9 July 2008: Fitz-Gerald: a favorite daughter of Clear Creek

Ftiz-Gerald is Clear Creek’s favorite daughter

Consensus—it has been tough finding it lately. From Iraq to rising fuel prices, we are a divided nation. Likewise for our candidates for office: we dig in our heels, often due to party loyalty, and absolutely refuse to entertain alternative positions and candidates.

There is, however, one right candidate who, for Clear Creek citizens, transcends that: Joan Fitz-Gerald.

For seven years, Joan was our state senator, and during that stretch she also served as the first female President of the Senate. Throughout that time, Joan was not just a strong advocate for Clear Creek at the capitol, she was also an engaged and active participant in the processes, especially on critical issues such as the I-70 Corridor and DUSEL—the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory—at the Henderson Mine.

While other state and national office holders made a rare foray to Clear Creek, coming up and meeting with groups and concerned citizens regardless of party affiliation was a regular feature of Joan’s schedule.

I recall when Senator Chris Romer pushed the idea of tolling at the tunnels. A contingent of locals from Clear Creek and Summit counties attended a rally organized by Senator Dan Gibbs at the capitol to speak out against the hair-brained proposal. Only one of the three candidates running for our congressional seat attended and spoke: Joan Fitz-Gerald.

I asked Joan then how the tolling idea made it through the legislative process, and she responded that had she still been Senate president, it would have been DOA. And knowing Joan, it would have been dead on arrival. She understood and was sensitive to the harmful ramifications of the plan, and would have said, “Not on my watch!”

Joan Fitz-Gerald speaks honestly from the heart. She doesn’t, however, speak without thinking through her position on an issue. And while she doesn’t shoot from the hip, Joan is not afraid to be in the front on any issue for which she has a passion.

Joan was raised in New York City, on the west side of Manhattan. Along with her husband John, she and I chatted once about growing up in that concrete jungle and how the storyline from West Side Story is a real part of their upbringing. One result is her pugnacious spirit many find so admirable. In any tiff, you want Joan on your side.

The reality of the August 12 Democratic primary in the contest to replace Mark Udall as our representative in Congress, since he is running for the Senate, is that the winner will be our next congressperson.

Congressional District 2 encompasses Boulder and extends west through Eagle County. The district is quite progressive, which means the Republican candidate—Quick! Who is he?—has as much of a chance of winning the seat in November as does the Democratic candidate in Colorado Springs does there: the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell.

In the three-way contest, Joan is facing stiff competition particularly against deep-pockets Jared Polis, who has already donated close to $5,000,000 of his own dollars. You might have seen his interminable TV ads. It comes down to this: Polis is trying to buy the seat; Joan is earning it the old-fashion way: by working hard for our trust.

Her opponents’ political strengths lie in the Front Range, particularly in Boulder. Joan’s strength resides in the mountain communities.

This is an opportunity for every Clear Creek adult to stand behind a candidate who has ceaselessly put it on the line for us and who, when she gets to Washington D.C., will not forget Clear Creek. I have no doubt she will be as accessible and considerate of our local issues as Congresswoman Fitz-Gerald as she was when President of the Colorado Senate.

That means every non-Democrat should consider flipping to the Democratic Party for the primary and voting for her. To do so, Republicans, Greens, and other-party registrants must change their affiliation by this coming Monday, July 14. Unaffiliated voters, though, can anytime up to Election Day.

Joan will be in Georgetown at the Community Center on Sunday, July 20 at 6:00. While it is technically a political event, it will be an excellent opportunity for the Clear Creek community to meet and chat with her, a community event not only to show our support, but also our thanks for all she has done for Clear Creek—all of us regardless of party affiliation or voting status.

In short, even though she lives in Coal Creek Canyon, Joan Fitz-Gerald is one of us: a favorite daughter and a vital member of the Clear Creek community.

Joan has worked tirelessly for us. It’s time we did so in return.

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