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Terrific turnout at political forum

WALSENBURG — It was a dark and stormy night last Thursday in Walsenburg, but it didn’t scare off the concerned voters of Huerfano County. A standing room only crowd of over 75 people filled the community room of Spanish Peaks Library to listen to and compare the candidates running for each of the local contested races. The forum, sponsored by the Huerfano World Journal, began with presentations by David Johnston, Walsenburg City Administrator, and John Galusha, County Administrator. Johnston (and later in the evening, Mayor Jim Eccher) asked the voters of Walsenburg to vote YES on the Local Ballot question 2A, which will increase local sales taxes to offset shortfalls in the city’s general fund. Galusha explained that a YES vote on ballot question 1A will impose a 5% excise tax on commercial sales of marijuana which are transported out of the county for retail sale. This tax will help ensure that some revenue from commercial growing operations will go into the county coffers. The attendees then heard from Marcy Freeburg who is running for

State Representative, District 62. Both candidates for this office were asked to attend the forum; however Ed Vigil (D) had a scheduling conflict and could not attend. Freeburg had the stage to herself as she gave a brief campaign speech outlining her views on education and energy which are much different than her opponent’s views. After these presentations, the forum got down to business by letting each candidate for the five contested county races speak and answer questions submitted beforehand to the Huerfano World Journal office. The audience listened attentively throughout the evening as the various candidates presented their qualifications and plans for a brighter Huerfano County future. All the candidates were poised and thoughtfully answered the questions presented. This well attended forum allowed voters to compare the candidates face to face. The many diverse citizens in attendance showed how local democracy is supposed to work. Even though there were many partisan supporters there, the audience politely listened to each candidate and applauded. At the conclusion of the two-hour forum, almost everyone seemed to express the same sentiment, “Huerfano County is very fortunate to have so many qualified candidates this year!”