Steamboat Springs Rotarians hear from national candidates | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs Rotarians hear from national candidates

Gail Schwartz, a Democrat running for the 3rd Congressional District, speaks Tuesday to the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs.

— Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs members had a rare opportunity to hear from candidates running for national office.

“This was an exciting step forward for us,” club president Steve Hitchcock said.

Gail Schwartz, a Democrat running for the 3rd Congressional District seat, spoke along with U.S. Senate Republican candidate Darryl Glenn.

Schwartz’s incumbent opponent Republican Scott Tipton did not appear at Tuesday’s forum. Glenn’s incumbent Democrat opponent Michael Bennet also did not appear. Steamboat supporters read letters from those candidates.

Members of the audience were able to pose questions to the candidates.

One person asked the candidates what they thought the most important issues were in Routt County.

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Schwartz believed those issues were health care, housing and child care.

“These seem to be significant challenges in your community,” Schwartz said.

Chuck McConnell, who spoke for Tipton, said his candidate believed water and energy are both challenging issues in Routt County.

“The coal industry is under incredible pressure here,” McConnell said.

He said Tipton supported “responsible, reasonable energy production.”

Glenn said the cost associated with the Affordable Care Act was having a significant impact on families.

“The Affordable Care Act has taken a tremendous impact on people’s ability to be in business and stay in business,” he said.

Glenn said the act should be repealed.

Ron Krall, who spoke for Bennet, said the Affordable Care Act has provided insurance coverage to more Americans, and it protects people with pre-existing conditions.

The candidates shared their opinions of Amendment 70, which if passed by Colorado voters, would raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020.

Schwartz said she supported the amendment because she was in favor of a livable wage.

“I also believe in protecting our small businesses,” she said.

Glenn said he was not supportive of the amendment.

“You need to allow the market to be able to dictate that,” Glenn said.

The candidates were also asked to state their positions on Amendment 69, also known as ColoradoCare. If approved by voters, the amendment calls for a universal health care system to be established in Colorado. About $25 billion per year would be generated by an additional 10 percent income tax. Employees would pay one third and employers would pay two thirds.

Glenn said he was opposed to the amendment, and Schwartz said she did not have a position.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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