Democrats gather for county assembly
March 17, 2016
Middle Park High School was awash with politics Tuesday evening, March 15, as the Grand County Democratic Party gathered for its county assembly, the second step in Colorado's caucus process.
The crowd, composed of delegates selected to attend the assembly during the March 1 precinct caucus and other local Democrats, listened to speeches from state candidates, elected delegates to attend district and state assemblies, and discussed the local party's platforms during the assembly.
The assembly speakers included Emily Tracy, who is challenging Republican State Senator Randy Baumgardner for Senate District 8, and KC Becker, the Democratic incumbent for House District 13.
Baumgardner defeated Tracy in 2012, but Tracy said she believed the political landscape was changing in rural Colorado.
"Four years ago when I ran, 40 percent of the registered voters were registered Republican," Tracy said. "That has gone down to 35 percent, which is still a lot, but I think that's a significant drop."
Tracy added that she believed unaffiliated candidate Al White would split the vote with Baumgardner.
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Becker, who is currently running unopposed, gave the crowd a legislative update, saying she was planning to push back against Front Range water utilities looking to take more water from the West Slope.
In addition to water, Becker said public health was an important issue for her.
The representative said she had worked last year on a bill on state funding for long-acting reversible contraception, which includes intrauterine devices and implants, for low-income women.
The bill died in the Senate, but Becker said she planned to reintroduce the bill this year.
"We are bringing it back this year, and I actually think we're going to get it passed this year," Becker said to applause.
Becker also addressed decreases in state and federal funding for wildfires.
"I am probably not going to have a lot of success in increasing funding for wildfire this year, because we just don't have the money in this state," Becker said.
But Becker said she had proposed a state tax credit for landowners that try to mitigate wildfires on their own property.
Notably absent from the assembly was Grand County Commissioner Jane Tollett, the Democratic incumbent for District One.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.