Romanoff speaks to Garfield County Democrats in New Castle | PostIndependent.com
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Romanoff speaks to Garfield County Democrats in New Castle

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Andrew Romanoff
ALL |

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff spoke to local Democrats on Saturday at the New Castle Community Center during the Garfield County Democrat’s central committee meeting.

The stop was just one of several, as Romanoff continues his campaign toward the democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

In a preliminary race against Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet, D-Colo. – that is shaping up to be a tale of David vs. Goliath – Romanoff remains confident that he can pull out a victory, not only in the preliminary race, but in the U.S. Senate race as well.



“I’m running because I think the Senate has become the place where good ideas go to die,” Romanoff said.

Even with President Barack Obama backing Bennet at a fundraiser in Denver in February, Romanoff said that it’s important that Colorado voters have the final decision as to who represents them in Congress.



“While I respect the President, and support him and campaigned for him myself last fall, he is not registered to vote in Colorado,” Romanoff said. “And I’m focused on the three million people that are.”

While some think that a preliminary race to a heavily contested Senate seat may open the door for Republicans to swoop in and gain another victory, it’s Romanoff’s opinion that a little healthy competition may strengthen Democrats chances of retaining the seat.

“There is a person in the job now, thanks to the Governor’s [Ritter] decision, but my view is that the seat is coming open this year because nobody’s been elected to it yet,” Romanoff said.

Bennet, the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, was named to the Senate by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter in January 2009 to finish then Senator Ken Salazar’s term. Salazar was appointed Secretary of Interior by President Obama.

Romanoff called elections the most democratic thing in the world saying, “It gives voters a choice.”

And so far, voters may be listening to what he’s got to say.

A recent Rasmussen poll in early February reported Republican hopeful Jane Norton leading Sen. Bennet by 14 points, however, Norton led Romanoff by only seven points.

The reason could be Romanoff’s critical stance on the current atmosphere of Congress.

“I tell people, ‘If you like the way that Washington works, vote for somebody else’,” he said.

Romanoff, a staunch proponent of health care reform, said that the health care debate is a perfect example of what is broken in Washington D.C. He said that insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other special interest groups have “bought and paid” for Congress.

“If so many members of both sides of the isle are collecting lavish campaign contributions from the industries they are supposed to be regulating, it’s no wonder that more doesn’t get done,” Romanoff said.

A lot of folks on my own side of the isle, I’m sad to say, seem to lack the courage of their conviction,” He said. “They are not willing to stand up and do what is right.”

Romanoff said that the United States Supreme Court’s decision to allow corporations to make unlimited independent expenditure advertisements for candidates they support, exacerbates the problems already apparent in Congress.

“I think that decision is an asterisks for democracy,” he said. “It will send a chill down the spine of every member of Congress that still has one.”

The danger of that decision, he said, is that Congress will sell out its constituents for the sake of its corporate contributors.

“And I think we are seeing that already,” he said. “And I think that the court just exacerbated that danger.”

It’s also given Romanoff – who has vowed to not accept campaign contributions from special interests or corporations – more fuel for his fire as to why Washington needs some new blood.

The Silver lining of the court’s decision, he said, is that it’s awakened a lot of Americans to the danger of “drowning out democracy in this sea of corporate cash.” And he said that he’s seen an increase of support to his campaign from people who agree. He said that more Coloradoans have contributed to his campaign in the past three months than any other campaign for any other race in the state.

“It’s going to take a lot of little money to get big money out of politics,” he said.

And that is one of the reasons he is traveling to towns like New Castle. Romanoff also visited Frisco, Idaho Springs, and Blackhawk on Saturday.

“I’m trying to lead by example and show that you can get elected to national office in America today, not by just trolling for dollars on Wall Street, but by talking with people on Main Street,” he said.

Romanoff served four terms in the Colorado legislature, and was speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2005-2009. He earned a B.A. at Yale University, an M.A. at Harvard University and a law degree at the University of Denver.

Primaries will be held on Aug. 10.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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