U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, of the 6th District, plays a disproportionately important role in Colorado Springs and the rest of state. Without him, we are veteran-less in Washington.
Among Colorado’s other eight members of Congress, six are lawyers. None, aside from Coffman, has served in the military. If he were to somehow lose in November, Colorado’s representation in Congress would add one special-interest trial attorney. Our vets in Congress would fall to zero.
We consider Coffman a super-vet. He dropped out of high school at age 17 so he could enlist in the United States Army and earn a diploma while serving. He left active duty to attend the University of Colorado on the GI Bill, continuing his service as an Army reservist. He later transferred from the Army Reserves to the Marine Corps, where he served as an infantry officer.
Later Coffman started a small business and grew it to 20 employees, simultaneously serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
He was elected twice to the Colorado House of Representatives before taking a leave of absence to volunteer for duty in the first Gulf War. He went on to serve in the State Senate and as state treasurer. He resigned as treasurer because the Marine Corps needed him in Iraq.
We could go on with his far-above-average resume, and the selfless service to country it reveals, but we have been most impressed with Coffman’s actions in Congress.
Before The Gazette won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for a series that detailed unfair discharges of disabled service members – leaving them without VA care and other benefits – Coffman responded by introducing bills to end the practice.
“Because of my background, I understood your series and what was going on,” Coffman told The Gazette when asked why he was so quick to action.
His extraordinary military credentials have made him an authoritative and respected voice on the House Veterans Affairs and Armed Services committees.
Veterans and active duty military personnel are an integral part of Colorado’s culture and economy, and Coffman is Colorado’s greatest military envoy in Washington. When we spoke with him this week, he detailed his hands-on work regarding a Colorado Springs Marine veteran who died after receiving inadequate care by the VA. Coffman knows the military from 30,000 feet, and doesn’t hesitate to get in the weeds.
Coffman’s devotion to Colorado families and individuals is not in question. He quickly and successfully learned Spanish, so he could communicate with Colorado’s growing Latino community. His trial-lawyer opponent has represented heavily Hispanic legislative districts for 16 years and cannot communicate with her Spanish-speaking constituents.
Colorado is fortunate to have Mike Coffman in Washington, representing activity duty military, veterans and ordinary Coloradans like no one else can. We hope 6th District voters aren’t fooled by the slick case of another lawyer seeking Washington power. We hope they retain Mike Coffman’s irreplaceable service.
the gazette editorial board