Grand County: U.S., state races draw a host of candidates
February 8, 2008
A Hot Sulphur Springs resident is running for Colorado’s House of Representatives.
The House District 57 seat, held for eight years by part-time Winter Park resident Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, is being vacated as he enters the ace for state Senate District 8 against Kenneth (Ken) Brenner, D-Steamboat Springs.
Republican Randy Baumgardner is seeking office in a race against Democratic candidate Robert Hagenbuch of Phippsburg to fill the House District 57 seat being vacated by White.
Baumgardner, a highway maintenance employee for the Colorado Department of Transportation for more than 10 years, said he hopes to continue the fight for West Slope water.
“I want to see that what has started into motion stays in motion,” he said. “Being a rancher myself, I’ve figured out in the last 13 years that water is important to this community and I realize there has to be a balance between irrigation, maintaining livestock and fishing and rafting for recreation.”
He has lived in Hot Sulphur Springs two years but has been in Grand County since 1994 and has been attending interagency water board meetings.
“We must find alternatives to keep water in the river where it needs to be,” he said.
Aside from his work at CDOT, he and his wife Lori own a cattle business and lease several thousand acres from the Bureau of Land Management.
His platform also includes finding a balance for motorized BLM trails and that of camping areas and hiking, finding ways to address the mountain pine beetle epidemic, health care and education.
Running for office, he said, “is something I’ve been thinking about for quite awhile because personally, I haven’t liked seeing the way some things are happening. I hope to change them to make them better. I have no personal agendas; I’m here to listen to the public and get done what they would like done.”
In Colorado Senate District 16, Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, has not yet filed his paperwork, though he is running as the incumbent after being appointed late last year to fill the term of Joan Fitz-Gerald, who vacated the seat to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. The appointed state senator’s opponent is Republican Donald Ytterberg of Evergreen.
A former congressional staffer for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, Gibbs, said he is setting up town hall meetings and coffee shop hearings in Grand County to create a forum in which to hear local concerns, “and based on those concerns, take them to the state Capitol,” he said. As an advisor to Udall, Gibbs worked behind the scenes on several issues such as defending the Fraser River, earmarking improvements for Highway 40, working with the Three Lakes Watershed Association regarding Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake and helping to allow Grand Lake elder Betty Dick live the remainder of her life at her home in Rocky Mountain National Park.
So far in the Senate, Gibbs has been a proponent in seeking funding for communities hit by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Grand County Democratic voters will be choosing their party candidates in the primary on Aug. 12.
The race for the 2nd Congressional District is holding strong with three leading candidates vying for Rep. Mark Udall’s seat: former Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, former Great Outdoors Colorado Executive Director Will Shafroth and former Colorado Board of Education member Jared Polis.
Udall is vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard at the end of his second term. His lone Democratic opponent is state Democratic Executive Committee member Mark Benner, who advocates single-payer health insurance, which Udall has not endorsed, and the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, which Udall also does not support, according to a report from the online “Colorado Confidential.”
The successful Senate Democratic candidate will run against Republican Bob Shaffer, who from 1997 until early 2003 represented Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
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