Last nights Old Fashioned Political Rally at the Ranch was gala affair even though the major party candidates for U.S. Senate and the governorship did not attend. The line up of speakers was continuous from the 5:40 p.m. start time until nearly 9 o’clock. The 50 booths of candidates and issue committees offered rally goers the opportunity to discuss issues and candidate’s qualification one-on-one. Many of the attendees left the hall at the end of the evening carrying an armful of political signs.
Two races of interest to southern Larimer County are the Colorado Senate and House seats now held by appointed Republicans.
In the House District 49 competition, appointed incumbent B.J. Nikkel took the podium first. She touted her record as a freshmen legislator in the minority party, citing seven of her bills passed and saying that this shows her ability to work with both parties. She then made reference to her opponent in this race, Karen Stockley. She said that Stockley was opposed to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), a large water storage project in Northern Colorado and that water was so critical that this project was needed for the good of the community.
When Stockley’s turn came, she cited her being the owner of a small business and understanding the problems facing small business. As a native, fourth generation Coloradoan, she felt she understood Colorado and its people better than her opponent. She affirmed that she is opposed to NISP. She understands the importance of water, and even water storage, but feels that the monetary cost of NISP will outweigh it benefits and will saddle the residents of its membership communities with high taxes for decades.
The other race of interest is the competition between extreme conservative Republican Kevin Lundberg and conservative Democrat Richard Ball.
Lundberg spent his four minutes affirming his commitment to defending our civil liberties and maintaining his conservative principals even when it is unpopular. Lundberg did not give any examples of what he intends to do as senator to uphold these issues (see letter to the editor by Carl Bruning).
Richard Ball cited his long family history in Loveland and his commitment to community service. As a retired businessman, he said he understands the importance of business to the community. Ball said he had visited every business store in Loveland, Estes Park and Berthoud and the message was we need jobs and economic development and these were the issues he felt needed attention at the state house. He also pointed out that his opponent supports Amendments 60 and 61, resolutions which Ball feels would hurt business in Colorado if passed.
All four candidates were surrounded by supporters carrying signs and this year the sponsors had instituted rules that eliminated the heckling that had occurred in some previous years.
It is unlikely that anyone was swayed by the speeches of the candidates. Judging by the reaction of the spectators, the majority of people in the crowd had already chosen their candidate.
There was also a lot of political rhetoric and clichés that gave no indication about how the candidate proposed to solve the problems facing Northern Colorado.
The Citizens First Forum in Berthoud this evening hopes to avoid that lack of substance in political speeches. The candidates, or their representatives, have been asked to refrain from playing a “blame game” and to tell us what specific actions they would undertake if elected. The forum will be in the Berthoud Library meeting room, with the program starting at 7 p.m.