Udall coming to town

U.S. Rep. headlines big lineup for Democrats' dinner

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If you go

What: Routt County Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Potluck Dinner and Fundraiser

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Olympian Hall in the Howelsen Hill Lodge, 845 Howelsen Parkway

Speakers: U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, state Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, Colorado Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak

Entertainment: Live and silent auctions, a recipe contest, music and comedy

Suggested Admission: A potluck dish, $25 per adult or $15 per student, under 18 free.

Contact: Call Lu Etta Loeber at 870-6257, or e-mail Lynn Abbott at lynn_abbott@sprin..., for more information.

— Routt County's increasing support of Democratic candidates and issues continues to be noticed across the state.

For the second year in a row, the Routt County Democratic Party is bringing an A-list political lineup to its annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner. The event is the local party's biggest fundraiser of the year and begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, at the Howelsen Hill Lodge on Howelsen Parkway. U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, state Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff and state Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak are scheduled to speak at the event, which will include a potluck dinner, live and silent auctions, a recipe contest, music and a local comedy act.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said Routt County's reputation as a Democratic stronghold is growing. In November 2006, Democratic candidates won races for county commissioner, sheriff and assessor, and Routt County voters also gave strong majorities to several state and regional Democratic candidates, including Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Rep. John Salazar.

"The state party has seen the results, and the impacts we've been having on local elections - I guess this is a reward for our local committees and Democratic voters," Monger said. "We're starting to get some face-time out of candidates. It's not an unknown that Udall is looking for (U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's) seat."

Udall is in his fifth term representing Colorado's Second Congressional District, which includes much of the Front Range along with Eagle, Summit and Grand counties on the Western Slope.

Udall has not formally announced his 2008 candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Allard, who will not seek re-election. Still he is the Democratic frontrunner for a race that could pit him against former Congressman Bob Schaffer, a Fort Collins Republican. Former Congressman Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican who represented Routt County's Third Congressional District from 1993 through 2004, withdrew his name from the Senate race last week.

Lynn Abbott, communications director for Routt County Democrats, said Udall's keynote address at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner is "Going from Red to Blue to Green," suggesting that Colorado is shifting from a Republican state to a Democratic state, and then to a state focusing on environmental conservation.

"He's always working on renewable energy issues," Heather Fox, a district adviser for Udall, said of the congressman.

Fox said Udall is working on legislation to allow qualified hunters to cull overpopulated elk in Rocky Mountain National Park and to improve health care coverage for injuries sustained in recreational accidents, such as skiing. The congressman also recently voted in support of the Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.

"The bill is an important step toward a responsible end to the war in Iraq, based on a strategy of phased withdrawal of troops, accelerated diplomacy and redeployment that is based on Iraqi stability," Udall wrote on his Web site, http://markudall.house.gov.

During his visit to Steamboat, Udall is also scheduled to meet with local educators Saturday afternoon, and with local government officials Sunday morning.

Monger will auctioneer the live auction at Saturday's event. Items up for bid include a print of Rabbit Ears Pass by local artist R.C. Dieckhoff; a Broncos weekend including tickets for a to-be-determined 2007 game, lodging at the Oxford Hotel and dinner at the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver; and a "Zirkel Circle" small airplane ride with local pilot Jack Dysart.

Abbott said the silent auction will feature yoga classes, artwork, jewelry, pottery and other items.

The Lincoln Dinner, the annual fundraiser for the Routt County Republican Central Committee, is May 12 at the Old Town Pub & Restaurant in downtown Steamboat. Dick Wadhams, the new chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, is scheduled to give the keynote address.

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