Club 20 debates kick off Saturday

The 2016 election season kicks off Saturday with the Club 20 fall debates at Two Rivers Convention Center.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican, and state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Democrat, will debate for the first time at 5:30 p.m. The two are vying to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado.

Amendment 69, the initiative which would set up a single-payer health care system in Colorado, will be debated at 6:30.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, a Republican, will meet for the first time in the 7:15 p.m. debate.

Admission to the evening debates is $15 for Club 20 members and $25 for nonmembers.

There also will be debates and presentations by unchallenged candidates during the day.

State Rep. Dan Thurlow, a Republican from House District 55, whose boundaries are those of the city of Grand Junction, will make a presentation at 8:10 a.m. State Rep. Yeulin Willett, a Republican from House District 54, which includes the rest of Mesa County and part of Delta County, will speak at 8:30.

State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Republican, will debate challenger Emily Tracy, a Democrat, for Senate District 8 at 8:50 a.m.

State Rep. Don Coram, a Republican, will discuss his bid to represent House District 58 at 9:30 a.m., followed by a debate between state Rep. Millie Hamner, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Bob Schutt for House District 61.

State Rep. KC Becker, a Democrat, will discuss her bid to represent House District 13 at 11 a.m. with state Rep. Diane Mitsch-Bush, a Democrat, discussing her plans for House District 26.

Steve ErkenBrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, will speak about health care at 11:40 a.m.

The luncheon will include debates about various initiatives.

State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Republican, will discuss his bid to represent House District 57 at 1:40 p.m.

For House District 59, Rep. J. Paul Brown, a Republican, and challenger Barbara McLachlan, a Democrat, will debate at 2 p.m.

There will be a discussion about referenda and initiatives at 2:40 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. debate between Republican Joyce Rankin and Democrat Christine Pacheco-Kovaleski for the 3rd Congressional District seat on the state Board of Education.

Attendance at the morning and afternoon debates requires registration, which is available at


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