Governor confirmed for State of the County event in Craig

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John Hickenlooper

If you go

What: State of the County 2011

When: 6 p.m. March 9

Where: Location to be announced

• Gov. John Hickenlooper will be the keynote speaker at the event. Tickets cost $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members.

Christina Oxley, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, has tried for the last several years to book the governor for her organization’s annual State of the County event.

On Thursday, she got her wish when Gov. John Hickenlooper’s staff confirmed he will be the keynote speaker for the event.

“Going into it, it was something we really believed was a long shot,” Oxley said. “Getting a Colorado governor not just over to the Western Slope, but in the northwest corner, rural Colorado, has been a challenge.”

Hickenlooper will give the keynote speech at the event and, depending on his schedule, could be available to speak with local residents.

The Chamber event is happening later in the year than usual to accommodate the governor’s schedule, Oxley said.

“It didn’t work its way into the schedule easily,” Oxley said. “He really stepped up and said, ‘Let’s see what we can do to make this work, I’d really like to meet with those people and do this.’”

Oxley said the effort to get Hickenlooper to the event began shortly after he entered office.

She credited Craig Mayor Don Jones for being persistent in making an effort to reach out to Hickenlooper.

“He really stayed on top of the scheduling office with inquiries, making them respond,” she said. “We were doing the same thing from different perspectives, and he’s definitely the one that caught their attention and broke through that ice first.”

Oxley said tickets will be available the week of Feb. 14. She encouraged those interested to get their tickets as soon as possible.

“Because it is the governor, along with the other things that are happening, I really do expect tickets to go fast,” Oxley said. “We did increase the number of tickets that are available in hopes of accommodating all the people that want to attend, but I really think this is going to be a headline event and tickets will go fast.”

In addition to the event, Hickenlooper also would like to spend time around Moffat County during his visit, although no plans have been made yet, Oxley said.

“We do know that he wants to spend some time in the community outside of this event,” she said. “Mayor Don Jones sent off some suggestions of what we’d like to see him do, which include tours of the power plants or the mines, our energy producers. That’s really all still up in the air.”

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