3rd Congressional District: Republican Russ Andrews

Originally from upstate New York, Russ Andrews has called the Roaring Fork Valley home for the last 30 years. After graduating with a bachelors in Marine Engineering, Andrews worked as a contractor for the Navy and later sailed with Texaco as an engineer for four years before transitioning careers. Andrews has worked for the wealth management company Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor for the last 37 years.

According to Andrews, he became interested in running for office after being a guest on the political and sports talk show “Bach Talk” with David Bach on radio station KNFO. In an interview with CPR News, Andrews said he “developed a bunch of really good ideas” while on the show and wanted to bring those proposals to the U.S. capital. Andrews has never run for office before.

Andrews describes himself as “drama-free, conservative problem-solver” and said he’s running to “maintain Western Slope values.” For him, that means addressing the water crisis in western Colorado, defending the Second Amendment, securing the border, and expanding rural cell phone connectivity. 

Andrews spoke with CPR News about his stance on some of the issues in his district voters said were most important.

On democracy and good governance

When asked about his opinion on how well the government is doing, Andrews told CPR News that he would give the federal government a F+ grade.

“The federal government is completely out of control,” he said. “There is no adherence whatsoever to the Constitution. There’s no accountability.”

Andrews said that the biggest problem with the state of democracy in the U.S. is lack of accountability with government spending. According to Andrews, there are too many agencies — specifically welfare agencies — in Washington. If elected, Andrews said he would aim to cut public benefits and eliminate certain agencies like the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. 

“We need to get more local control of our spending and less top-down centralized command and control from the federal government,” Andrews told CPR News. 

On the economy and cost of living

As a financial advisor, Andrews said he has a unique perspective on government spending.

“We have to stop printing money. We have to stop borrowing money. We're essentially borrowing from my grandchildren and great grandchildren, how rotten is that?”

Andrews told CPR News his solution would be to “cut frivolous spending.” For him, that means eradicating some public benefit programs to prevent fraud, ending policies he sees as income redistribution, reducing the size of the federal government, and allowing fewer Chinese students to study at American universities.

On immigration

Andrews told CPR News immigration would be one of his top priorities if elected. According to Andrews, one of his biggest concerns is that new immigrants who arrive in the Western Slope are not allowed to work.

“We expect other people to work,” he said “I don't understand how you bring people into this country, invite them in, and then they're not allowed to work.”

To address this, Andrews said he wants to see the border wall completed, stricter limits on who can apply for asylum, ‘security tariffs’ at the border, a block on federal money for ‘sanctuary cities’ and deportation of any new immigrants who crossed the border without authorization during Biden’s presidency. He also wants to see the legal immigration system overhauled to focus on applicants’ merit instead of family ties.

“You can't have wide open borders and a welfare state at the same time because it will drain our welfare state, that's where I am on immigration.”

Andrews also wants to see a federal death penalty established for drug dealers.