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Salazar pays visit to valley

Greg Masse

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ken Salazar pledged to be the “people’s senator” if elected this fall.

He is campaigning to get elected to the U.S. Senate seat that Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell is vacating.

He’ll face Democratic opponent Mike Miles in the state’s Aug. 10 primary to see who will move on to the general election for the Democrats.

Salazar, 49, who is now the state’s attorney general, spoke to a crowd of about 35 at the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub Wednesday afternoon as part of a campaign trip that he said will eventually reach all 64 of Colorado’s counties.

“We chose this establishment specifically because they don’t serve Coors beer,” Garfield County Democratic Party chairman Don Kaufman joked, referring to one of Salazar’s Republican opponents, Pete Coors.

Salazar spoke for an hour Wednesday on some of the issues shaping his campaign. He then drove up to the Aspen home of Alan and Gail Schwartz. About 150 people, including many of the most recognizable movers and shakers in the upper valley, were on hand to meet and listen to Salazar.

The candidate, a seasoned veteran of statewide campaigns, moved from person to person, asking about their lives and inquiring to their issues.

“My history is one that is steeped in the landscape and history of Colorado,” the fifth-generation Coloradan said. “In the end, I want to be the people’s senator, not a rubber stamp for whoever’s president.”

Salazar didn’t speak against the war in Iraq, but he did say he’d like to see the United States stop acting alone in its foreign policy.

“We are in Iraq today and it is my opinion that we can’t cut and run,” he said. “America ought not to be acting unilaterally in the world. I have two daughters … and I don’t want them to go into a world where Americans are hated wherever they go.”

On the state of the budget, Salazar said the country’s fiscal health has been handled in the wrong way and said permanent tax cuts won’t work because the deficit will continue to grow.

“We need to make sure we pay for these things instead of passing the debt onto our children,” he said. “I don’t know the answer yet on how we’re going to cut the deficit, but it’s our moral obligation to do so.”

He called abortion “a decision made between a woman and her God.”

Education and the environment will also be focal points of his campaign.

“The environment is something we have an opportunity to borrow for a short time, but we have an obligation to give it back to our children in a better condition than when we got it,” he said.

Salazar called for a balance between all sides in the drilling for natural gas.


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