Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry to headline Lincoln Dinner |

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry to headline Lincoln Dinner

Mike Lawrence

Josh Penry

— State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry will visit Steamboat Springs this weekend to headline a lengthy list of speakers at local Republicans' annual Lincoln Dinner.

The Routt Coun­ty Republican Cen­tral Committee's fundraising event begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Springs Community Cen­ter. Former state Sen. Jack Taylor, chairman of the committee, said a social hour featuring music by the Yampa Valley Boys and a cash bar will be followed by dinner at 6:30 with speakers beginning at about 7 p.m. An auction will close out the evening. The suggested donation is $25 for adults and $10 for students. Taylor said Steamboat Smokehouse will provide meat, and attendees are asked to bring side dishes for the "modified potluck" meal.

This is the Lincoln Dinner's second year at the Community Cen­ter, a change from the GOP's traditional venue of the Old Town Pub. Paul Strong, who assists with party finances, said the change was made to make the dinner more affordable. Tickets for dinners at Old Town Pub usually cost about $40, and the Com­­­­mun­­­ity Center enables the GOP to charge less, Strong said.

Taylor said at least 12 candidates or representatives of candidates for local, state and national offices are slated to attend Saturday's event.

The list includes Perry Buck, wife of U.S. Senate candidate and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck; Lori McInnis, wife of gubernatorial candidate and former Congressman Scott McInnis; congressional candidates Scott Tipton, of Cortez, who also is a state representative, and Bob McConnell, of Steamboat Springs; state treasurer candidates Walker Stap­leton and J.J. Ament; and state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, of Hot Sulphur Springs, up for re-election this year.

"All of these people we're talking about will have a chance to speak," Taylor said.

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He added that U.S. Senate candidate Tom Wiens and gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes could show up late, after a GOP event in Douglas County earlier Saturday. U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton's campaign "is trying to figure out a way to get here, as well," Taylor said.

State Sen. Al White, of Hayden, who is not up for re-election this year, also is scheduled to attend the dinner.

Local candidates to attend include Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland; Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg; Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon; and two Republican sheriff candidates, Routt County Rifle Club President David Smith and All Crimes Enforcement Team Cmdr. Garrett Wiggins.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak and 14th Judicial District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham are not up for re-election this year but are expected to attend Saturday.

Republican state Chairman Dick Wadhams and Penry are arguably the two highest-profile participants in Saturday's event. Penry, of Grand Junction, made headlines late last year by withdrawing from the governor's race, in which he likely would have faced Scott McInnis — his former employer, also from Grand Junction — in a primary.

"That would have been a difficult primary … it would have caused a lot of divided loyalties," Strong said.

Penry has been a strong critic of regulations on the oil and gas industry that took effect last year for environmental concerns and that some blame for a slowdown in drilling applications. The recession and dropping price of natural gas also are commonly considered factors in the industry's decline, which has disrupted economies across the Western Slope.

Taylor said federal spending and health care issues also would be hot topics Saturday.

If you go

What: Routt County Republican Central Committee’s annual Lincoln Dinner

When: Social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, with the Yampa Valley Boys and a cash bar; dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.; speakers start at about 7 p.m.

Where: Steamboat Springs Commun­ity Center, west of downtown Steam­­boat on U.S. Highway 40

Tickets: The suggested donation is $25 for adults and $10 for students. Children younger than 5 are admitted free. Tickets can be bought at the door or in advance by calling former state Sen. Jack Taylor at 970-879-1880.

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