Taylor, Fetcher spar during Club 20 debate | VailDaily.com

Taylor, Fetcher spar during Club 20 debate

Scott N. Miller

GRAND JUNCTION ” Jack Taylor stressed his legislative record; Jay Fetcher said northwestern Colorado can do better.

Taylor, the Republican incumbent State Senator in District 8, and Fetcher, his Democratic challenger, squared off in a brief debate Sept. 11 at Club 20’s annual fall meeting in Grand Junction.

The debates are an election-year staple for Club 20, a Western Slope advocacy and lobbying group. With a packed schedule of debates, voters got a bit less than 30 minutes to get a glimpse of their candidates. They also got a chance to raise questions about their opponents in the debates’ “cross examination” portion, in which candidates could directly question each other.

Fetcher quizzed Taylor on taking campaign contributions from “special interest” groups such as industry associations.

“Do you feel obligated to those groups?” Fetcher asked.

Taylor was ready.

“My vote has never been for sale,” he said, adding that his contributors large and small understand that. “In your campaign everybody who writes a check is a special interest, so it’s all special interest money.”

Taylor then asked Fetcher about his service on the state’s redistricting committee in 2001.

“Why did you vote to put headwaters counties into a Front Range congressional district?” Taylor asked. After the committee deadlocked, a Denver judge put Eagle, Summit and Grand counties into the Boulder-based Second Congressional District.

Without mentioning Eagle or Summit counties, Fetcher explained that Grand County was crucial to getting balance in the agreement the committee eventually hammered out.

“The only way we could get it done was to move Grand County,” Fetcher said. “At least we saved Jackson County.”

While the candidates seized their opportunities to grill each other in the debate’s closing moments, the audience also got a chance to hear differing views on topics including:

Tourism funding

Taylor: “We need $20 to $25 million a year to promote Colorado right, but where it comes from is an issue. I was able to get $3.5 million into a bill in the last session.

Fetcher: “I would like to explore eco-tourism, historic and cultural tourism, to spread it out to towns that don’t benefit now. There could be state funds available for that.”

Renewable energy ballot issue

Taylor: “I’m a strong supporter of renewable energy, but not mandates… Mandates will raise rates.”

Fetcher: “Sometimes you need mandates to get off dead center. There’s a strong incentive for voters to move forward with this.”

Why you should vote for me:

Fetcher: “I understand business and water. I promise I’ll work hard, keep in touch, and be honest and fair.

Taylor: “Experience counts. We fought Referendum A (a water-related ballot issue in 2002), and I’ve killed water bills that aren’t good for Western Colorado. I will fight to protect your property and water rights.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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