Have Democrats changed? BEHIND THE HEADLINES | SteamboatToday.com

Have Democrats changed? BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Q. How has the membership and core principles of the Routt County Democratic Party changed in the last 50 years? Has the county’s shift from a primarily agricultural region to a more economically diverse area affected the party’s makeup?

A. Routt County Democratics (RCD) historically consisted of farming, ranching, mining, recreation, and trade labor unions.

These are still represented with additional emphasis today on tourism, the service industry and construction.

The core principles are support for working families and small business, a strong public education system, protection of the enviornment, insuring a woman’s right to choose and making government responsive and more accountable to those it serves and the taxpayers who pay for it.

Q. You have pledged to explore ways to increase local participation and interest in the Democratic Party. How do you intend to make this happen?

A. Many RCD and independents are already very active in local advocacy groups and causes. We will be visiting all of the population centers across Routt County and listening to their issues and ideas and building on their activism.

In addition we will be holding monthly meetings on a specific topic; for example, taxes, growth and airport issues.

These meetings will provide an educational component and a forum for input. Another way for involvement and to learn about public process will be to encourage participation on local commissions, committees and boards.

Q. Where does the strength of the local Democratic Party lie?

A. I believe the new Democratic Party is socially moderate and fiscally conservative. We are issue oriented and problem solving. Our strength is that our principles, ideals, and values support the social and economic needs of the working individuals and families that are the backbone of Routt County. President Clinton, Attorney General Salazar, Tom Strickland, Paul Ohri and Jay Fetcher all have recently won in Routt County.

Q. Why were there no local Democratic candidates on last November’s ballot? What will your party do differently to get their own people on the ballot in the next election?

A. We are going to change that. After years of experience, I am aware how important public service is. You can make a difference.

There are good candidates with passion, vision and proven leadership skills. I believe there is growing interest in the Democratic Party’s principles and vision of Routt County’s future. RCD will develop a structure that can identify, encourage and support candidates in the future.

Q. Do Democrats and Republicans hold different philosophical and political views at the local level? Would your party welcome partisan affiliation for city and count officials?

A. Our differences may not be as obvious as they are at the state and federal level, but we are different. Democrats do not believe subsidies to local special interests while cutting services to the middle class are in the best interest of our community. Democrats encourage public/private partnerships that identify issues and solve problems. Government provides an organizing influence on the local economy and culture. Elections within the towns of our county are subject to the Colorado State Municipal Election Code (Title 31-10-302) which states “candidates will be nominated without regard to party affiliation.”

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