Diverse group meets with potential senate candidate

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MEEKER I A geographically diverse crowd gathered at the Meeker Café last Saturday to meet possible U.S. Senate candidate Patricia “Trish” Zornio. She’s considering a challenge to sitting Colorado U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, whose first six-year Senate term is not up until January 2021.

Zornio, 33, is currently a lecturer in behavioral neuroscience at University of Colorado Denver, and a biomedical researcher formerly at CU Boulder, Denver Health and Stanford University School of Medicine. She leads multiple statewide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) efforts including Policy Research Initiatives, is State Coordinator for 314 Action and a Youth Board Advisor for 500 Women Scientists.  The 314 Action group is a nonprofit aimed at transitioning scientists into policy-making.

Zornio, a Democrat, grew up in conservative rural New Hampshire. She is quite sure all her family back in New Hampshire voted for Donald Trump in 2016. To them, often, Zornio says, “Science has taken away things,” such as pulp and paper mills, which they believe were “driven out of business by environmental regulation. Folks, too often, do not seem to grasp science’s connection to lucrative high-tech jobs, clean water and good medical care.”

The Meeker crowd included a few Meeker residents, a foursome from Rangely, an expanded family of upriver ranch landowners who otherwise live in California and New York, a high school student friend from Salida, Colo., a visiting couple from Nairobi, Kenya, who were keen on witnessing this slice of American politics in action, and a television producer from Washington, D.C. The group generally argued that the government needs to take a more active role in trying to help with global climate change.

She says she won’t make a decision on whether to enter the contest for Gardner’s seat in 2020 until she’s made these visits in all 64 Colorado counties.

Other concerns raised by the group Saturday were K-12 public education teacher salaries, abuse of adjunct faculty in higher education, and the high cost of student loans and consequent debt. The school students there emphasized the need for students to feel safe in their schools, to be free from the fear of unwarranted use of firearms in their schools. Zornio felt there is a lot of less-than-Draconian efforts that can be made on these issues.

Zornio urges voters to continue to share with her what’s important to their communities. She provided the following contact information: Facebook Trish Zornio (Scientist); Twitter @trish_zornio; Email zornioeyes2020@gmail.com.

By Reed Kelley