Focus on the West |

Focus on the West

Vail Daily Editorial Board

It may be an overstatement to say the West has never been more important in a presidential race than it is this year. But it certainly feels that way.

No matter who you plan to vote for in November, having Denver host the Democratic National Convention is a pretty neat thing. Granted, that’s easier to say here in Vail, where we aren’t dealing with road closures, clogged streets and other inconveniences. All eyes are on Colorado this week and, we hope, on some of the issues that are near and dear to this state’s residents.

Energy and the environment will no doubt play a large role in the race for the White House. Gas prices and the rising environmental cost of having a nation so dependent on dirty and finite resources are sure to be hot topics in presidential debates. But these issues really hit home here when there are companies eager to drill for natural gas just over an hour west of here.

The economy may be the biggest issue of the election. We’ve so far escaped much of the worst that has come with the credit crisis and spate of home foreclosures. But our real estate market ” the driver for our local economy ” has softened considerably. Meanwhile, many in the Front Range, where home foreclosures have been particularly high, are feeling the brunt of what a bearish market has to offer.

Colorado is on the short list of battleground states. Of course, that means that by November we’ll be more than a little weary of Barack Obama and John McCain ads.

But we hope it also means Coloradans will be well-informed when they head to the ballot box on Election Day. We would recommend, however, that voters get the bulk of their information about the candidates through news articles written by a disinterested party (not from a campaign staffer), by checking the presidential candidates’ Web sites and by discussing the candidates with others.

And even if Eagle Countians would prefer to sneak in an evening bike ride than watch Michelle Obama give a speech on CNN, it would certainly be nice if in a weeks’ worth of convention coverage that a shot or two of the Vail Valley made its way onto national TV.

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