Dec 072004
 
Authors: Brian Park

With the election now over a month old, political organizations as well as candidates from the local races are moving on to different things.

According to Chuck Fogland, president of CSU Young Republicans, the organization is still quite busy these days.

"We are working on Republican issues on campus, like academic freedom, as well as looking to expand our base on campus," Fogland said.

The organization is also planning events for the spring, including a debate on capitalism, a presentation on the war on terror and a pro-American, pro-Israel rally and event.

The CSU Young Democrats have been taking it easy the last month according to Ashley McBeth, president of the organization. But during one of the organization's next meetings, the CSU Young Democrats will be inviting newly elected state Senator Bob Bacon and House Representative Angie Paccione, both Democrats, to speak to students.

"We are inviting those two so we the students can talk to them about what we want to see get done," McBeth said.

Political organizations around Larimer County have plenty of activities on the agenda also.

The Larimer County Republican Party has been conducting its regular activities and working on its annual fundraising drives according to Chairwoman Nancy Hunter.

Hunter said the organization has kept working and has taken no time off since the election. Hunter was also pleased with all the Republican candidates who ran for office.

"I was very proud of all our candidates in every field," Hunter said.

The Larimer County Democratic Party is working on fundraising events, beginning candidate recruitment for the next couple of years and working on issues in the community according to Chairwoman Betsy Markey. The party also will be reorganizing next year and electing new party officers.

The Poudre Valley Green Party is currently in the process of trying to challenge the two-party system and pursuing instant run-off voting legislation on both a local and state level, said Hollie Kopp, a member of the party's steering committee and the former campaign manager of the Green Party candidate for Congressional House District 4, Bob Kinsey.

"We feel it is important to open up the two-party system to alternative view points and having run a third-party campaign, I can attest to the large obstacles currently looming, which will prohibit any future third party candidacy," Kopp said in an e-mail interview. "We feel voting reform is an important step to removing some of those obstacles. We are also strategizing on ways to grow our local party," Kopp wrote.

The candidates from the local state Senate and the state House campaigns all will remain involved in politics regardless of whether they won their respective campaigns or not.

Bob Bacon, the Democratic candidate for state Senate District 14, won the election, beating Republican candidate Ray Martinez and Libertarian candidate Mark Brophy.

Bacon is going through training sessions right now before he is sworn into the state Senate on Jan. 12.

The entire caucus is interested in trying to fix the fiscal difficulty our state is going through according to Bacon.

"My main thing is to secure adequate funding for higher education and CSU," Bacon said. "I want to stay in contact with students and certainly have an impact on higher education.

Ray Martinez will continue to be the mayor of Fort Collins until March, when he will have to step down from the job because of term limits. Martinez still has plenty of work to do as mayor but has not made any immediate political plans for the future. He is looking to publish a book after his term ends.

"I haven't set any plans but obviously the doors are wide open if anything opens up for me," Martinez said.

Reflecting back on the campaign Martinez is not happy about the current campaign finance laws. According to Martinez the laws did not work and in fact they made spending unlimited, with campaigns able to spend millions of dollars.

"If you have a billionaire on your side it's to your advantage and it will help your campaign a lot," Martinez said. "Something needs to be done about this."

With Martinez stepping down as mayor in March, a former opponent of his in the race for the state Senate seat likely will campaign for mayor – Mark Brophy.

Brophy, the Libertarian candidate, said there is a "fairly strong chance" he will run for mayor. Brophy is not completely sure he will run yet but right now he is taking time off from politics and deciding if he will run or not.

Brophy also is leading the campaign to repeal the grocery tax in Fort Collins and next year will possibly work on getting rid of the city ordinance that states that more than three unrelated people cannot live together.

Angie Paccione, the incumbent Democrat who ran for re-election against Republican candidate Ed Haynes kept hold of her seat for House District 53 in the State House of Representatives.

According to Paccione, education is one of the critical issues the state is facing, especially higher education. Paccione believes there is an expectation that something must be done about this issue.

"That's our goal – to move from rhetoric to reality. That's what we want to do. Before we were talking about (higher education), now we can act on it," Paccione said.

Haynes meanwhile is retired and recovering from rotator cuff surgery. In a month or six weeks Haynes wants to look for a job and become involved in politics again.

"I certainly will remain a serious political activist for Larimer County and the Republican cause," Haynes said.

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