June 8, 2012
Sen. Jean White, Rep. Randy Baumgardner and candidate Sacha Weis debate issues Thursday night at the Center of Craig.
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Ray Beck, a Craig resident and city council member, may have said it best when asked Thursday night if there was an obvious standout among candidates vying for Colorado Senate District 8. “I don’t know if there is a clear winner yet,” Beck said. “Seriously, there was a lot of agreement on the big issues (facing the state).” Ray’s assessment of Thursday night’s debate between SD8 incumbent Jean White, R-Hayden, current House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis was a logical reaction among the more than 50 local voters who attended the event hosted by the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. Although the candidates seemed to agree on state issues such as taxes, energy, education and protecting Colorado’s water rights, their level of preparedness left an impression on some local voters. “Sacha, I thought, was unprepared. I think she presented herself all right, but I didn’t think she was aware of the issues,” said Robert Whitehead, of Craig. “I thought Randy did a great job and so did Jean, to be honest. I don’t have to say who my preference is, but I think Randy and Jean knew the issues and prepared themselves well.” Though linked in their arguments favoring a flat tax and in defending Northwest Colorado’s coal industry, there was a divide on a particular social issue that has long been a topic of debate in Colorado and around the country. In May, following Gov. John Hickenlooper’s calling of a special session of the General Assembly, the House Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs voted down Senate Bill 12-002 by a 5-4 vote. SB12-002, Concerning the Authorization of Civil Unions, would have granted same sex couples the right to marry.