RBC I Emily Tracy, the apparent Democratic nominee to run for the Colorado State Senate District 8 seat, which includes Rio Blanco County, against current Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, headlined the Rio Blanco County Democratic assembly in Rangely on Sunday.
Tracy is from Breckenridge in the far-flung, seven-county district. The delegate assembly for SD 8 will be held April 15 in Loveland.
Tracy, a retired child advocate specialist with the state, ran against Baumgardner when he was first elected to the Senate, moving from the State House, in 2012. Stating that what’s good for Denver or the Front Range is not necessarily good for Northwest Colorado, Tracy said she is “determined to see the values and needs of our northwestern neck of the woods better represented in the Legislature.”
Tracy suggested, referencing the Declaration of Independence, that “in rural Colorado, we love life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—and that we live in rural Colorado, at least in part, to declare our independence from the big population centers.
“We need to constantly push for diversity in our rural economies and for the infrastructure that it requires, including good roads and high-speed internet, water supply, good schools and availability of our natural resources while protecting our quality of life.”
Tracy believes the political landscape in rural Colorado is changing. She reported that Republican registration in SD 8 has dropped by 12 percent, down to 35 percent from 40 percent four years ago. She also cited the example of all three Chaffee County Republican commissioners who went together into their clerk and recorder’s office in Salida on March 7 and disaffiliated with the Republican Party, saying it no longer served the interests of their county.
Tracy predicts that this year’s SD 8 elections will be different, especially with her rechallenging the sitting senator and an unaffiliated, former Republican candidate in the race who may well split the votes she wouldn’t get.
Led by county Democratic chair Paula Davis, other business was carried out by party officers and delegates from all four Rio Blanco County Democratic precincts. The group listened to a letter from U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is running for re-election this year. Bennet thanked the delegates for participating in the process and mentioned the heavy turnout for party caucuses on March 1. He also wrote about how closely watched Colorado will be in the presidential election.
In the U.S. Senate race, he reminded delegates that the last two U.S. Senate races in Colorado have been decided by less than 2 percentage points, urging them and fellow voters to be as supportive and enthusiastic as they were six years ago as there is a lot at stake.
In his review of what he’s been involved with over those six years, he stated, “We finally replaced the broken No Child Left Behind law with legislation that reduces the burden of high-stakes testing in our schools and gives local communities more control over their education.
“Colorado is helping lead the nation in clean energy, so we passed tax credits for wind and solar energy production,” he said. “We passed the Affordable Care Act, and half a million Coloradans who didn’t have health insurance are now covered. We passed Wall Street reform to end the big bank bailouts, hold the banks accountable and prevent another financial crisis from happening, and passed a law to crack down on unfair rate hikes and hidden fees by credit card companies. And we’re working to expand child care tax credits so that working families can afford to put their kids in day care.”
Bennet closed his letter saying there’s still work to be done.
He wrote, “We need to finally pass immigration reform, end Citizens United, make college more affordable, and hold Congress accountable to ending dysfunction and gridlock in Washington. That’s why this election is so important.”
The assembly group discussed the difficulty of getting proper and adequate mental health care in the county and rural western Colorado in general.
Ellis Thompson-Ellis, a faculty science instructor at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, briefed the group on the Rangely CNCC dinosaur dig that is set up to run two summer dig classes again this summer. She urged citizens to watch for the special tours for interested parties that will be given this summer. “There is a lot of professional excitement about our dinosaur because it’s one of only five sites in the lower 48 states that has skin material associated with the bones,” she said.
County Clerk and Recorder Boots Campbell and her Rangely deputy, Shirley Sinclair, updated the group on county elections and voting status—and requested certain information from the assembly.
The group also discussed a list of goals for better government, primarily prepared for the group by Joe Livingston. A committee was assigned to work on the list and refine some of the material for presentation to the county and to the state party.
Rio Blanco Democrats are allocated four delegates to the regional, congressional district and state assemblies and convention in Loveland, scheduled April 15-16.
Delegates elected were Ellis Thompson, Joshua Ellis, Joe Livingston and Reed Kelley. Four alternate slots are also available. If any registered Democrat is interested in an alternate slot, please contact Paula Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.