Polis gubernatorial campaign makes swing through Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Polis gubernatorial campaign makes swing through Rifle

U.S. Reprensentative and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis (D) speaks with Rifle residents during a campaign stop Saturday at Lily’s Kitchen.
Kyle Mills/Post Indepedent

U.S. Congressman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, wearing his signature blue shirt, stepped into red country when he visited Rifle this past Saturday.

Beginning the evening at All American Hemp Co., a 76-acre hemp farm near Rifle, the candidate pointed out how his Polis for Colorado campaign cards were made out of exactly that — hemp.

The congressman, known for his resounding support of recreational and medical marijuana, also spoke highly of the product that does not get you high but rather produces industrial-strength fiber and CBD-rich products. Polis deemed the industry as yet another opportunity where Colorado could not only grow but lead the nation as it relates to the production of hemp.

From the farm, the candidate and his entourage headed to Lilly’s Kitchen on Third Street in downtown Rifle, where they were greeted by supporters, undecided voters other Democratic candidates seeking office, and political trackers filming and recording Polis’ every action and word.

With the contentious race between him and Republican Walker Stapleton being billed not as Republican vs. Democrat but rather a right-wing conservative against a far-left liberal, how the Democrat would bridge the partisan divide in the state remained in question.

“In many ways, [Garfield County] is a microcosm of our state,” Polis told the Post Independent following the meet-and-greet. “I think we need a governor that will fight for all Coloradan families.

“Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, whether you wear a cowboy hat or Birkenstocks, you care about having a governor that is going to save you money on prescription drugs. You care about having a governor that is going to invest in our public schools,” he said. “I always try to focus on what are those issues that we all care about as Coloradans and how can we bring people together.”

With one of President Trump’s appointees, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt being from Rifle originally, how the Colorado native was doing as it pertained to the management of public lands in Colorado was another question Polis appeared more than ready to answer.

“We are very worried about the existential threat of selling off or carving up our public lands,” he said. “They’ve talked about that as being part of their agenda. They would need Congress to pass that, but it’s very important to have western governors and a Colorado governor that will stand up to protect our public lands, because they are important for our quality of life, for hunting for fishing, for hiking, for biking.

“They are also important as economic drivers of jobs in Garfield County,” Polis said.

In the wake of the Lake Christine Fire, when asked by the Post Independent whether or not he believed Colorado Parks and Wildlife had the resources necessary to manage all of the land that it oversees, Congressman Polis, in seven words said “no” three times.

“Clearly, no. No, the answer is no,” Polis explained.

Polis also addressed his decision to pass on Club 20’s debate in Grand Junction this Saturday, which has caused a bit of an uproar from the group, which bills itself, “The Voice of the Western Slope.”

“We challenged Walker Stapleton to 13 debates. He accepted going to six of them,” Polis told the Post Independent.

“The debate [Colorado Mesa University] that was proposed for Oct. 6, is first of all … free for people to attend,” Polis said of his preference for the later debate co-sponsored by the Daily Sentinel, over the Club 20 event, which charges admission.

“We feel it’s a better opportunity to really reach voters, rather than just the elite or opinion leaders, because we want real Coloradans to be able to be part of those debates,” Polis said. “We are very excited to work with Mesa … to make sure that Western Colorado gets a close, firsthand look at the differences between Walker Stapleton and myself.”

In addition to the two major party candidates for governor, a pair of third-party candidates and one unaffiliated candidate are also on the Nov. 6 ballot. They include Libertarian candidate Scott Helker, Unity Party candidate Bill Hammons and independent candidate Paul Noel Fiorino.