Campaign trail leads to Craig (8-4-06)

GOP gubernatorial candidate dubs youth facility as 'special'


Craig youth Michael Hough, working as de facto tour guide, ushered a troop of children and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez around the Boys & Girls Club of Craig on Thursday afternoon.

Craig was one stop on Beauprez's campaign trail across Northwest Colorado. On Wednesday, he appeared at Colorado Northwestern Community College's Rangely campus.

"I want to see whatever you want to show me," Beauprez told Hough and the flock of youths flanking him at the center. "You're the boss."

Beauprez, R-Arvada, and Bill Ritter, D-Denver, will meet in the November general election. They are vying to succeed Gov. Bill Owens.

Beauprez, his wife, Claudia, and a few campaign staffers, toured the 13,000-square-foot facility with Boys & Girls Club Director Jonathan Godes. The 57-year-old congressman said he came away from the tour impressed with Craig's youth facility.

"This is special," he said. "You're doing a great job. Jonathan, obviously, has been very committed."

Beauprez has been a GOP member of the House of Representatives, representing the Seventh Congressional District, since 2003. Before entering politics, he worked as a farmer, land developer and banker.

The congressman said he was impressed with CNCC, as well. He cited the school's implementation of a training program for future employees of the energy industry as a "good case study" for other institutions across the state.

Beauprez said he and his wife are familiar with Craig. They have purchased hay in the area and have visited the city for years as spectators of Triple Crown youth tournaments.

"This is a special part of the state," he said. "I can't get too much."

As governor, Beauprez said he would represent the interests of citizens across the state. He said his opponent, Ritter, is lifetime "Denver-ite" who is out-of-touch with the needs of residents throughout the state.

While in Congress, Beauprez has served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Small Business Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

Ritter's campaign issued a press release Tuesday criticizing Beauprez's support of "out of control" drilling on the Western Slope.

"I strongly encourage Congressman Beauprez to do the right thing and stand up to the Republican House leadership," said Ritter, Denver's former district attorney, in the press release. "The Western Slope must be protected. If the congressman won't protect Colorado's best interests in Washington, then he certainly won't do it from the state capitol."

Beauprez was scheduled to attend a fundraiser Thursday night at the home of a Craig resident and resume his campaign schedule Friday in Burlington.

Ritter and running mate Barbara O'Brien have events scheduled Saturday in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties. They are scheduled to meet with the Sportsmen for Ritter from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Breeze Street Park, at West Seventh and Breeze streets in Craig.

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