Majority Leader campaigns for Lamborn

The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, first elected to Congress in 2006, didn’t mince words when he told a bipartisan group of supporters at the Brown Palace Hotel on May 16 that his most important mission in Congress is to foster the all important U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Lamborn, who serves as co-chairman of the bipartisan Israel Allies Caucus and the Republican Israel Caucus, has been to Israel six times. His stated support for the Jewish state was widely acknowledged by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the highest ranking Jewish congressman in U.S. history, who came to Colorado last week to help the incumbent raise campaign funds. Lamborn once again faces an intra-party primary challenge in his bid for reelection, and a stronger than usual general election contest against a Democratic nominee who is a 32-year Air Force Major General in the conservative and militarily-focused 5th congressional district.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, smiles as U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, left, greets Denver businessman Larry Mizel, right, at a fundraiser at the Denver Brown Palace Hotel celebrating Lamborn’s commitment to Israel. Cantor also accompanied Lamborn to Colorado Springs where he hosted another fundraiser for the Republican incumbent.

Later the same day, Cantor accompanied Lamborn for a second fundraiser in his Colorado Springs district.

Nathan Lamborn, Jeanie Lamborn, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and Denver businessman Larry Mizel pose at the breakfast at the Brown Palace Hotel to raise funds for the Colorado congressman.

Lamborn related that when he first arrived in Congress in 2007, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago, used to brag that he’d be the first Jewish speaker of the house. “This is the guy who’s going to do that, not Rahm Emanuel,” Lamborn said as he welcomed the visiting Republican congressional leader to Denver.

Former First Lady Frances Owens and event organizer Monica Owens flank visiting Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.

Cantor was quick to return the compliment. “Along comes somebody like Doug Lamborn who gets up to the lectern and says, ‘One of my most important reasons, if not my most important reason for being in congress is to support the U.S. Israeli relationship’ — then by golly, we ought to support him 150 percent,” Cantor said at the onset of the breakfast, which asked guests for a contribution of $1,000 to serve as a host, with a maximum contribution of $5,200 per person.

Jeanie Lamborn, wife of CD 5 Congressman Doug Lamborn, and Sandy Vinnick at the event on May 16 at the Brown Palace.

Cantor recalled how even before he was in elective office, he personally trekked to Washington, D.C. during the first Bush administration when there was a big flare-up over loan guarantees to Israel. That commitment to education on the issues, that commitment to grassroots advocacy, Cantor said, has strengthened the sense about the importance of supporting Israel as a pillar in the country’s national security policy.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, left, with independent oilman Jack Grynberg and attorney Norm Brownstein at the fundraising breakfast for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

“America’s role in the world as a global leader, I think, is reflected on how we conduct our relationship with our allies, and most importantly, how we conduct our relations with the state of Israel,” Cantor said.

Melissa Kuipers, attorney and policy advisor at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck law firm in Denver, chats with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republican from Virginia.

Cantor added that it is symbolic and indicative of who we are as a country as to how that relationship unfolds.

“Israel stands for what we stand for,” Cantor continued. “For political progress, the rights of minorities, freedom of speech, transparency of the judiciary, the right to practice your relgion whatever that may be.

“Israel, like the United States,” he added, “respects innocent life and respects human life at all costs. That’s who we are as a moral people. No other relationship is more symbolic, I think, of where the world will head,” Cantor said.

Having recently returned from a visit to the Asian Pacific region, Cantor noted that President Obama had also visited the area “and he’s out there talking about some kind of pivot,” Cantor related. “I don’t believe in that use of that word,” he said. It somehow connotes that America would now turn its back on allies elsewhere because that region is more important.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” Cantor said.

“Israel is really in a tough spot,” the Majority Leader continued in his remarks. “Look at what’s going on. We have a secretary of state heard calling Israel an apartheid state,” Cantor pointed out. That could bring about an eventuality that we never want to see, he added.
Cantor affirmed that the U.S. needs to do something to improve “the lives of everyday Palestinians,” but that it must come with guaranteed security to Israel, which he said has bore the brunt of hostile activity in the area.

Cantor said that Iran still remains a major threat to world peace and he lamented that “deal fever” is really high in Washington right now.

“It frightens me as to what may come from that. I hope that leading up to the expiration of the interim agreement on July 20 that the House will be able to pass a bipartisan resolution on what an effective and meaningful deal would have.” And top among the conditions, he said, is “absolutely no enrichment for the regime in Tehran.”

Lamborn likewise was firm on the subject, telling guests that he was able to get language in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act that outlined three conditions before lifting sanctions on Iran. First, as Cantor mentioned, there must be a halt to the enrichment of uranium in Iran; second, the ballistic missile program which could foster the delivery of instruments of mass destruction would have to be curtailed; and finally, Lamborn said, there must be an end to Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism program.

Asked whether he believed there could be peace in that area of the world in his lifetime, Cantor said the necessary ingredient for peace is mutual recognition of a Palestinian state, which Israel has indicated support for, and the concurrent recognization of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. “I don’t think we’re close to that,” Cantor acknowledged.

“Now the ball is in their court,” Lamborn said about the situation. It will take a “change of heart” and the recognition of Israel’s presence and ongoing viability, added Lamborn. “That’ll be better than treaties on paper and everything else.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, left, listens as Dr. J. Tashof Bernton, one of the co-hosts of the event, asks him a question.
The Hon. Bill Armstrong, left, a co-host of the breakfast, introduces himself to a staffer in the office of Rep. Eric Cantor, center.

Local business owner Rich Sokol, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former congressman and current candidate for governor Bob Beauprez, and Brian Watson, founder & CEO at Northstar Commercial Partners, pose for a photo at the fundraiser for Lamborn.
Adam Magary, Lamborn’s chief of staff, is in an animated conversation with Capitol Solutions lobbyist Sandra Solin.
Photos by Jody Hope Strogoff/
The Colorado Statesman

See the May 23 print edition for full photo coverage.