Gubernatorial candidate to visit Craig |
Brian Smith

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Gubernatorial candidate to visit Craig

Democrat John Hickenlooper planning visit to Center of Craig, Rotary Club

John Hickenlooper

Ted Crook, chairman of the Moffat County Democratic Party, said Democratic candidates on the campaign trail sometimes overlook Moffat County.

"I think there has been a tendency on the part of some candidates to ignore this area, especially Democratic candidates," he said.

Factors such as size, location and population also play on candidate decisions to campaign in areas other than Moffat County, Crook said.

"You have a county as big as Connecticut with 12,000 people in it," he said. "You have city blocks over there in Denver with more people."

Next week, however, Moffat County voters will have an opportunity to hear a Democratic candidate for governor.

Denver Mayor and gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper will stop in Craig next week for two events.

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Hickenlooper will appear for a meet and greet from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

Crook said the meeting is open to the public and members of any political party are welcome to attend.

Hickenlooper will also be speaking at the Craig Rotary Club meeting at 7 a.m. Tuesday at the Golden Cavvy, 538 Yampa Ave. The Rotary meeting is also open to the public.

Rotary Club member Gene Bilodeau said Hickenlooper will give a short presentation to the crowd before opening the floor to questions.

Crook said he was pleased to hear Hickenlooper would be in Craig.

"He is committed to try to get a presence in every single county," he said. "I think it is wonderful that he is doing that, even though Denver is what is going to elect him."

Hickenlooper was born in Narbeth, Pa., and moved to Colorado in 1981.

He took office as Denver's mayor in 2003 and is running for governor unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

The candidate pool for governor includes Hickenlooper, Republican candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo.

Bilodeau said he likes that Hickenlooper decided to campaign in Northwest Colorado, but was unsure if the candidate could change residents' minds.

"Personally, I just don't see a Democrat influencing folks in Northwest Colorado very much," he said. "But, I do think people would be interested in knowing what he has to say, especially with what is going on in the Republican Party.

"There is some real transition going there."

Bilodeau said Hickenlooper "brings a lot of strengths" to the gubernatorial race because he is not a career politician.

"Even though we are in a Republican area, it is shaping up that the door might have been opened wider for a Democrat to become governor," he said. "To that end, regardless of what someone's affiliation is, I think they would be interested in what he has to say."

Craig City Council member Terry Carwile said residents attending either event will be "very impressed with the guy."

"I think it is in anybody's interest, especially when there is a candidate as strong as Mayor Hickenlooper, that they should come and hear what (he has) to say," he said. "You're looking at a guy who has the advantage campaign-wise. I don't think it is lost on anybody — Democrat or Republican."

Carwile thinks Hickenlooper also has some awareness of rural issues despite what some critics may believe, he said.

Crook said he is not as worried as others about Hickenlooper's ability to manage natural resources in Northwest Colorado.

"I don't think he would do anything that would impact that in any real degree," Crook said.

Moffat County Commissioners Tom Mathers, Tom Gray and Audrey Danner said they would attend one, if not both, of the Hickenlooper events.

"I want to ask him how he feels about our natural resources, meaning the natural gas, oil and coal," Mathers said. "I think that is something I would like to ask him point blank in front of everybody and hold his feet to the fire."

If you go

What: Meet and greet with John Hickenlooper

When: 5 to 6 p.m. Monday

Where: Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave

— The event is open to the public. For more information, call Ted Crook at 734-9000.

What: Craig Rotary Club meeting featuring John Hickenlooper

When: 7 a.m. Tuesday

Where: Golden Cavvy, 538 Yampa Ave.

— The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call Randy Looper at 826-4444.