Routt County Democrats hold virtual fundraiser with local, state and federal officials |

Routt County Democrats hold virtual fundraiser with local, state and federal officials

Sen. Michael Bennet speaks virtually during the Routt County Democrats fundraiser Saturday.

The Routt County Democratic Party and the area’s democratic candidates are used to spending annual fundraisers inside the Steamboat Springs Community Center for a lively night of speeches, applause and socializing.

Saturday’s fundraiser was different, with attendees wearing casual clothes and attending from their homes via Zoom due to COVID-19. However, the event’s organizers still did their best to replicate the authentic feeling and remind attendees of the event’s purpose: to elect and re-elect Democrats both locally, statewide and federally.

All three Routt County commissioners delivered speeches, along with Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Dylan Roberts, who represents Routt and Eagle counties, Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, and former county commissioner and congressional candidate Diane Mitsch Bush.

While the speeches varied, each centered around several common themes: ending the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring Routt County meets its vaccine goal; protecting the area’s public lands from wildfires; ensuring affordable housing and health care are accessible to all; and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.

“We need to be thinking about how we are going to strengthen our democracy and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the people at the very top,” Bennet said.

Bennet also discussed the importance of eradicating poverty, particularly among children, and protecting the state’s environment. These ideas, he said, are only achievable when Democrats hold offices “up and down the ticket.”

“What we need to do is protect and grow the majority in congress, which is historically difficult in midterm elections,” he said. “Democrats have a moral obligation to win these races for the sake of our country and for the sake of our future.”

Bennet also discussed the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and said it was “the result of rhetoric by our previous president.”

“We are living in a time where the Republican candidates are likely to be Trump Republicans, not conventional Republicans,” he said. “The hard work that the Routt County Democratic Party does is going to mean a lot to the future of Colorado.”

Other speakers spoke to the importance of enacting Democratic parties on a hyperlocal level.

“Just think how differently Routt County might’ve responded to the pandemic if we had another commission in place,” Corrigan said. “Ask yourself if Routt County would be adopting a climate action plan or pursuing child care options without progressive and diverse candidates leading the county through these perilous times.”

The county’s other two commissioners spoke largely about the pandemic, as they have been tasked with monitoring local COVID-19 cases and enforcing mask and social distancing rules coming from the state, which were often unpopular among county residents.

“We’ve used science to make some really, really tough decisions,” Melton said. “It has been a really tough year, and it’s so exciting that now we get to work on something besides the pandemic.”

Redmond echoed the others’ concerns and said he hopes to begin focusing on affordable housing as Routt County continues to grow and become more expensive.

“We need to have a community that can let young people move in and start their families here,” he said. “Without that, this community will die.”

The Routt County Republican Party has not yet hosted its annual fundraiser.

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