Looking for respect for Clear Creek

What does the Colorado General Assembly’s Majority Leader do when she shows for her town hall meeting, but few others do? Not much, except call it good and scoot home to Boulder. But what do Clear Creek citizens do about being deprived of the rare opportunity to visit with, question, and hold their representative accountable because she failed to adequately inform them, the press, and local officials of that April 5th town hall? Grouse, one supposes. Or, in my case, voice it in an op-ed.

KC Becker (D-Boulder) is our state representative who happens to be the Majority Leader. Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) is our state senator who happens to be the Senate President. That, one would think, would give Clear Creek special prominence. Except that neither Becker nor Grantham seems very concerned about Clear Creekers and our opinions. They exist in a bubble, surrounded by protective staffs and trappings of power that keep them detached from our day-to-day life.

Six Clear Creek citizens appeared at Becker’s town hall, which isn’t surprising: It’s tough to attend an event when one has no prior knowledge of it.

To be fair, Becker has held town halls in the past with reasonable showings. But since she scaled the heights of power, Becker sightings have become rare. Her last prior Clear Creek town hall: March 2017.

And Grantham? I cannot recall his last Clear Creek town hall.

Becker and Grantham stand in contrast to their predecessors. Claire Levy as Minority Whip was available, willing, and happy to make a jaunt to Clear Creek for a town hall or interview on KYGT.  Joan Fitzgerald as Senate President not only made herself available to come up but, like Levy, genuinely looked forward to the opportunity. Boy, times have changed.

I contacted Becker and communicated with her staff to discuss the snafu. I suggested she be given a “mulligan” by having her come back in a week or two. Their response: Perhaps during the summer, which, I explained, would be like attending a postmortem wake for the 2018 legislative session.

But not to worry: Becker is a slam-dunk to be reelected in navy blue Boulder and Grantham is term-limited in crimson red Senate District 2. Which means in the end, there’s little we can do about either blowing off Clear Creek.

The host of candidates vying for the wide array of open offices up for election this November, however, ignore Clear Creek at their peril.

The primaries in June and the general election in November promise to be tight. A few votes will likely tip the scale on who will be the parties’ nominees and ultimately the November winners. Factor in unaffiliated voters now empowered to participate in the primary, and one can see how candidates who take Clear Creek voters for granted are playing a fool’s game.

Two cases in point:

Last June, former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy had scheduled to come on KYGT for a sit-down interview. The timing was coordinated with the Democrats’ summer rally to allow her to speak there. The Democrats, however, rescheduled the rally to September, and neither hide nor hair has been seen of Kennedy in Clear Creek since. Except, that is, at a home on the county’s eastern edge, a short jog from the Jefferson County line, a few weeks ago for a fundraiser.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston came to visit shortly after he launched his campaign in January 2017. He’s had an open invitation to come onto KYGT for an interview since then, which I reiterated when we crossed paths by happenstance last summer. I’m still waiting. Clear Creek is still waiting.

I propose a scale to measure officials and candidates’ attitude about Clear Creek. Let’s call it the Respect Quotient, calculated like a baseball player’s batting average: How many times officials and candidates visit Clear Creek divided by the times they traverse through here for events west.

The cavalier attitude elected officials and candidates demonstrate towards us is more than disconcerting; it flies in the face of that which they are ostensibly promoting: Being accountable in a transparent democracy.

Note: I offered Majority Leader Becker the opportunity to comment for this piece. She did not respond.

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