Party caucuses set for Tuesday in Steamboat |

Party caucuses set for Tuesday in Steamboat

Community gatherings set stage for delegates, party platforms, candidates

Brent Boyer

— The health care debate is expected to intensify this week on the nation's largest and smallest political stages.

As Democrats in Washin­gton, D.C., attempt to push reform legislation through the House of Representatives and Republicans work to block a bill they don't support, health care also will be a primary topic of discussion in much smaller venues Tuesday at party caucuses across Routt County. Routt County Democratic and Republican party leaders are urging registered members of their parties to attend Tuesday night's caucuses, which allow citizens to discuss local, state and national issues that could become part of their party's platform; select delegates for party assemblies next month; and learn more about candidates who will be on ballots later this year.

All caucus meetings start promptly at 7 p.m. Tuesday, regardless of party or precinct. Party leaders suggest attendees show up to their precinct locations no later than 6:45 p.m. to register.

Call the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office at 970-870-5556 or 970-870-5558 to learn your precinct.

At their core, party caucuses represent politics at the grass-roots level. Delegates and platform ideas named locally, for example, have the potential to rise to state and national levels.

At each precinct caucus, county Democrats and Republicans will select delegates to attend their party's county assembly next month.

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At the county assemblies, those delegates will vote on candidates in contested races. For example, at the Republican County Assembly, delegates will vote on the two Republican candidates for Routt County sheriff, Garrett Wiggins and David Smith Jr.

In order for Wiggins and Smith Jr. to be on the ballot in the primary election Aug. 10, each candidate must receive 30 percent or more of the votes from delegates at the county assembly.

If a candidate receives less than 30 percent but more than 10 percent of votes, that candidate can petition to be on the August primary ballot.

If a candidate receives less than 10 percent of votes at the county assembly, that candidate cannot petition and is ineligible for the primary.

Routt County Democrats will select 100 county delegates at Tuesday's caucuses, or about five delegates per precinct. Their county assembly is April 10 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

County Republicans also will select 100 delegates Tuesday for their county assembly, which is April 10 in the Bristol Hall gymnasium at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus.

Each party will select alternates, as well.

"Those 100 delegates, or seated alternates to make 100, will vote on who they want to see on the ballot," said retired state Sen. Jack Taylor, chairman of the Routt County Republican Central Committee.

Furthermore, at the county assemblies, each party will select delegates to attend state party conventions in May.

Catherine Carson, chairwoman of Routt County Democrats, said the party will send 26 delegates to her party's state convention May 22 in Broomfield. Taylor said Republicans will send 19 delegates to their state convention May 22 in Loveland. The number of delegates is based on the county's registered voters in the last presidential election.

Any citizen who has been a registered voter for longer than 30 days in the appropriate precinct, with the appropriate party, can vote to select delegates.

Platform issues move up the ladder in much the same way as delegates. If a resolution is given support at a precinct caucus, it will be heard at the county assembly and then possibly the state assembly, and so on, eventually shaping the goals and positions of a party nationwide.

Carson said she expects health care and campaign finance reform to lead Democrats' discussion of platform issues Tuesday.

"The platform is the most engaging, inclusive and fun part of the caucus," she said.

Taylor also cited health care as a big issue Tuesday, along with how to reduce government spending.

"There are a lot of concerned people on both sides of the aisle — we're certainly open to independents, or anybody, coming to our caucuses," Taylor said.

Democratic Party caucus locations

■ Precinct 1 (North Routt) — The home of Diane White-Crane, 27550 Routt County Road 64 (Seedhouse Road) in Clark.

■ Precincts 2, 5 (Hayden) — Hayden Public Library, 201 E. Jefferson Ave. in Hayden

■ Precincts 3, 4, 6, 7, 11-18 (Steamboat Springs) — Soda Creek Elementary School, 220 Park Ave. in Steamboat

■ Precincts 8, 9 (Oak Creek and Stagecoach) — Oak Creek Community Center, 227 Dodge Ave. in Oak Creek

■ Precinct 10 (Yampa) — Yampa Town Hall, 56 Lincoln Ave. in Yampa

Republican Party caucus locations

■ Precinct 1 (North Routt) — North Routt Fire Station No. 2, 61915 Routt County Road 129 in Hahn’s Peak

■ Precincts 2, 5 (Hayden) — Hayden High School, 495 W. Jefferson Ave. in Hayden

■ Precinct 3 (west Steamboat) — Anchor Way Baptist Church, 40650 Anchor Way in Steamboat II

■ Precinct 4 (Steamboat Springs) — Home of Jack and Geneva Taylor, 317445 Soda Creek Rim Road in Strawberry Park

■ Precincts 6, 7 — Home of Moose Barrows, 30015 Routt County Road 14

■ Precincts 8, 9 (Stagecoach and Oak Creek) — Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd. in Oak Creek

■ Precinct 10 (Yampa) — Yampa Ladies Aid Hall, 83 E. First Ave. in Yampa

■ Precincts 11, 12 — Home of Del and Nina Lockhart, 1084 Village Lane in Steamboat Springs

■ Precincts 13-18 (Steamboat Springs) — Commissioners Hearing Room, third floor of the Routt County Courthouse, 136 Sixth St. in Steamboat Springs

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