Prospective voters filled Armstrong Hall on the Colorado College campus to the brim on Sept. 2 for the State of the State forum.
The forum, organized by the El Paso County Democrats and the Colorado College Democrats, allowed local and state candidates for the 2018 mid-term elections, as well as activist groups to meet the public and articulate their platforms.
More than 15 candidates, ranging from those running for state treasurer to those running for Congress, attended and spoke directly to voters before taking part in a forum and Q&A with other candidates.
Betty Field, a Democrat running for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, saw the forum as an opportunity to meet the people and get her platform out to a greater number of voters.
According to Field, one of the most pressing issues facing Colorado voters is the quality of the people they are electing.
“We continue to elect people who have no idea what it is to be us. Our representatives are supposed to be public servants. They are supposed to work for the betterment of the most vulnerable among us, which they are not doing,” Field said.
Steve Lebsock, running for state treasurer, emphasized the importance of electing leaders people can trust.
“One thing I learned in the Marine Corps is the importance of having a steady hand. I will invest the state of Colorado’s money with a steady hand,” Lebsock said.
“When you write a check to the state of Colorado, it is deposited into Wells Fargo. I will draft an RFP that allows our local Colorado banks to compete. It shouldn’t just be the big six competing for funds. We have great local banks, and they should be able to compete,” Lebsock said.
Jena Griswold, a candidate for Colorado Secretary of State, emphasized the importance of electing a secretary of state who will protect voting rights against attack at the national level.
“Trump has pulled together an election commission based on false allegations of voter fraud. Every secretary of state in the nation condemned this commision except three, one of which is our current secretary of state,” Griswold said, “As a result, over 6,000 people in the state of Colorado have canceled their voter registration.”
Griswold also plans to strengthen Colorado’s democracy by increasing the number of people participating.
“I would enact automatic voter registration. Everyone will be registered to vote as soon as they interact with the state. When you register for your college classes, for example, you will automatically be registered,” Griswold said.
A central theme of this forum was the need to get more citizens involved in Colorado’s democracy.
The State of the State forum, which provided Colorado voters direct access to many of the candidates who hope to earn their votes, was a step in this direction.