Styles diverge in state House race
COPPER MOUNTAIN ” Age and style are the most obvious differences when the two candidates running to represent Eagle County in the Colorado House of Representatives enter a room together.
Once they start talking, it is easy to see the differences do not end there.
Thursday morning, Republican candidate Ken Chlouber and Democratic candidate Dan Gibbs, vying for the District 56 House seat that also include Summit and Lake counties, attended the 2006 Summit County Candidate Forum at Copper Mountain. Each had three minutes to speak about themselves and issues before answering audience questions.
Chlouber, 67, looked like a true cowboy in his western-styled suit, large belt buckle and split tie. He began by apologizing for negative campaigning, saying that comes from the “higher ups.” From there he spoke about his background.
Chlouber runs and mountain bikes. He married his high school sweetheart and served in the U.S. Army. He also worked in the mines in Leadville, which brought him to politics.
When Chlouber lost his job at the mines, he went to the capital because, “someone had to go to Denver to tell them things weren’t right in these hills,” he said.
He has spent 10 years in the state House and eight in the state Senate.
Gibbs, 30, who came dressed in a navy sports jacket and gray pants, discussed his involvement in the community, listing a slew of organizations he’s been a part of including Vail Rotary Club and I-70 Coalition group.
“I’ve worked and listened to many of your local concerns,” he said.
Gibbs also has experience in the realm of politics. He has been serving as the Western Slope field director for Eagle County Congressman Mark Udall. Three years prior, he was a staff member at Udall’s office in Washington, D.C.
He is active in education, mentoring and coaching cross country, he said. Additionally, he believes in fiscal responsibility, he said.
“I want to do more for less,” Gibbs said.
Once the moderator at the forum began relaying audience questions the line between the candidate’s stances grew thick. However, a topic they agreed on was illegal immigration. The both oppose it, yet still managed to state that in contrasting ways.
Chlouber said it must be stopped now. Gibbs said it is a Federal topic, and he wants a meaningful bill to pass that allocates the resources and tools needed to help with the problem.
That may have been as close as the two came to agreeing.
Referendum A, which Colorado voters rejected, was one of the areas they clearly disagreed. Chlouber said he supported the bill that allocated $2 billion to be used for water projects. The state has a water storage problem, not a water shortage problem, Chlouber said.
Gibbs called the referendum as a “blank check” because it did not specify how it would help with water shortage. He added that he believes extra water needs to be stored in aquifers.
Carrying concealed weapons was another topic of disagreement.
Chlouber sponsored a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons. An audience question asked how the candidates feel about the issue now, after the Platte Canyon High School tragedy.
Chlouber responded that the two are not related, and the bill specifies that concealed weapons are for law abiding citizens.
Gibbs said, “I feel very strongly that even if you have a concealed weapon permit you should not be able to take it into a school. Chlouber voted that you could.”
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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