U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and a slew of other prominent government officials are to be in Grand Junction this weekend for Club 20's fall conference at Colorado Mesa University.
But the biggest question about the event, however, is who is to be the featured speaker during the main luncheon on Saturday, something Club 20 is saving as a surprise.
Club 20 Executive Director Christian Reece won't reveal who that is, other than to say "it's bigger" than Gardner and Polis, and someone from the federal level, such as Interior Secretary David Bernhardt or William Perry Pendley, head of the Bureau of Land Management.
In July, Bernhardt announced that the BLM will move its national headquarters to Grand Junction, meaning more than two dozen high-level bureau officials soon could be living in the Grand Valley.
The annual event, which begins Friday with a luncheon and evening steak fry, is an opportunity for local residents and officials to let officials know just what's on the minds of Western Slope residents, Reece said.
"Now, more than ever before, it is imperative to engage with our elected officials so we have a voice in shaping the landscape of western Colorado, both literally and figuratively," Reece said. "The issues we are facing as a region, a state and a nation have far reaching implications, and it is vital that our leaders, both locally and in our nation's capital, be strong advocates on behalf of the needs of our communities."
Gardner's and Polis' attendance is significant, but not for the same reasons.
Gardner, a Republican, has come under fire in recent weeks over allegations that he has not been making himself available to the general public, while the Democrat Polis was highly criticized during last year's elections for declining to participate in a Club 20 debate with his GOP opponent, Walker Stapleton.
Other prominent speakers during the event's Saturday presentations include U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat.
The event also is to feature Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway, who is to speak about a new reinsurance program expected to reduce premiums for those who purchase coverage on the state's health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado. That program is expected to reduce premiums by as much as 30 percent in high-cost areas, much of which are on the Western Slope.
Lastly, Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow are expected to talk about reintroducing wolves into Colorado, sage grouse habitat issues and the progress being made by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in implementing SB181, a measure approved by the Colorado Legislature this year to revamp regulations on how the state oversees oil and natural gas development.
All conference events are open to the public, but they come at a cost and registration is required. Go to club20.org.