Talking about toddlers

Forum to press candidates on early childhood issues

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If you go

What: Candidate and issues forum hosted by First Impressions of Routt County

Where: County Commissioner's Hearing Room, Routt County Courthouse Annex, 136 6th St.

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact: Call the First Impressions office at 870-5270 for more information.

Public: Members of the public are welcome to attend and hear candidate responses to questions prepared by the First Impressions board. Due to time constraints, questions from the public will not be allowed.

— Stephanie Howle said she is hearing good news in campaign speeches around Colorado.

"It sounds like candidates are starting to make young children and families a big part of their campaign issues because they recognize the investment," Howle said Tuesday.

As the new early childhood manager for First Impressions of Routt County, Howle sees the value of that investment every day. First Impressions facilitates grant funding for local preschools and provides a variety of resources and programs for parents, educators and preschool employees to help foster healthy educational environments for young children.

The state's leading candidates for governor, Republican Bob Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter, have stressed the importance of supporting early childhood education during visits to Steamboat Springs.

Today, Howle and the First Impressions Board of Directors will ask local and regional political candidates if they share that support.

During a lunchtime forum at the Routt County Courthouse Annex, at least 10 candidates will answer questions from the board about early childhood education.

Howle said candidates scheduled to attend include Grand County Democrat Andy Gold, Oak Creek Libertarian Mike Kien, and Susan Mizen (on behalf of state Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park) in the race for the state House of Representatives; Democrat Mike Kerrigan and unaffiliated candidate Nancy Terry in the race for Routt County assessor; Republican Paul Strong and Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the race for Routt County Commissioner; Republican Garrett Wiggins and Democrat Gary Wall in the race for Routt County Sheriff; and Republican Kay Weinland, who is running uncontested to continue her position as Routt County Clerk and Recorder.

Howle said Tuesday afternoon that she had so far been unable to contact South Routt resident Dick Klumker, a Republican running for county assessor.

Each candidate will answer two questions prepared by the First Impressions board, which is co-chaired by Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak and Steamboat Springs City Council member Steve Ivancie.

The board also includes local officials in fields including health care, human services, and education.

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

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