Rifle High hosts a hot debate | PostIndependent.com

Rifle High hosts a hot debate

The cool night air in Rifle didn’t have much impact on the state of affairs in the Rifle High School Auditorium on Wednesday night as Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bob Beauprez and Democratic Candidate Bill Ritter debated the energy issues in Garfield County.”I think it will be interesting to hear more than just sound-bites on the evening news,” said Jeff Moddelmog of Rifle. “It’s going to be interesting to hear what they really have to say.”Before the debate, citizens of Rifle and the surrounding areas smiled as they entered the building. Some of them seemed excited and some where just there to hear what the two candidates had to say. And some already had their minds made up.”I came tonight because I want to see Bob Beauprez elected,” said Wayne Thomsen of Rifle. His wife Judy would not jump to conclusions so quickly, as she wanted to hear what the two had to say before making up her mind, she said.But for Jim Jackson of Parachute, a gas industry worker for 30 years who may feel some impact depending on who gets elected, the debate had deeper meaning to him.”I just want to see a fair chance given to the gas and oil industry in the area,” Jackson said. “The politicians need to understand that we have people to take care of, too.”Jim Jackson and his co-worker, Mitch Steinke, both work for EnCana Oil and Gas around Rifle and have an interest in the debate because of the attention that the oil and gas industry within the county has drawn from around the state.”I just wanted to show up and hear what both sides had to say about the energy issues,” Steinke said. “I also wanted to support the industry and make the company’s presence known here tonight.”

Steinke has also worked in the gas industry for 26 years.The debate was anticipated to be heated over the energy issues. The consensus after the debate was that it was extremely heated, in large part, due to the temperature of the auditorium. Ron Milhorn, news reporter for 99.1 KTMS and moderator for the debate, broke the tension, asking if “either of the candidates needed a towel,” to remove the sweat from their brow. The audience gave their first response of the evening with laughter.”I see people fanning themselves like southern Baptist,” Milhorn joked.The event was also anticipated to be a full house, according to organizer and executive director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado Aron Diaz. Tickets ran out days before the event, and everyone without a ticket had to sit in the gym and watch from a direct-feed television monitor. Not to worry, though – crickets could be heard inside the gym, because not even the auditorium filled up completely.Overall, when it was all over, most people felt that they hadn’t learned anything new on the issues.”It was interesting,” said Buddy Kring of Boulder. “But, I don’t think I heard anything new tonight.”Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604jgardner@postindependent.com

Reactions”Its just a lot of nonsense.” Ted Applegate – Glenwood Springs”I believe Beauprez is paying more attention to the local issues and is interested in keeping government out, he’s taking action, not just talking.” Joel Williford – Parachute”I guess they are both better politicians than I thought, about Rifle and the energy situation around here. It was interesting to hear what they had to say about the issues.” Roy Savage – Rifle

“It was a classic debate between a talker and a doer. Bob is the doer, Bill is the talker.” Ken White – Rifle”I think it was pretty even. Nothing that hasn’t been said before.” Dave Moore – Glenwood Springs”It was interesting, but I don’t feel that I learned anything new.” Buddy Kring – Boulder”I feel they both did a good job side stepping the main issues that affect our county.” Chris Bedell – Garfield County”I thought that it was a great opportunity to hear their point of view on the things going on in our county. It’s good to see Denver politicians interested in what goes on here.” Susan Aluillar – Grand Junction

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