Taylor, Ohri tout experience in Colorado Senate contest | AspenTimes.com
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Taylor, Ohri tout experience in Colorado Senate contest

Aspen Times Staff Report

The two candidates seeking election to Colorado Senate District 8 are sharing a strategy of touting their experience – but with a little bit of a twist.

Republican Jack Taylor wants voters to look at his record to remember what he’s done for them in the past. Democrat Paul Ohri wants voters to look at his participation in local government over 24 years for an indication of what he could do in the statewide arena.

Taylor is reminding voters that he has served them for eight years as the representative in Colorado House District 57. Taylor couldn’t run again for the House seat because of term limits. So he ran instead for the northwest Colorado Senate district, which includes Eagle and Garfield counties, when fellow Republican Dave Wattenberg retired.

In a recent forum co-sponsored by The Aspen Times, Taylor stressed that his experience in the state Legislature should continue to be put in service for northwest Colorado.

The main campaign planks of Taylor, a businessman from Steamboat Springs, include local control, business promotion and tax cuts.

He reminded voters in the forum that he helped get legislation passed that clears the way to form rural transportation authorities, like the one going before Roaring Fork Valley voters in November.

His campaign literature points out his numerous accolades from business organizations over the years, including Business Legislator of the Year in 2000 by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Ohri, a businessman from Kremmling, said he’s put local control into practice for 24 years as a Grand County commissioner from 1987-99, formerly serving on the school board and currently serving as president of the board of directors of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, an important player in Western Slope water rights.

He stressed his knowledge of water rights law and the importance of that knowledge in a Legislature that’s increasingly dominated by Front Range water users.

Ohri has also called for more state efforts to encourage construction of affordable housing. He serves as chairman of the Grand County Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that provides local low-income housing.

Ohri said housing must be provided in the towns where workers are needed if the sprawling district is to keep a sense of community.

Libertarian candidate Michael Zuckerman is also in the senate district race, but he chose not to participate in the recent forum.

The race for Taylor’s old House seat has also drawn three candidates. Two of them are touting their past accomplishments as reasons to vote for them while Carbondale Libertarian Barry Maggert promotes himself as the only candidate who will work to reduce government.

“One of my goals is to reduce anything government,” said Maggert, who operates a structural engineering business.

He said his foes are “nice,” well-meaning guys who really represent the same thing. Both will create more government and more laws even if the goals of their initiatives are slightly different.

“I call them Republicrats,” said Maggert.

He kept his theme simple – continually vowing to shrink government.

Republican Al White said he is the best candidate to represent House District 57, because he would be one of only a few legislators with an understanding of tourism.

White started a ski shop in Grand County 24 years ago and managed to make a small profit despite Colorado’s most severe winter drought that inaugural year. He’s owned and operated three ski shops and a small ski lodge.

White also touted his work with a nonprofit organization that’s attempting to provide affordable housing on the Western Slope as an example of his insight into problems affecting the district.

Democrat Jay Fetcher is emphasizing his knowledge of agricultural interests and his work on school issues.

Fetcher attended a one-room school house in Clark, Colo., north of Steamboat, until high school. He grew up on a family farm and remains a cattle rancher.

Fetcher was a founder of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, which has found innovative ways to preserve land and the ranching way of life.

He served on the Steamboat Springs school board for nine years and was faced with difficult budget cuts due to state regulations. He believes more state funding is needed in schools as an investment in the future.


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