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Local Republicans shift focus
County delegates pass resolutions about state and national issues

March 2, 2008
| Herald Staff Writer

La Plata County Republicans will shift their focus to state and national issues after holding their county assembly Saturday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

La Plata County Republicans Chairman Ron Tate reviews resolutions before voting at the party’s convention Saturday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

The 98 assembled delegates officially nominated two candidates for the Board of County Commissioners' election in November. Incumbent Kellie Hotter will defend her District 2 seat against Democrat Peter Tregillus, and Bayfield veterinarian Harry Baxstrom will challenge incumbent Democrat Wally White for the District 3 seat.

Much of the assembly was spent discussing 32 resolutions that were proposed during the Republican caucuses held Feb. 5. Only three of the resolutions were voted down, and 29 were approved.

County Party Chairman Ron Tate said he will write letters on behalf of the party's central committee and submit them to local, state or federal government leaders, depending on the topic of the resolution. For example, a resolution asking the city of Durango to repeal a 2003 "Sanctuary City" policy will be sent to the Durango City Council. Councilors voted unanimously in July 2004 on the resolution that says city resources should not be used to identify or turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials unless the immigrants commit crimes.

Republicans also passed a resolution to ban abortions in Colorado and will send it to state representatives and senators; and a resolution asking that English be declared the official language of the United States will be sent to U.S. congressmen and senators.

"It's fun to see how the political process works," said Sidny Zink, former mayor of Durango and the person responsible for counting the resolution votes. "Not every individual job is fun, but this is how things get started in this country."

Local Republicans will next attend the 59th state Congressional District Assembly on April 5 at the Durango Community Recreation Center. State Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, is expected to be nominated at that time to run for re-election. No Democratic opponent has announced intent to challenge Roberts.

Tate said La Plata County can send as many as 49 delegates to the assembly, but the local party is still a few seats short of that total. However, Tate said he's not concerned because there is no challenger to Roberts from within the party.

La Plata County will also send 49 delegates to the 6th Judicial District Assembly, but no date has been set for it because incumbent District Attorney Craig Westberg has not announced his intention to seek re-election.

Local Republicans also will be well represented at assemblies later this spring. On May 30, 38 La Plata Republican delegates will attend the 3rd Congressional District Assembly in Westminster, where Delta County resident Wayne Wolf will seek the nomination to challenge incumbent Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa. The next day, 38 delegates will attend the Republican state assembly in Broomfield.

Tate said several delegates Saturday submitted letters of intent to be considered as possible delegates for the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis on Sept. 1. But like their Democratic counterparts, La Plata County Republicans face an uphill battle in securing a national seat when pitted against delegates from larger counties and cities.

"We have folks who would like to go to the next step but yes, it's a long shot," Tate said.

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