Obama visit to draw in opposition
By GARY HARMON
What originally was going to be an “anti-Obamacare rally” Saturday at Lincoln Park, miles from the Central High School location of President Obama’s health-care reform town hall, has morphed into a major opposition event.
Supporters of President Obama’s policies also are seizing the opportunity to make a strong show of support for him and his policies, including energy and environmental issues, along with health care.
Calls have gone out across the state, and in several cases beyond Colorado, to attract activists of all stripes to Obama’s town-hall meeting and to events around the Grand Valley.
Organizers of what’s now known as a “Hands Off My Health Care” rally are expecting 3,500 to 4,000 people in Lincoln Park at 10 a.m., including tea-party and other activists from the Front Range and Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico.
“We are asking everyone to wear a solid red, white or blue shirt, show our patriotism and to contrast the purple shirts worn by SEIU activists,” Nancy Rumelt of Loveland said in an e-mail, referring to the Change for America campaign of the Service Employees International Union.
Rumelt is associated with the 9-12 Project, which is an effort inspired by radio talk-show host Glenn Beck. Her group of about a dozen people will leave Loveland at 5 that morning, Rumelt said.
Environmental interests also want to make a show of support for the president, said Gavin Clark of Environment Colorado.
“We’ve got the whole environmental community working to pull out all the stops to show support for President Obama and his energy plans,” Clark said.
Environment Colorado will be based out of the Central High School parking lot, supporting clean energy “and having a great time,” Clark said.
In Lincoln Park, meanwhile, the Western Slope Conservative Alliance agenda calls for speeches by: U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction; Dr. Gregory Doyle, a Grand Junction family-practice physician; Karen Culp, a registered nurse in Grand Junction; and Jeff Crank of Colorado Springs, with Americans for Prosperity.
The Campaign for Responsible Health Care Reform will conduct a rally at 11:30 a.m. on the steps of the old Mesa County Courthouse in downtown Grand Junction.
While opposition groups from outside the Grand Valley are planning to line streets in the vicinity of Central High School, local organizers said they aren’t encouraging participants in the Lincoln Park and courthouse events to then move to Central High.
“We’re not actively doing that, no,” said Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who is working with the Campaign for Responsible Health Care Reform.
Some people are planning on their own to protest near the president’s town hall meeting, however, she said.