Senate candidate visits town

With a career that began in journalism and continues in politics, democratic Senatorial candidate Jim Spehar has been on both sides of the microphone, the camera and the pen. His license plate, which reads "NEWS4U," now means he is making news rather than reporting it.

Spehar, the mayor of Grand Junction, was at the Depot Art Center in Steamboat Springs on Thursday afternoon to announce his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by Republican Scott McInnis. He was also there to share his running platform and opinions and hear from Routt County residents.

He simplified his views on life, addressing four simple needs.

"I'm absolutely convinced that if we're safe, healthy, well-educated and if we have a good job, we will have the tools to build a productive life and deal successfully with any problems that come our way," Spehar said.

From those needs, Spehar individually addressed national security, health care, education and employment.

Spehar said many issues are not being addressed in the best way or even truthfully right now, and he wants to change that, particularly with health insurance. Spehar said the policies and prescription plans being introduced now only put off bills for later, creating plans that will seem as though they are working until the Bush administration is "conveniently out of office."

Speaking on the Iraq issue, Spehar said the Bush Administration's call for troops to be sent to Iraq is a scheme to win voters in the November election.

"We've turned that country upside down," Spehar said. "We've got the leader, and that's good, but people need to know that we'll be there for the long haul."

On homeland security, Spehar said federally mandated security measures need to be federally funded so that local law enforcement agencies don't have to bear the financial burden.

Spehar also said he would support legislation that provided incentives to energy companies that sought out alternative energy sources over fossil fuels.

"We need to be more independent in our energy needs, because we may only have 50 years left (of fossil fuels) at the rate we're going, Spehar said.

Spehar said his experience on many statewide committees through the years makes him feel that he is a good candidate. Besides several years as a Mesa County commissioner and Grand Junction city councilman, Spehar served on the Colorado Municipal League, Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Congress, Colorado Economic Development Commission, Colorado Association of Ski Towns, and Board of Directors of Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado.

He has worked in or on behalf of 28 of the 29 counties in the Third District during the past eight years.

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