Colorado's Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who is campaigning to be the state’s next attorney general, visited Craig on Monday as part of her Western Slope meet and greet tour.
Community members were welcome to come to the event at The Memorial Hospital, get to know the candidate and talk about the political issues currently facing Northwest Colorado.
Coffman addressed the attorney general’s role in government and what she valued from that work. It would be her job, she said, to uphold the constitutions of both the state and the nation.
“To me, it’s the most important work we do, defending the Constitution,” she said.
The small group of constituents spoke with Coffman about the three driving factors in Moffat County’s economy: energy, agriculture and hunting.
Incoming regulations at the state and federal level could push the traditional energy business underwater, jobs along with it, said Brandi Meek, Moffat County chairwoman of the Republican committee.
“I’m all for more renewable energies. I think we all are, but we don’t have the technology now,” Meek said.
Moffat County resident Bonnie Hampton spoke about the negative impact excessive public lands regulations could have on the agricultural and energy community. If the greater sage grouse were listed as threatened or endangered, it would put ranchers and energy companies at a disadvantage, she said.
“As a state, we’ve been inhospitable to companies out there now,” she said.
Coffman agreed it was an important issue.
“We also have a group of (state) attorney generals who get together and work on these issues,” she said, “Every time we meet, the sage grouse are on the agenda.”
New anti-gun laws also put a strain on Craig’s economy, said Frank Moe, owner of the Best Western Inn and Suites.
“It has made an effect,” he said.
While the attorney general’s office defended the anti-gun legislation, it was not because the staff of the office agreed with the laws, Coffman said. It was because defending the laws in the book is the responsibility of the attorney general, she said.
Coffman offered that she would not have voted in favor of the legislation and that the laws were just written as “an effort to do something in reaction to tragedy.”
The best way to confront these challenges, everyone agreed, was to make sure candidates who were conscious of rural Colorado’s problems got elected.
“Hopefully, with these upcoming elections, we can get some people elected who have concern about this area,” Moe said.
Rural Colorado should be considered a crucial part of the whole state, Hampton said.
“I don’t think people have a clue how beneficial the Western Slope is to them,” she said.
Coffman is up against State Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, and former district attorney of Adams and Broomfield counties, Don Quick, a Democrat. If she makes it through the April 12 state assembly, registered voters will see her name on the June primary ballot.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.