Taylor, Fetcher to debate

Community Alliance to host forum on conservation issues

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The Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley and the Western Colorado Congress have scheduled a forum featuring the candidates for state Senate District 8.

The forum is at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in Centennial Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Candidates for Senate District 8 are incumbent Republican Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs and Democratic challenger Jay Fetcher of Clark.

The Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural environment of the Yampa Valley, enhancing the quality of life in the area and retaining the unique character of the community. The organization is affiliated with the Western Colorado Congress.

The forum will focus on conservation issues, said Christi Ruppe of the Community Alliance and area organizer for the Western Colorado Congress.

The candidates each will have five minutes for opening remarks. Then, each will answer four questions. Taylor and Fetcher will be given four minutes apiece to answer each question.

During the final 30 minutes of the forum, questions will be taken from the audience.

"Our purpose is to raise awareness of these candidates' stances on conservation issues," Ruppe said. "However, we encourage questions on all topics during the audience participation portion of the forum."

Scott Stanford, editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, will moderate the forum. Stanford is not affiliated with the Community Agriculture Alliance or the Western Colorado Congress.

Ruppe said the Community Alliance and the Western Colorado Congress have focused on the state Senate race and do not have plans for other forums at this time. "We think this is a pretty important race for Northwest Colorado," she said. "For our membership, it seems to have the most direct impact on our concentrated geographic area."

Senate District 8 includes Eagle, Garfield, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.

Taylor served in the state House for eight years before being elected to the Senate in 2000. He is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is vice-chairman of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. He also is a member of the Water Resources Review Committee, the Legislative Audit Committee and the Tourism Board.

Fetcher is a long-time North Routt rancher. He served on the Steamboat Springs School Board from 1984 to 1993, including a stint as the board president. He also has served on numerous statewide boards, including the State Water Supply Initiative, the Colorado Water Trust and the Colorado Reapportionment Commission. In 2000, he ran for Taylor's former seat in the state House --District 56 -- but lost to Republican Al White.

For information about the forum, call Ruppe at 879-6252 or e-mail cruppe@wccongress.org

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