Beauprez shows optimism

Republican gubernatorial candidate talks to residents

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— In a visit to Steamboat Springs on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez campaigned as much for his home state as he did for himself.

"I'm really pumped about Colorado," said the Arvada Republican, who officially kicked off his campaign for governor this week. "If you want opportunity, where else in the world would you want to live?"

During an hour-long event at Old Town Pub on Lincoln Avenue, Beauprez said Colo--rado's expanding aerospace industry and ample energy resources, such as oil shale and "massive reserves" of natural gas, paint a rosy picture for the state's future.

"It was so refreshing to hear a politician have something positive to say," said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairwoman of the Routt County Republicans.

Beauprez also discussed challenges for the state, such as an influx of illegal immigrants and government spending that he said has gotten out of hand, especially after the passage of Referendum C by voters in November. That referendum will allow lawmakers to use taxpayer dollars to help pull the state out of a recession.

Beauprez told about 20 people Thursday that Referendum C does not address the larger problem of government growth in the state.

"It fixed absolutely nothing about the way we do business in Colorado nor the circumstances that led to the problem in the first place," he said. "I wouldn't so much mind giving government a dollar if I thought I was going to get anything close to a dollar in return."

As for immigration, Beauprez said that although his grandfather landed at Ellis Island and "for the foreseeable future, we will need migrant labor," as governor, he would instill stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

"Just as immigration is one of the things that binds us as a nation, so too does the rule of law," Beauprez said, adding that stiff penalties should be given to employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Routt County resident Buck Buck--land asked Beauprez about illegal funding and bribery scandals in Washington, D.C., focused on lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"A few rotten apples are spoiling the barrel," Beauprez said. "You've got some, on both sides of the aisle, who like the high-living. If they broke the law, they will fall, and they will fall very hard."

Beauprez, who said Abram--off "looks like the scum of the earth," said he has taken only two overseas trips -- to Paris and Jerusalem -- to speak at anti-terrorism conferences.

Those trips were funded by the conferences, and he stayed long enough only to give his speeches, Beauprez said.

Steamboat resident Chuck Vale, director of the county's Emergency Management Office, asked Beauprez to remember the Western Slope as he works in Washington and campaigns for governor.

"There's more to Colorado than the urban area," Vale said. "Don't make it one-size-fits-all."

Other candidates for governor include Republican Marc Holtzman, a former president of the University of Denver; Democrat Bill Ritter, a former district attorney in Denver; and Democrat Gary Lindstrom, a state representative from Breckenridge.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Monday is the last day to register with a political party for those who want to participate in upcoming precinct caucuses.

Voters registered as independent cannot participate in the March 21 caucuses.

Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Democrats and Republicans hold the neighborhood meetings to choose delegates to attend the county party assembly and vote for candidates to appear on primary ballots in August.

"It is really grassroots politics at its, well, at its roots," Weinland said.

Precinct party representatives also are chosen at the caucuses.

Voters registered with a party who need to change their address must do so by Feb. 17, Weinland said.

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