Local candidates sound off at Greeley forum | MyWindsorNow.com

Local candidates sound off at Greeley forum

Bridgett Weaver
bweaver@greeleytribune.com

The Greeley Chamber of Commerce hosted an Election 2016 Candidate and Issue Forum on Monday night.

Candidates for the Board of Weld County Commissioners, House Districts 48, 49 and 50 and the U.S. 4th Congressional District attended and spoke to the audience. If candidates were unable to attend themselves, they could send a representative to speak on their behalf.

A video of the event will be posted on the Tribune's website on Oct. 7.

Weld County Commissioners

» Joe Perez, candidate for Weld County Commissioner At Large

"Weld County is a very large county … a very diverse county. We urban and we have rural. Obviously we have diversity in our ethnicity, culture, music. The question now is, do these groups feel represented on our board of county commissioners? Do you have a voice? As a candidate for the Board of Weld County Commissioners, I will be an honest, transparent and responsible representative."

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» Sean Conway, At Large (incumbent)

"It has been my honor and privilege to represent you over the last 7 years. The board of county commissioners, during that time, has worked very hard to do some innovative and creative things in terms of putting Weld County in a very strong position. We're the only county in the United States that has no short term or long term debt or sales tax. We have been able, with our reserves, to invest in our community. We created the Bright Futures Program, which allows all of our graduating seniors throughout Weld County to qualify to continue their education. I ask for your vote on Nov. 8 to continue a lot of the positive things."

» Mike Freeman, District 1 (incumbent)

"We are very proud to be as fiscally responsible as we are. We have no long-term debt, no short-term debt, no sales tax and to continue to lower the property taxes.

County Road 49, that's a huge infrastructure project. Agriculture has always been the backbone of Weld County, and it always will be the backbone of Weld County. We've seen the ups and downs of oil and gas, we've seen that forever but at the end of the day, agriculture is what made Weld County the unbelievable financially strong county that it is today. That's really important going forward."

» Carl Erickson, District 1

"As you've probably noticed, I have two ears, two eyes, but only one mouth. And that's kind of the message I want to convey to you tonight. What we need in public office is the ability to look, see and understand what's happening as well as listen to the voices of the community. I have the ability to listen to the voices of the community, and that's why I'm running. If there weren't voices in the community that said we need change, we need a direction that's sustainable, one that's going to allow us to live in this county for generations to come, if I hadn't heard those voices, I wouldn't be running."

» Lynette Kilpatrick, District 3

"I'm the American Constitution Party … I'm going to start with a very unpopular comment in this room tonight. I'm embarrassed by our current two-party system. Most here are members of the major two parties. I've got to ask, are you pleased. One look at our country shows a nation of division, pointing fingers and anger towards each other. Let's start working to see what we have in common and share what wisdom each of us has to accomplish things together. We can show great respect towards one another, yet have a great variety of ideas and opinions, weaknesses and strengths.

» Amanda Harper, District 3

"I'm here today before you not as a politician, but as a farmer, a parent, an administrator, a leader, an innovator in my field, a seeker of truth and justice. But most of all, I care deeply about where I live. I care deeply about the future that we will leave for our children and out children's children. Like you, I care deeply for the safety and protection of communities, and nature and the agricultural heritage of Weld County. My ability to listen to people and understand many points of view is part of what makes me a qualified candidate for a commissioner in Weld County."

» Barbara Kirkmeyer, District 3 (incumbent)

"The thing that sets me apart from my two previous opponents who got up here and spoke, is our experience. It's the experiences that we bring to the table that make us good county commissioners. I'm not talking just about my experience as a county commissioner. I'm talking about my experience as a business owner for 15 years. I owned a small business — I know what it takes to sign the front of that check and make payroll every month. I'm talking about my experience as a farmer. I not only grew up on a dairy farm, but I co-owned and operated a dairy farm here in Weld County for 15 years. I'm also talking about the experience I had in my volunteer work and in my investment as a citizen. I first got involved as a member and led South Weld Against Trash, or SWAT and that was over 25 years ago, where we were fighting for what was right in Weld County. My name s Barbara Kirkmeyer, I love my job, I love serving the citizens of this county and I would greatly appreciate your vote."

