Walcher visits Steamboat

Third Congressional District candidate meets with workers

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The campaign trail brought 3rd Congressional District candidate Greg Walcher to Steamboat Springs on Thursday, where he walked Lincoln Avenue and met briefly with Routt County employees.

Walcher, a Republican who was the former leader of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, strolled through downtown Steamboat with Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison, stopping briefly in F.M. Light and Sons to chat with an employee. Walcher, who is battling Democrat John Salazar for the coveted U.S. Congressional seat, also stopped in several county offices and introduced himself to employees.

With less than four weeks remaining in a race attracting nationwide attention, both candidates have scheduled stops in cities and towns across the giant 3rd Congressional District.

Walcher spent Thursday morning in Meeker before traveling to Craig and Steamboat. He returned to Craig on Thursday evening for dinner and a small fund-raiser.

The trip through Moffat and Routt counties is just another opportunity to meet voters and discuss issues and values, Walcher said. Even in a large district, each person-to-person contact can go a long way toward an Election Day victory.

"The word gets around faster than you'd think," Walcher said. "It's a good way for people to know that I care about these communities, that they've seen me here before and that they'll see me here again.

"This is the stuff you can't buy. You can buy name ID and whatever vision of yourself you want to create on television. You can't buy history and the relationships you build with people over time."

Walcher said the biggest issue for district residents is the war on terrorism, something he said Salazar is out of touch with. Walcher's campaign and some of his Republican backers recently have stepped up criticism of a comment Salazar made to the Craig Daily Press in February. Salazar is quoted in the article as saying, "I believe Iraq is a war for oil."

"When someone has illustrated they don't really understand what the war is about, it's demeaning and an insult to the troops," Walcher said Thursday. "It's not just an isolated comment he made. He's had plenty of chances to explain it, and he hasn't."

Salazar spokesman Jeff Bridges said the comment "was taken slightly out of context."

In a campaign press release intended to clarify his remarks, Salazar is quoted as saying, "In order to create a free Iraq, the Iraqi people need to develop their oil resources so they can help pay for their democratic reconstruction. The current fight to stabilize Iraq largely revolves around the need to secure Iraq's oil fields and pipelines."

Salazar is an Army veteran who fully supports our troops, Bridges said. It's surprising that Walcher, who didn't serve in the military, is criticizing Salazar on issues related to supporting American forces, he added.

Salazar will be in Steamboat today to visit with voters from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the home of Ben and Millie Beall, 41970 Routt County Road 36.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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