Republican state house candidates face off in Eagle
Eagle County voters can choose between Glenn Lowe and Savannah Wolfson in June 28 Republican primary
The two Republican candidates seeking their party’s nod for Colorado House District 26 met potential voters Wednesday in Eagle.
The candidates talked about their backgrounds, philosophies and why each would be the best representative for the redrawn district. The district for 10 years included only Routt and Eagle counties. The district following the 2020 Census was redrawn to include Rio Blanco and Moffat counties. The Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County was moved to House District 57, which also includes Garfield and Pitkin counties.
Lowe noted that he’s a fourth generation Colorado native, and has experienced the ups and downs the state has seen in this century.
Despite the loss of his home, business and first marriage in the recession that began in 2008, Lowe said he’s “prevailed.”
“It’s not easy to go through this stuff,” Lowe acknowledged.
Wolfson, a home school mom, said she’s focused on public safety and affordability. While she acknowledged having supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders while in her 20s, she said she’s since changed her thinking on public policy, especially after living in urban areas controlled by Democratic politicians.
The biggest issues
Forum moderator Greg Rippy, a former state representative from Garfield County, asked the candidates about the “most concerning” issues facing the state and district.
For Wolfson, affordability and public safety topped her list.
Lowe replied education and the economy are the top issues facing the district. The economy is particularly important in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties, which are being hard hit by cutbacks in the fossil fuel and agricultural industries.
Rippy noted that the new district is made up of roughly 51% unaffiliated voters, and asked the candidates about the best ways to attract those voters to the Republican side of the ballot this year. Democrats held a 41-24 majority in the most recent legislative session.
Lowe said he’s stressing the need to work with Democrats on issues important to the district.
“I’m willing to represent everyone, not just Republicans,” he said.
Wolfson noted that Republicans have traditionally ignored labor unions. That needs to change in a district transitioning out of unionized mining.
“We also need to tell the stories of people who have walked away (from the Democratic Party) and why,” she said.
Transportation is also a crucial issue in the district. Both candidates said there needs to be an alternative way to get around Glenwood Canyon when Interstate 70 closes.
Rippy gave the candidates a chance to ask each other questions.
Lowe asked Wolfson about a comment she’d made at a previous forum about living in the Denver area during the legislative session. Wolfson replied she has no intention of moving full-time to the city and would be back in the district as often as the legislative workload allows.
Wolfson asked Lowe about comments he’d made about trying to lure different industries to Craig and other communities.
Lowe said government can create tax-advantaged districts to lure new industries.
“We’re ready to lose 1,000 jobs in one county,” Lowe said, adding that ideally a firm would bring in manufacturing jobs that wouldn’t require people to learn a whole new set of skills.
Opening up the session to audience questions, Vail resident Pete Feistmann asked the candidates about continuing allegations by some that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
“A lot of us are ready to move forward,” Wolfson said, adding that “election integrity should be bipartisan.”
Lowe noted that “Talking about a stolen election isn’t going to do either party any good.”
Ending the evening, Rippy told the audience “I hope you go home tonight feeling good … people like this are willing to put themselves out there on your behalf.”
Colorado House District 26 includes Rio Blanco, Moffat and Routt counties, as well as the Vail Valley portion of Eagle County.
The seat is open, with no incumbent running.
Republican candidate Glenn Lowe III is an Eagle resident.
Republican candidate Savannah Wolfson lives in Oak Creek.
Democrat Meghan Lukens of Steamboat Springs is the sole Democrat running for the seat.