Strickland makes "bus stop’ at Swap | VailDaily.com
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Strickland makes "bus stop’ at Swap

Cliff Thompson

Democrat Tom Strickland, former U.S. Attorney who is running for the second time in six years against Wayne Allard, visited party faithful and ski swappers Saturday morning at the 25th stop on his 10-day, 40-town bus tour of Colorado.

The two candidates by most polls each have a 40 percent share of the vote. At stake are the votes of undecided voters in this race, which pollsters say may amount to as much as 10 percent.

The closeness of the race, and the fact that the Senate’s majority hangs in the balance, has attracted the attention of both President Bush and President Clinton who have visited the state several times to stump for their respective candidates. Democrats now control the U.S. Senate by one vote.



Strickland painted himself a candidate to represent individuals, and his opponent as a representative of large special interest groups.

His outline for the state included getting the economy back on track, making representation of the people the focus of the Senate seat and making sure the environment is adequately protected.



“I will represent the people of Colorado,” he said to a group of 50 assembled outside the Ski Swap at Dobson Arena. “Not the special interests.”

Strickland said in his travels across the state – his tour started in Limon Monday – that despite the varied geography – there is a commonality in what people want.

“People are worried about jobs. The drought has hammered farmers and corporate layoffs are occurring across the Front Range,” he said. “People are looking for leaders.”



He said if elected he would seek to fix a health care system which he called “broken” because it is dominated by large pharmaceutical companies, and that elected officials are working on their behalf instead of for the people. Strickland said he would stand up for the rights of people.

The Allard/Strickland campaign has been punctuated with some nasty campaign advertisements.

Why the negative campaigning?

“I’ve focused my ads on the issues and his voting record,” Strickland said. “He has aimed at attacking my character and engaging in ads of personal destruction. He should focus on the issues and not try and take me down personally.”

Strickland said he’s a supporter of a woman’s right to choose what course of action to take on the abortion issue. He said the Supreme Court has several justices that will be retiring and he will work to appoint justices who will support abortion rights.

The race has attracted enormous attention and significant campaign donations. At last count, Strickland had accumulated nearly $4 million and Allard, nearly $5 million.

“Our donations have come largely from a large number of individuals and PACs (political action committees) like labor and education,” Strickland said. “My opponent has received huge donations from corporate giants.”

One thing Strickland is banking on this time around is the fact that the Republican-leaning Colorado electorate will lean his direction because the voter mix is 40 percent different that when he ran in 1996.

Other Strickland issue positions:

– Create a tax credit for small businesses to make health care more affordable and will work to pass a Patients Bill of Rights.

– Create a $12,000 per-year tax credit for college or skills training.

– Supports President Bush’s effort to oust Saddam Hussein.

– Opposes privitazation of Social Security.

– Supports research for a missile defense system to see if it is feasible.

– Opposes school vouchers.

– Would push for expanded stem cell research.

– Will work for pension reform.

Strickland was joined on the bus by U.S. Representative Mark Udall, who is seeking election to the newly reconfigured 2nd Congressional District that includes Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Boulder Counties.

The next stop for the tour is Frisco and then Denver.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com


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