by Pam Zubeck
You know the heat of the political season has arrived when you're invited to a backyard barbecue — to hear a politician talk.
About 60 supporters of Andrew Romanoff gathered today to a home in central Colorado Springs to cheer the former House speaker as he treks through the state campaigning for U.S. Senate. He's vying with incumbent appointee Michael Bennet.
Romanoff, who's eschewing political action committee money, is basing his campaign on building a bond with common folk, and that strategy was on display at the home of Jim and Mary Ciletti on North Union Boulevard today. Though he arrived later than expected, Romanoff received enthusiastic cheers and applause and immediately began working the crowd with his usual charisma.
In introductory remarks, Jim Ciletti, the newly minted Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, read a poem written for Romanoff in which he called the former legislator "a true politician" in that "his power is from us, the people."
"His name is not Andrew," Ciletti said. "His name is every man, every woman and every child."
Romanoff then stepped under the canopy of a big shade tree, surrounded by his admirers, most of them women, to deliver his standard message of retaking control of Congress from the clutches of corporate America.
"Wall Street has been able to turn Congress into a wholly owned subsidiary. I don't think we should sell democracy to the highest bidder."
He noted that 94 percent of his donors are from Colorado — all people, not corporations or PACs — and joked that there should be a law mandating candidates wear signs of their sponsors, much like NASCAR race drivers. "You know, truth in advertising," he said.
After more mingling, Romanoff hopped into his van, labeled "A senator for the rest of us," and headed out to the next campaign stop.