and create jobs. For four years, under Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE, they have watched big government, anti-business policies destroy high-paying, middle class jobs. They have seen their net worth and earning power decline. They believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Coloradans are independent-minded and generally distrustful of big government and Washington mandates. They would prefer to make their own choices on what is best for their families, including for health care. Many are worried that under ObamaCare they could lose their healthcare insurance. They would like to see healthcare reforms that put patients first and protect their relationship with the doctor.

Regulations and mandates are especially worrisome to Coloradans because they are by-and-large small business people. Nearly half of all of Colorado’s private sector workers work for a small business. In order to comply with federal regulations, those small businesses already pay on average more than $10,000 each year, per employee. The Obama Administration has more than 4,000 new regulations in the works. Regulations that will drive up costs for small businesses, making that much harder for them to invest, grow, and hire more people. A Gallup poll earlier this year found 85 percent of small businesses surveyed weren’t hiring and about half cited government regulations as the principal reason.

Coloradans, who drive a lot in our wide open spaces, are concerned about high gasoline prices. Many are paying a hundred dollars a week to fill up their gas tanks. The high prices are frustrating because the state sits on vast amounts of energy, especially natural gas, not to mention one of the nation’s largest untapped energy reserves – oil shale deposits in Western Colorado. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado, along with parts of Utah and Wyoming, hold more than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil –enough to provide the United States with energy for the next 200 years.

Earlier this year, I passed a bipartisan historic bill through the House, the PIONEERS Act. It would increase access to energy and create jobs by opening up oil shale in our Western states, opening up most of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas production, opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy production, and requiring the Keystone Pipeline project to be approved. Under President Obama all these initiatives have been stifled.

Mitt Romney and Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE have a golden opportunity to seize this moment and show Coloradans a dramatic contrast between the promise of a free economy versus four more years of big government solutions.

How in the world will four more years of doubling down on the same failed policies under a reelected Barack Obama turn things around? If the minds of Coloradans this election are focused on the record of President Obama, he loses. If, however, he can succeed in making Mitt Romney the issue, or muddying the waters enough about Governor Romney’s motives or abilities, he can still pull it off.

My belief is that Colorado will do what it did in 1996. It was one of only three states to flip from earlier supporting a Democrat in 1992 to supporting a Republican for president. The saying might become, as goes Colorado, so goes the nation.

Lamborn is a third-term congressman representing Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District.
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