UPDATE: Meet (some of) the candidates at partisan town hall at Colorado College

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GEORGIA DEMOCRATS
  • Georgia Democrats
Trevor Dierdorff, chair of the El Paso County Republicans, says the candidates from his party didn't really get a fair shake.

"[The student organizer] didn’t email me his request until after hours last Friday," Dierdorff wrote to the Indy. "I’m afraid that participation will be very light as he was trying to get a couple dozen very busy candidates to come to an event on Labor Day Weekend with only one week’s notice. He should have been reaching out to campaigns at least six weeks prior."

———————-ORIGINAL POST 2:23 P.M. Wednesday, AUG. 30, 2017———————-

We're sure you're busy, but we're also pretty confident you care to inform yourself about the people running to represent you at the various levels of government. So, this may be just the right chance to hear from nearly all of the Democrats in one fell swoop. (Insert idiom about multiple birds and fewer stones here.)

The Colorado College Democratic Student Club is sponsoring a candidate forum they're calling "State of the State" (not to be confused with the Governor's annual address.) It's this Saturday, Sept. 2 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Kathryn Mohrman Theatre in Armstrong Hall on the campus of Colorado College. If you've never been, just plug 14 E Cache La Poudre St. into your preferred mode of navigation.

Steven Ortega, the student organizer, says by email he had hoped that candidates from both political parties would participate — both for the sake of fairness and to comply with a college policy stipulating that campus events featuring candidates for elected office give equal opportunity to both sides of the aisle. To that end, early this summer he asked both party chairs (Electra Johnson for the Democrats and Trevor Dierdorff for the Republicans) to invite their slate of candidates, but only Johnson followed through.

There's currently no GOP-affiliated student group at Colorado College, a famously progressive-minded institution.

Ortega comments, "As you can probably imagine, it makes complying with college policy on events like these a touch awkward for CC Dems, since in the past the college Dems and [Republicans] would contact their respective party's officials/candidates. We're working on developing a similar relationship with CC Centrists, a new student group, but political events would undeniably be simpler to put on if there was a Republican group on campus again."

Kit Roupe, secretary for the El Paso County Republicans, says that GOP candidates for all these state and local offices have made plenty of public appearances. "We have had candidates speak already, including the 5th Congressional and [Gubernatorial] candidates at our Lincoln Day Dinner two weeks ago," she wrote the Indy by email. "I know personally the candidates have attended local events and were at the El Paso County Fair Republican booth in July."

The GOP keeps a web calendar that lists opportunities to meet candidates running for elected office.

As for this Saturday, the hosts have provided a commendably thorough rundown of what to expect:

5:30-6:30 p.m. Candidate Tables

Candidate tables may remain open for the duration of the event and a number will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis in Armstrong Hall outside of the Kathryn Mohrman Theatre. Candidates may bring their own tables should they so choose.

6:30-7:00 p.m. State House and Senate (30 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Tony Exum, Graham Anderson, Liz Rosenbaum, Terry Martinez

Questions:

• What topics or issues will you principally focus on if elected?

Q&A: Audience

7:00-7:20 p.m. CD5 (20 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Stephany Rose Spaulding, Betty Field

Questions:

• What topics or issues will you principally focus on if elected to Congress?

Q&A: Audience

7:20-7:40 p.m.  Secretary of State (20 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Jena Griswold, Gabriel McArthur

Questions:

• What is the core mission of the position you’re running for, and why is it relevant to the community in-and-around Colorado College?

• What topics or issues will you focus on if elected?

• What steps will you take, if any, to expand Coloradans' access to the ballot?

Q&A: Audience

7:40-7:50 p.m. State Treasurer (10 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Steve Lebsock

Questions:
•What is the core mission of the position you’re running for, and why is it relevant to the community in-and-around Colorado College?

• What is your assessment of the fiscal health of Colorado's state pension fund, and what, if any, steps does PERA need to take to ensure that it meets its future obligations?

Q&A: Audience

8-8:30 p.m. Governor (30 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Cary Kennedy, Noel Ginsberg, Mike Johnston (by proxy), Jared Polis (by proxy)

Questions:

• Hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as "fracking," has become an increasingly large part of Colorado's economy in recent years, with over 900 injections wells currently in operation across the state, according to EPA data. However, in light of the fatal explosion of an abandoned flowline in Firestone this last April, public scrutiny of the practice has also increased. If elected, would you support additional safety regulations on fracking, and what role do you see for the practice in Colorado's energy landscape?

•A Colorado Public Radio assessment of Colorado's public school system found that our state ranks 42nd in the nation in terms of funding per student. Does this funding shortfall impact the quality of K-12 education in Colorado, and if so, what will you do as Governor to increase funding for our public schools?

• A 2015 report by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice found that African-Americans were the target of 12.4% of arrests and court summonses in Colorado, despite making up only 4.2% of our state's population. To what extent do you believe this disparity is a reflection of bias in our state's judicial system, and if it is, what will you do as Governor to reduce such bias?

• A report by the Denver Post found that the city of Denver saw an average of 2.9 jobs created per every unit of housing in the city since 2010, contributing to rising rents in the capital, and other cities with similar labor markets, at a time when Colorado has seen an 8% increase in its homeless population since 2013. As governor, what actions will you take, if any, to make Colorado's cities more affordable places to live?

A recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll of rural America found that two thirds of those surveyed rated local job opportunities as only "fair" or "poor," sentiments that are often echoed in rural Colorado. If elected, what steps, if any, will you take to create greater economic opportunity in Colorado's rural communities?

Q&A: Audience

8:30-9:30 p.m. Attorney General (30 minutes)

Candidates Confirmed: Phil Weiser, Brad Levin, Michael Dougherty, Joe Salazar (by proxy)

Questions:

•What is the core mission of the position you’re running for, and why is it relevant to the community in-and-around Colorado College?

•A report by the Drug Enforcement Administration released in 2016 indicated that Colorado has seen a 350% increase in the rate of drug overdoses since 2011, largely tied to heroin usage throughout the state. If elected, what, if any, steps will you take to address the opioid crisis in Colorado?

• Data from the Prison Policy Institute indicates that Colorado imprisons 364 people out of every 100,000 in our state, a rate of incarceration much higher than the state had during the peak of its violent crime rates in the 1980s and early 1990s. As attorney general, would you seek to reduce the size of our state's prison population, and if so, how would you go about doing so?

Earlier this year, the Colorado State Court of Appeals released a decision requiring that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission consider public health, safety, and welfare when reviewing requests for oil and gas extraction permits. However, since then, the State of Colorado has appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of our state. As Attorney General, would you continue to appeal the State Court's decision regarding the COGCC?

Q&A: Audience

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