Hoping to avoid controversy: Grand Lake Constitution Week returns
The town of Grand Lake will be offering a free shuttle service for select hours during the U.S. Constitution Week, Sept. 11 through Sept. 16, in order to alleviate congestion and parking demand in the downtown area.
The Grand Lake Center will be used as the main park-and-ride location: Stop #1 is 301 Marina Dr, Grand Lake, CO 80447.Consider using this shuttle service if visiting for Constitution Week as there will be limited parking downtown. Call the Grand Lake Town Hall at 970-627-3435 if you have additional questions.
For the past half-decade, citizens of Grand Lake and from across the region have taken a week in mid-September to celebrate the nation’s foundational legal document with Constitution Week. This year’s Constitution Week kicks off Monday and organizers are hoping for a little less controversy than in previous years.
The 2016 Constitution Week event sparked some controversy in Middle Park, stemming largely from the event’s keynote speaker, Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee, and relating to concerns over partisanship at the ostensibly nonpartisan celebration.
After hearing complaints last year, event organizers asked those with concerns to participate in the event’s organization process, and speaker selection process, in the lead up to this year’s event.
One such individual took them up on their offer.
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Grand Lake resident Neal Cross worked closely with Constitution Week founder Tom Goodfellow this year and local citizen Mike Tompkins to make the event a reality. To allay concerns about the ideological makeup of the event’s speakers, Goodfellow allowed Cross to select four of the 10 speakers coming to Grand Lake in 2017.
“I had a couple goals,” Cross said. “One was to bring more center to center left participant speakers and the other was to make sure their topics were embedded in the Constitution. I really wanted their topics to stem from the Constitution, as opposed to current politics.”
Cross was deeply appreciative of Goodfellow’s support in his efforts.
“I was very pleased with how Tom encouraged me,” Cross said. “He never questioned my suggestions. He helped me with possible people to contact.
“I hope this is a successful year.”
Mike Tompkins, one of the local residents of Grand Lake who helps Goodfellow organize the event, sees this year’s Constitution Week, and the inclusion of Cross’s selected speakers, as an important aspect of the political discourse that swirls around this entire discussion.
“I think when individuals of widely divergent views discuss matters you get less violence, like we have seen on the coasts in Charlottesville and Berkeley,” Tompkins said. “This is the opposite of that. There are lots of controversial issues [related to the Constitution]. We hit a lot of nerves. If it was all settled all our Supreme Court decisions would be 9-0. This has been up for debate for hundreds of years, and we hope everyone goes away learning something new.”
Constitution Week kicks off at 11:30 a.m. Monday with a presentation from one of Cross’s selected speakers, Dr. Peter Hulac, who will present, “Rediscovering the Center in American Culture: Guided by the US Constitution.”
Event founder Goodfellow highlighted 2017’s keynote speaker, Michael Cutler, a retired former senior special agent for the former federal agency Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The full schedule of events for the week can be found online at usconstitutionweek.org, or by checking out the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce’s website.
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