Candidates take spotlight

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— Candidates for Steamboat Springs City Council, Steamboat Springs School Board and Hayden School Board positions had their first chance to speak Wednesday during a forum held by First Impressions of Routt County.

After brief introductions, candidates were asked about the public's role in early childhood care and education and whether they support using tax money to fund those services. First Impressions is a county advocacy and support organization for local early childhood education providers.

All of the candidates said they thought government should support early childhood care and education, but their opinions differed about the type of support that should be provided and how to fund it.

Steve Ivancie was the only candidate to say he would support using a sales or property tax to fund early childhood care and education.

"It is a sign that our community cares about its most vulnerable people," Ivancie said.

Nancy Kramer said she wanted to provide money for early childhood education but that it would be better for city officials to meet to determine the best way to do so.

"We need to plan together a mechanism that works best," Kramer said.

Loui Antonucci agreed with Kramer, and he stressed that city officials need to find a way to take care of children.

"If we don't pay now, we're going to be paying down the road," Antonucci said.

Dick Curtis also said City Council members should be looking forward.

"Spending money on programs is an investment for the future," Curtis said.

Lisa Harner, who was representing her husband, Warren, said her husband would look at funding early childhood programs by reallocating money that is in the system.

Bud Romberg, however, said the county and the city do not have enough money to fund early childhood efforts. Instead, he said, officials will have to gain support by informing voters.

"What has to happen, there has to be a coalition to educate the community," Romberg said.

Jeff Fry agreed. "If we don't educate them, they're not going to buy into it," he said.

The forum was attended by City Council District 1 candidates Ivancie and Kramer; District 2 candidates Antonucci and Charles McConnell, and Harner; District 3 candidates Curtis and Kevin Kaminski; and at-large candidates Stuart Lynn, Romberg and Bobbi Hodge, who represented Towny Anderson. Also attending were candidates for contested school board races: John DeVincentis and Michael Loomis of Steamboat and Fry of Hayden. Patty Bruchez of Hayden did not attend.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today and KRMR Radio will host a candidates forum at noon Wednesday in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

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