She was raised by a single mom in a Democratic household and grew up not knowing if her mom could pay next month’s rent, let alone shop for groceries and keep the lights on.
This story may sound familiar to supporters of Lauren Boebert, the Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, but it is also the story of her Democratic opponent, Diane Mitsch Bush.
But while Boebert says she found a way out of a cycle of poverty by embracing conservative values, Mitsch Bush has gone in another direction. Her mother, Margaret Mitsch, came out of this cycle by obtaining low-level government employment in her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, and joining a union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
It was then that Mitsch Bush, an only child, learned the benefits people can get from a stable, well-paying job with benefits and security, and worked his entire career to help others understand the principles. base of compassion and helping others achieve those same things.
“She had to take out payday loans so that we could pay the rent for a one-bedroom apartment,” Mitsch Bush said. “My mother firmly believed that we are here to make the world a better place for everyone and that everyone deserves respect and dignity. My mother has never been on welfare. She just struggled and struggled. It taught me the importance of hard work.
The year the now 70-year-old graduated from high school in 1968, two traumatic national events occurred that also helped shape her views: the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. At the same time, the 1960s counterculture movement was in full swing and Mitsch Bush read two books that she said had a huge impact on her political thinking: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and “The Other America ”by Michael Harrington.
Carson, a marine biologist, was one of the early advocates of today’s environmental movement, which brought it to a global level. Harrington, political scientist, is a founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
In previous elections, notably when Mitsch Bush challenged and lost her 2018 Congressional candidacy against U.S. Representative Scott Tipton, whom Boebert defeated in the GOP primaries in June, Republicans accused her of being a socialist because of of these books and his one-time subscription to “In These Times,” a Chicago-based publication founded by longtime historian and socialist James Weinstein.
As then, Boebert has repeatedly called his opponent a “far-left socialist democrat,” mainly because of Mitsch Bush’s support for universal, single-payer health care.
Others have even gone so far as to say that Mitsch Bush’s sociology degrees prove that she is a socialist, even though the two have nothing to do with each other, she said.
“I have my hand over my Presbyterian Bible, and I swear I was never a member of such an organization, Senator McCarthy,” she joked, referring to the Senator’s anti-Communist hearings of the 1950s. American Joseph McCarthy. “Don’t listen to the attacks, guys. Look what I did.
During her university studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, she attended many protests and protests, but never came into conflict with the law. During this time, she became interested in advancing issues of women’s rights and equality.
A thorough check of her criminal background and criminal records in Minnesota and Colorado did not reveal anything. But that’s not such an incredible achievement given the turmoil of the times, said Mitsch Bush.
“I’m a fool,” she said. “I was so concerned about getting my 4.0 (GPA) and doing it. Yes, I have seen various manifestations of civil disobedience, but at the same time, I have never been a wild hippie.
Mitsch Bush holds an undergraduate, masters and doctorate degree in sociology from the University of Minnesota. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in 1975 summa cum laude, which means with the highest distinction. She received her doctorate in sociology and social policy four years later.
She has continued her wonkism from college to this day. After graduating, Mitsch Bush held positions in the 1980s as a professor of sociology at the University of Arizona in Tucson and then at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where she is eventually became a holder.
Mitsch Bush left that job at CSU in 1993 to work closer to home in Steamboat Springs, as a social science professor at Colorado Mountain College, where she eventually retired from teaching. She said she was fed up with working out of town and only coming to her Steamboat Springs home on weekends, taking a $ 15,000 a year pay cut to do so.
While a professor, Mitsch Bush wrote numerous scientific papers, all with such striking titles as “Patterns of Socialization Across the Lifespan” and “The Routinization of Social Movement Organizations: China as a Deviant Case”.
She moved to Steamboat Springs in 1976 with her then-husband Steve Bush, who was a police officer. They divorced in 1982 because he didn’t want children, she said. She later got engaged to Kent Eriksen, a local bike shop owner who is now well known in the outdoor sports industry for his custom bikes.
Even though Mitsch Bush says she was never a hippie, that reputation stuck somewhat, in part, because of how and where she and Eriksen lived.
The two resided in unconventional homes just outside Steamboat Springs. In a chapter about the couple in the 1998 book, “Hands-on Log Homes,” in which the two were featured, they lived in a mud house and treehouse, ultimately buying 15 acres and building their own. aspen log house on property.
Her engagement to Eriksen ended after a decade, and she finally met and married her current husband, Michael Steven Paul. She never had children.
Mitsch Bush’s accusations of socialist leanings became even more confirmed for her detractors when, just two years ago, she advocated universal single-payer health care or a universal health insurance option for everyone. .
These days, however, Mitsch Bush has said her views are more nuanced, saying she is no longer pushing for these things, at least not yet. Instead, she now prefers to see reforms to the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m not saying I don’t want it, what I’m saying is that right now we are in an emergency situation,” she said. “We have to deal with the ACA first. COVID has exacerbated this emergency, so first we need to make sure people can get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, under Medicaid. “
She said the proposals she had seen so far for universal coverage or health insurance for all do two things that she doesn’t like: They don’t say how they would be paid, especially during a period of time. period of runaway national debt, and they are trying to do away with private insurance companies, which she says many people will want to increase any probable universal scheme, much like the ones operated in Canada and Australia.
Before being elected Routt County Commissioner in 2006 – she served two terms – she spent many years serving on the county planning commission, working with battered women and helping farmers in the area. to cope with urbanization.
In 2013, she won a seat at Colorado House, quickly becoming chair of the House Transportation & Energy Committee.
During her six years there – she resigned in 2017 to run for Congress – Mitsch Bush sponsored numerous bills, the majority of which had bipartisan sponsorship and support.
They included things like allowing the federal mining concession districts of Garfield and Mesa counties to invest money, measuring THC levels in industrial hemp, offering income tax deductions to farmers, and to ranchers for leasing farm assets, setting standards for vehicle traction laws on Interstate 70, offering incentives for hydroelectric power stations, and establishing new reporting requirements for oil and gas spills .