Garfield County precinct caucus reports | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County precinct caucus reports

Greg Masse
and Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

By Greg Masse

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Coffee, laughter and casual talk about the issues marked Garfield County’s Republican caucuses on Tuesday.

The neighborhood meetings are a place for people to meet, talk about the candidates and share ideas and concerns with each other.

At the Glenwood Springs Precinct 12 Republican caucus, held at Gregg and Marilee Rippy’s home near Mitchell Creek, the first order of business was electing a precinct chairperson.

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Annie Jolley was nominated and she accepted. A show of hands solidified her new position.

In all, 10 people participated in the caucus. They sat in a rough circle on couches, a piano bench and fold-out chairs.

Next, letters from Republican candidates were passed around the room.

Then it was time for the main order of business, choosing six delegates to represent the precinct at the Garfield County Assembly on April 24.

“I think this is a really important election from all standpoints,” said Sandi Vallario, who was elected as an alternate delegate to the assembly.

After precinct election judges were picked, campaign literature was passed around from candidates running in different races, including that of 3rd District Congressman candidate Gregg Rippy, who wasn’t able to attend the caucus.

“Why anyone would want any of these jobs is beyond me,” Marilee Rippy joked.

No decisions were made at the caucuses. Rather, there was mostly just discussion on races, candidates and about the scheduling of the county, state and national assemblies.

“We really won’t know until the county assembly when the delegates vote,” Republican Party Chairman Jim Larson said Wednesday.

In Carbondale, four Republican precincts ” Nos. 1-4 ” gathered at the Days Inn hotel.

“It was mostly just electing people for the county assembly,” outgoing Precinct 1 Chairwoman Sharon Brenner said. “Compared to the caucus of two years ago, there were twice as many people.”

She attributed the increase in participation to having a local U.S. Congress candidate ” Gregg Rippy ” and the other important races happening this election season.

Like the other precincts, no solid choices were made.

“That’s pretty much going to be left up to the delegates at the county assembly,” she said.

The Garfield County Republican Assembly is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Delegates should arrive at 9 a.m. to get credentials.

By Carrie Click

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” More people than ever before attended Garfield County’s Democrat precinct caucuses Tuesday night, according to Don Kaufman, Garfield County Democratic Party chair.

“We had a record turnout,” said Kaufman. “We were blown away by the response.”

About 50 people from Glenwood’s eight precincts ” including a man from Great Britain, a couple of toddlers, and three Republicans who voiced their disapproval of the current Bush administration ” gathered in Room 301 at the Garfield County Courthouse, spilling over into an adjoining room.

“The precinct caucus is the most fun and enjoyable part of the political process,” said Kaufman, addressing the crowd at the beginning of the meeting. “Thank you for pulling together and being here tonight.”

Among other agenda items, registered Democrats at the Glenwood meeting ” and at caucus meetings in Carbondale, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute ” voted for delegates and alternates to represent their precincts at the Democrats’ county assembly, to be held on Saturday, May 1, at Glenwood Springs High School.

They also voted for candidates for U.S. president and Colorado’s U.S. senator. County-wide, delegates cast the most votes for John Kerry and Ken Salazar, respectively (see box).

Pitches made

After Janette Kaufman read the state caucus rules aloud to the crowd, chair Don Kaufman, Janette’s son, introduced Bill Evans. Evans in turn made a pitch for John Salazar, one of four Democratic candidates running for the 3rd District congressional seat.

“His character and depth of knowledge as a fifth generation Colorado farmer and legislator is why I’ve chosen to put all my energy behind John,” Evans said.

Greg Jeung, a Glenwood Springs Democrat running for Garfield County Commissioner, also addressed the group.

Jeung told the crowd the three main issues facing Garfield County that he’s focusing on are energy resource development, public transportation and creating more efficient communication and collaborations with the county’s municipalities and school districts.

A place for discussion

Following opening remarks, neighbors gathered at eight long conference tables, each one representing a Glenwood neighborhood, or precinct.

Precinct 7, which incorporates much of Glenwood’s downtown neighborhood, topped out with 22 people in attendance. Although most precincts had healthy attendance, two precincts drew just one person each.

Scott Fleming of Precinct 5, near CMC’s Spring Valley campus, and Rosa O’Leary of Precinct 7, which encompasses the Park West, Glenwood Park and Park East neighborhoods, sat at a table together, working through their caucus paperwork and election processes.

“I’m surprised I’m the only one who showed up,” said O’Leary, who said this was the first precinct caucus she has attended. “I wasn’t planning on learning about this process this way, but I wanted to be here to participate on the local level.”

Precinct 6 finished up business first by choosing their delegates quickly and voting on presidential and senate candidates. The precinct, in south Glenwood Springs, encompasses a huge area of land, though only a small portion is actually inhabited by voting humans.

“We’re the squirrel vote,” said the precinct’s Sharon Jensen with a laugh.

Some precinct groups chose to discuss local and national issues, such as the county’s gas and oil development and the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

“Precinct caucuses give people a chance to talk over these issues,” said Kaufman. “Whether or not they’ll be incorporated into the Garfield County Democrat’s platform is to be seen, but the caucuses are a good place for discussion.”

Although results from Carbondale and Silt are not yet available, the following results outline how Democratic precinct caucus delegates voted Tuesday night, based on votes reported by precincts in Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Rifle and Parachute. These votes are not binding, though they gave party members an idea of how other Democrats in the county are leaning.

Garfield County delegate totals:

For U.S. president:

John Kerry 29

Dennis Kucinich 3

Howard Dean 2

For U.S. Senate:

Ken Salazar 20

Mike Miles 13

Glenwood Springs:

For U.S. president:

John Kerry18

Dennis Kucinich 3

For U.S. Senate:

Ken Salazar 10

Mike Miles 8

Uncommitted 3

New Castle:

For U.S. president:

John Kerry 6

For U.S. Senate:

Ken Salazar 4

Mike Miles 2

Rifle:

For U.S. president:

John Kerry 5

Howard Dean 2

For U.S. Senate:

Ken Salazar 5

Mike Miles 1

Parachute:

For U.S. president:

Uncommitted

For U.S. Senate:

Ken Salazar: 1

Mike Miles 2

OFFICIAL GARFIELD COUNTY POLITICAL PLATFORM

– Improve the economy

– Responsible growth

– Quality education

– Clean environment

– Reproductive choice

– Protect the Constitution

– Responsible resource development

– Safe, fast transportation

– Protect social security

– First-rate health care

– Vote for Kerry


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