EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activities for the Eagle County Republican Party.
On Aug. 2, Mitt Romney took his campaign to the mountain communities of Colorado with a stop at Basalt High School. Kaye Ferry, chair of Eagle County Republicans, and Frieda Wallison, chair of Pitkin County Republicans, acted as hosts for the event, which drew more than 1,000 people, including about 25 from Eagle County.
Romney used Colorado to roll out his five-point plan for strengthening the economy. The points include energy independence, skill development, better trade practices, cutting the deficit and championing small business.
He was quick to point out what he described as President Obama's failings.
"By his own measures, this is a president whose policies have not been successful," Romney said. "I sure plan on becoming the next president of the United States with their help," referring to the 10 other governors who had joined him on stage. They all had been attending a Republican governors' conference in Aspen.
In attendance were Jan Brewer, of Arizona; Chris Christie, of New Jersey; Mary Fallin, of Oklahoma; Nikki Haley, of South Carolina; Gary Herbert, of Utah; Bobby Jindal, of Louisiana; Susana Martinez, of New Mexico; Bob McDonnell, of Virginia; Matt Meade, of Oklahoma; and Rick Perry, of Texas. They spent another 30 minutes shaking hands with an enthusiastic crowd before departing for another fundraiser.
"This was just fantastic. I can't believe we had the opportunity to see all of them on one stage," said Beric Christiansen, who had traveled from Gypsum with his wife.
That was awesome," said Katherine Paisen Senn. "Could be the event of a lifetime."
On Aug. 19, the Eagle County Republicans sponsored a picnic at the Brush Creek Pavilion. Highlighting the event were speeches by candidates who will appear on the November ballot, many of whom are new to Eagle County as a result of last year's redistricting process.
Before redistricting, all of Eagle County was in the 2nd Congressional District, but now only 25 percent is, with the balance - the westernmost part of the county, primarily Minturn to Gypsum - in the 3rd Congressional District.
Another big change is in the state House district. Eagle, Summit and Lake counties made up House District 56, but after the new lines were drawn, Eagle shares House District 26 with Routt County.
After sharing a barbecue and listening to some guitar entertainment, the serious business of the day got under way with presentations by the candidates. Leading off was Scott Tipton, the incumbent U.S. congressman from District 3. He believes the country is at a crossroads and the outcome of this election "will determine what America looks like in the future."
He was followed by two candidates running for positions in the education field, Glen Gallegos, for University of Colorado regent, and Ann Fattor, State Board of Education, both of whom stressed the need for quality education in Colorado.
Chuck McConnell, from Steamboat and a candidate for House District 26, is new to the political scene, but with a business and engineering background, he feels he has the skills to represent the Western Slope as it deals with its energy resources and natural environment, as well as building a more stable economy.
Scott Turner, candidate for district attorney, is assistant district attorney and has 20 years in criminal law with nine years as a prosecutor. He also works with law enforcement, victim-advocacy groups and social-services agencies throughout the district.
Jeff Layman and Courtney Holm, candidates for county commissioner from Districts 1 and 2, respectively, each indicated that they are anxious to represent the people of the county by studying the issues and being available to their constituents.
State Sen. Kevin Lundberg rounded out the presentations. The senator is running for U.S. Congress from District 2 and brings 10 years' experience in the state legislature.
"What a day for a picnic in Eagle County," said Max Schmidt, event chairman. "We had a good turnout, lots of food and great candidates. And we look forward to next year."