Norton: Won’t support earmarks

Colorado State Sen. Josh Penry, left, with 4-year-old daughter Emme, talks with U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton at a Friday rally for Norton at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction.

Jane Norton moved to fire up her U.S. Senate campaign under cloudy skies and spitting rain Friday at Lincoln Park.

Norton, who is battling with Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Michael Bennet, told about 50 supporters that her new campaign manager, state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, would help her capture the nomination.

“I wasn’t satisfied with the direction and energy of the campaign,” Norton said in an interview.

She and Penry began discussing the possibility of him taking over as campaign director about a week before the change was announced.

Norton and her mother, Elinor, and other family members, later attended the Mesa State College baseball game in honor of her father, Walt “Bus” Bergman, who died this spring. Bus Bergman was a longtime coach at Mesa State.

Penry, who arrived late to the campaign event after navigating a treacherous Interstate 70 in a spring snowstorm, said Norton would make more campaign appearances than she has of late.

“We’re going to let Jane be Jane,” Penry said. “She’s her own best advocate.”

Supporters collected signatures for Norton’s bid to get on the primary ballot.

Norton needs 1,500 valid signatures of registered Republicans in each of the state’s seven congressional districts to guarantee a spot on the ballot.

Norton hit again on several themes she has struck before, including attacking the growth of the public sector.

The average public-sector salary is now $71,000, more than double the average private- sector salary of $31,000, Norton said.

She also criticized Bennet for seeking what she said were 60 earmarks costing $250 million.

The project might have been worthwhile, she said, “but they should have gone through the appropriations process.”

“I won’t seek or support earmarks,” Norton added.

Norton urged her supporters to join in grass-roots efforts, as well.

“This is not the year to sit it out,” she said.


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