Ritter to speak Friday as county Dems meet

Mesa County Democrats will see several big names in state politics Friday at their annual dinner.

So far, U.S. Rep. John Salazar, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is running for the party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, have confirmed they will attend the event.

They, as with other county Democrats, will hear Gov. Bill Ritter deliver the keynote address, said party chairwoman Martelle Daniels.

The only big Democratic names invited but not attending are U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

The event will be at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. A silent auction and cocktails are to start at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 7.

Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance. Call 242-3675 for reservations.

Though there was some discussion in the governor’s office last week that Ritter might sign House Bill 1365 while in town, he actually won’t be doing that until Monday, and then at an event in Denver.

HB1365 is the measure approved by the Colorado Legislature last week to convert several coal-fired power plants on the Front Range to burn natural gas.

Supporters of that measure include Grand Junction Republicans Sen. John Penry and Rep. Steve King, and even the front-running GOP candidate for governor, Scott McInnis.

Proponents say the measure would boost natural gas production on the Western Slope and elsewhere in the state by about 15 percent.

Opponents, however, charge that it would do so at the expense of coal-mining jobs.

Ritter’s trip to Grand Junction may include other stops Friday and Saturday, but details of his itinerary were not available.


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