House District Candidates

» Buzz Sweeney, HD 49

"In four sound bites, here are my concerns: I am absolutely sure women should receive equal pay for equal work and make their own health care decisions. Science, not intuition tells me why polar ice is melting and why our trout streams are warming. Regarding the generation of electricity, in 2004, Colorado adopted the forward-thinking goal that 30% of our electric should come from renewables in 2020 — Aspen and Boulder are ahead of schedule. They each achieved 100 percent this year. I understand the pace and transition for the entire state is a more complex issue. The fourth, is the need to drastically tweak TABOR. A committee of 5 million leads to all sorts of mischief.

» Perry Buck, HD 49 (incumbent)

"I grew up with parents that believed in public service. And public service is something that I believe that everybody in this room should do, whether it's your parks and recs, or it's higher office. What I can bring to the office is I am a small businesswoman, and a wife and a mother. I have good leadership skills. I am a good listener. It's the people that I have to come home to that I represent, not anybody down at the capitol, not the special interest groups. I was very fortunate to get four bills passed on a bipartisan (vote) in the legislature. I'm interested in learning more about your interests, and I do ask for your vote."

» Dave Young, HD 50 (incumbent)

"In my conversations with tens of thousands of people who live in the district, I've heard three consistent themes for the past five years: Work to create better jobs and improve the economy. Work to improve education, and please, please work together to more Colorado forward. We have a significant budget crisis in Colorado and it's been going on for several years. For the past two years, I've been working to solve this crisis as a member of the joint budget committee … I've sponsored over 60 bills over the past two years, most of which were passed with bipartisan support. These bills were focused in four areas: jobs and the economy, education, budget reform and health care. I'm excited to continue this work, and I ask for your vote of support to continue."

» John Honeycutt, HD 50

"I love Jesus, that said, that doesn't mean that I'm not loving folks that have different opinions than mine. I am absolutely, unabashedly pro-oil. Oil and gas jobs pay 50 percent more on average than all other jobs in the state of Colorado. … I am a scientist. … and I propose some ideas that can help with the ozone. The second is that I am unabashedly pro-gun. I am not a member of NRA, nor do I own a gun. The last thing is that I am unabashedly pro-life."

» Annie King, HD 48

"How many of your from District 48 even know who your representative is? Well, you won't be hearing from him tonight either … he doesn't really show up for anything. I've been attending small fairs, I've been walking in festival parades all summer, I've participated in forums, I've been people from different organizations and groups all over Weld County and District 48 and I haven't seen him once. I will make you a promise tonight, if you elect me to be your representative in District 48, you will know my name. You'll know if because you'll be able to talk to me about your concerns. I'll be working in Denver to support you."

4th Congressional District (U.S.)

Bruce Griffiths

"I'm from a party that you're starting to hear more about in the news. I'm a libertarian. We're fiscally conservative, we're socially accepting. Our vice presidential candidate recently had a quote: "The only way to reduce spending is to reduce spending." And that's what we libertarians believe. I'm an engineer. I'm not a career politician. I've made a career of solving problems. I want to represent eastern Colorado in the federal government. I don't want to represent lobbyists, I don't want to represent special interests, I don't want to represent big businesses. I have a self-funded campaign. I ask for your vote."

» Luke O'Dell on behalf of Ken Buck

"He would have loved to be here … but he's doing the work of the folks. We recently passed the water act out of committee, which is the type of bipartisan commonsense legislation that I think exemplifies the independent sort of leadership Ken has brought to congress. His constituents brought this concern about financing ditch companies and we turned it into a bill and it's gone through the agriculture committee and now it is coming hopefully before the end of the year before the full house. It's a commonsense bill that will allow ditch companies to sell more water to municipalities like the city of Greeley while still being able to provide infrastructure and cost-effective efficient service."

» Bob Seay

"I've taught band and choir in our public schools for the past 30 years. You learn a lot when you teach kids. I am running because of my concern for my students, their families and the communities, which I dearly love. I'm running because there are too many of us who are locked out of the conversations that affect our lives. District 4 is a reliably republican district. What do we have to show for our loyalty? I'm here to tell you are not alone if you think that a medical crisis should not cause a financial disaster, you are not alone if you think that a woman has a right to make her own personal medical decisions, you're not alone if you think drug addiction should be treated as a medical issue and not a crime and you're not alone if you think that the minimum wage should be high enough that someone doesn't need food stamps to get by."