On Tuesday, Oct. 6 The Trinidad and Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce (TLACC) hosted their annual Meet the Candidates evening, this time virtually due to restrictions from the health department limiting crowds. In all, the only people that were permitted to come included candidates, chamber officials, speakers, media and staff from Trinidad State and SoCo Quick Clean.

“We are so glad to be able to have this event, even with the extra precautions,” said TLACC Chamber Director Nicia Crosson. “This is something we feel is important for voters and hope if people weren’t able to tune in live that they’ll find the video and use it to help make informed decisions when voting.”

The Chronicle-News Media Group and Tom Murphy were present and recorded the event and a recording will be uploaded and available on TrinidadTimesTV Channel 71 within the next few days. The night was also broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube, with about 30 people listening in and submitting questions during the comments portion of the event. Questions submitted online were written down by Chamber volunteers who passed them to the panel to be read.

Representing the panel was Eli DeBono with KCRT Radio, Todd Brogowski with the World Journal, and Kirk Loudon with The Chronicle-News.

Kicking off the evening, Trinidad and Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce President Cheri Jacobson welcomed everyone and introduced the moderator for the evening, Andrew Hoffman, a local Trinidad businessman. Hoffman laid the ground-rules and stated that he expected all candidates to be respectful to their opponents.

“I do want to make this clear, this is not a debate,” said Hoffman, reinforcing the fact that the evening was meant to be informative, not an argument.

First up, Jodi Amato and Phil Dorenkamp took the stage as citizens to ask voters to support Referendum 1A, which would allow the county to use excess funds collected from the already existing tax measure for emergency relief, grants, and other supportive uses to help the residents of the county.

“This is sales tax that has already been collected not a new tax,” said Amato.

The Mayor of Monument Don Wilson followed with his request that voters not support Proposition 113, stating he believed it would be bad for Colorado small business.

Las Animas County Republicans head Ty Winter spoke for Proposition 114, which would ban abortions after 22 weeks, and against Proposition 115 which states it would reintroduce Grey Wolves into Colorado.

“We already have grey wolves in Colorado,” said Winter. “We should allow ecology to balance itself.”

Democratic Candidate Ike McCorkle, running for Congressional District 4 was present and shared that above all else, he felt that we were more than Democrat, Republican, or Independent, but in fact all United States citizens.

For Senate State District 35, Democratic Candidate Carlos Lopez and Republican Candidate Cleave Simpson were present to share their goals and visions for their office and answered questions from the virtual audience.

Carlos Lopez spoke heavily for increasing the support of education, agriculture, and sustainable energy. Simpson spoke mostly toward the needs of agriculture and education with concern for economic development, including the New Elk coal mine.

Running for State House District 64 re-election is Republican Cndidate Richard Holtorf, who stepped in to serve in Kimmi Lewis’ stead following her death in 2019. Stating he had, “big boots to fill,” Holtorf said he hit the ground running at the Capitol. Of his biggest concerns, Holtorf said, was that he’d like to do something to heavily reduce the amount of illicit drug use throughout the state.

“When we can talk more about illicit drugs [methamphetamine/heroin] than we can the periodic table from chemistry, we’ve got a big problem,” said Holtorf.

Candidate Dean Ormiston who is running against incumbent Richard Holtorf for State House District 64 was scheduled as a participant, but was a no show for the evening event.

Democratic candidate Henry Solano, who is running unopposed for his last term as District Attorney, said he was thankful to be given the opportunity to continue to build on what the county has been able to accomplish over the last four years. He explained that because of the 1A tax measure that had passed, his office was able to adequately handle cases and actually make a dent in the drug problems facing the county.

Closing out the event, current Las Animas County Commissioners Felix Lopez and Luis Lopez II, who are running for re-election unopposed, echoed Solano stating they were thankful to have an opportunity to continue to move the county into the Twenty-First Century.

Following each speaker, SoCo Quick Clean staff sanitized mics, tables, chairs, podiums, and other items touched. After the event was over, they used a disinfecting spray to fill the room, ensuring all present were safe.

For more information about candidates and measures, be sure to keep an eye out for deeper looks at the candidates and other propositions and measures on the ballot in The Chronicle-News. The full video of Meet the Candidates will be broadcast on Trinidad Times TV Channel 71 locally and on YouTube and will also be available on our website www.thechronicle-news.com and our Facebook page. The Chronicle-News will also be creating individual segments of speakers for easier viewing on our website and Facebook.

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