Candidate makes a 'Colorado Promise'

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The campaign trail for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter made a temporary stop Saturday in Craig, where he laid before local voters his platform dubbed, the "Colorado Promise."

Both Ritter, D-Denver, and opponent Bob Beauprez, R-Arvada, made Craig and Northwest Colorado a campaign priority this week by stopping in for visits and discussions with local voters. Beauprez and his staff toured the Boys and Girls Club of Craig Thursday and attended a fundraiser that night at a private residence.

Ritter appeared at Breeze Street Park before a gathering of voters from both parties.

In his address, the former Denver district attorney said his main priority would be reinvesting in the state's public education, health care and transportation systems.

That message, Ritter said, hasn't varied during a campaign that's taken him into 60 of 64 counties. The issues he's discussing in the campaign -- education, health care and transportation -- are universal to all state residents and above partisan politics, the candidate said.

"We've really had a good opportunity to sit down and talk with people," Ritter said. "Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, those are all issues that resonate with everybody. ... We have to pay attention to what kind of state we're leaving to our kids and grandkids."

Without investing in the future, Ritter said, "you do so at your own peril." He rattled off statistics that indicate that Colorado is woefully behind in the availability of health care to all residents and per-pupil education funding.

"As a state we can do much better than that," Ritter said.

Terry Carwile, chairman of the Moffat County Democratic Party, organized the Ritter gathering in Craig and estimated that 25 to 30 voters attended the rally.

He said the bi-partisan attendance, especially in an area like Moffat County where Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly a three-to-one ration, indicated that Ritter's message is reaching voters.

"That shows there is some interest in the candidate and I think he's a strong candidate," Carwile said.

Ritter served as district attorney for 12 years. In 1987, he and his wife, Jeannie Ritter, left Denver for Zambia, Africa, where they worked for three years running a food distribution and nutrition center as lay missionaries for the Catholic Church.

His opponent, Beauprez, has been a GOP member of the House of Representatives, representing the Seventh Congressional District, since 2003. Before being elected to Congress, Beauprez worked as a farmer, land developer and banker.

Saturday's visit was the second for Ritter since he announced his candidacy for governor. In March, he spoke with about 40 voters at Serendipity Coffee Shop.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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