Rotarians come with questions for Stewart

Craig Rotary Club members took an opportunity Tuesday to probe deeper into the platform offered by a candidate for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's office.

Tammy Stewart, Democratic contender for the position, described her campaign as one built on "reason, experience and justice" to a group of about 15 Rotarians during their regular meeting Tuesday morning.

Stewart, a Steamboat Springs resident, has 19 years of legal experience and 12 years' experience as a Deputy District Attorney in Colorado, according to campaign literature provided at the meeting.

She currently is an assistant Moffat County attorney and served as a prosecutor in Routt County during 2005 and 2006.

Stewart offered her campaign as an alternative to what she described as the status quo.

"We need positive change in our district attorney's office," she said. "The same thing for the past 20 years isn't working anymore."

She described other keystones of her platform, which include programs to protect the elderly and children and addressing drug problems within the district.

Residents at the meeting, however, had other questions on their mind.

Rotarian Len Browning asked what she would do to halt attorney attrition.

"It's all about management," Stewart said. "It's all about leadership. You have to support your deputy district attorneys.

"You have to make sure that you're hearing their issues, that you're going to every single office."

Stewart described how she would fill the duties of the 14th Judicial District, which encompasses Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.

If elected, Stewart plans to visit each office in the judicial district once a week. By doing so, she hopes to help curb the turnover rate within the district.

Stewart said her Steamboat Springs location would put her within similar travel distance from Moffat and Grand counties. Republican Elizabeth Oldham, Stewart's opponent and assistant district attorney, is stationed in Grand County, the easternmost of the three counties included in the Judicial District.

Stewart targeted the location as a possible weakness for her opponent.

Oldham's Grand Lake home base is "a long way from Craig," Stewart said.

In contrast, Gene Bilodeau asked Stewart to describe her professional and personal opinion on illegal immigration in the area. He posed the same question to Oldham when she visited the Rotary Club in July.

"My professional opinion is that you shouldn't be awarded because you're here illegally," Stewart said, adding that illegal immigrants often are given probation and deportation for crimes that would warrant prison time for legal residents.

"If you're in this country illegally and you commit a crime, you (should) face exactly the same consequence," she said.

Her answer to the second half of Bilodeau's question suggested that finding a long-term solution to the issue could be complex.

"Personally, there is no answer," Stewart said, adding that the issue has roots in society and the economy. "We all know that. It's a big problem."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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