Gaining a better understanding
Democratic candidate meets with local Republicans to try and work together in ridding the political landscape of hate and divisiveness
In an effort to extend an olive branch to the right, Democratic Congressional District 3 candidate Colin Wilhelm, a Glenwood Springs resident, made the trip to Craig March 24 to speak to a local contingent at the Village Inn in hopes of gaining more of an understanding of issues from an opposing few.
Wilhelm, a criminal defense lawyer in Glenwood, was joined by local residents Scott Lang and Kevin Watson to try to mend the divide that exists in this country and pitch them on why he would be a better representative for CD3 than current Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
Lang shared his thoughts on the encounter in a lengthy Facebook post in the Craig Community chat. “As a person, I found that I like Colin Wilhelm. I like his manner. I like that he spoke to us in plain language and left the campaign rhetoric alone. I like that when asked a direct question he tried his best to answer it….I didn’t agree with everything he said, nor did he agree with me, but there was always mutual respect at the table.”
In a March 29 interview, Lang touched on those thoughts again, stating that the hate he’s seeing from both sides of the political landscape is becoming too much.
“Coming from the stance from the right or the left, the hate is sickening,” Lang said. “If you’re on the right you’re racist; if you’e on the left, you’re a communist. I’m just so tired of being called a name for disagreeing with someone else’s way of thinking. Colin thinks the same way.
“We came together in the vain of, what can we do as a bipartisan meeting here to address that and work on that and get the message out that if we think differently, it doesn’t make the opposing side the enemy?” Lang said. “I give him a lot of credit for walking into the lion’s den here. The two of us [Kevin Watson and Lang] sat there with him and really ended up liking the guy. If the community is going to see a Democrat and Republican sitting down, getting along and working together, it can only be good.”
The trio spoke for almost an hour at the Village Inn about everything from the attack on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, to the criminal justice system and reforms that Wilhelm hopes to help enact. Wilhelm is part of an ever-increasing pool of people that are hoping to make Representative Boebert a one-term congressperson. He hopes to stand out amongst his competitors by putting forth an effort to reach across the aisle.
“One thing that I have been able to do is reach out across that aisle and talk to people and find out what’s important to them. I think that shows an electability and I think that sets me apart from the other people,” Wilhelm said. “I’m really passionate about the fact that this is a civic duty, it’s not something that I want for myself ego wise; it’s something that I want to do to give back to the people and I think that sets me apart as well.”
This is not Wilhelm’s first attempt at holding public office as he previously ran for the Colorado House of Representatives District 57 seat in 2018 and 2020 and fell short. He has used this as a learning experience to help him in this campaign cycle.
Wilhelm is coming into this election cycle with a plan to help the Moffat County community with the transition away from Craig Station and Trapper Mine.
”We need to make sure that people here in Moffat County, in Craig, and Rio Blanco have the ability to find and get jobs. So, I’ve been working with different stakeholders and county officials and state officials to try to make that a priority,” he said. “There is a multi-faceted approach that we are working on. It’s not just about the economic distress that is coming. It’s also about the mental health aspect and protecting the people during that time period as well.”
Following the meeting, Lang said he’s looking forward to meeting with Wilhelm in the near future, and realizes that he’s not that different from himself.
“What I took away from it is something that I suspected: Colin is a human being; he’s got a family, he’s got kids. He cares and loves his country the same that I do, he just does it in a different way,“ Lang said. ”We just disagree on what the best way forward is for the country. He’s not close-minded. If we can come together, once we realize we’re not that different, we could get something done.“
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