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Publish Date: 10/8/2006

Udall faces three challengers in 2nd CD

A Republican schoolteacher, a Libertarian software developer and a Green Party freelance journalist each want to unseat incumbent Democrat Mark Udall when voters choose their representative for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District on Nov. 7.

Udall, an Eldorado Springs resident with a comfortable hold on the district, is seeking his fifth straight term in Congress. He pulled 67 percent of the vote in 2004.

Udall said he wants to focus on lessening the country’s dependence on foreign oil and increasing its use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, biomass, and wind and solar energy.

“The road to energy independence leads right through Middle America,” he said. “Our farmers are going to make it a reality.”

Udall also hopes to help foster more modern, environmentally friendly transportation along the Front Range and change existing laws to help forestry officials chop down trees infested with bark beetles. He also vowed to push for better border security and a new plan for victory in Iraq.

He pointed to his push for the cleanup of Rocky Flats, and its transition into a public wildlife refuge, as a major accomplishment of his past two years in office.

Udall also highlighted his work allowing Betty Dick to stay on her property on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park after the senior citizen outlived a 25-year lease on the property, prompting National Park Service officials to pursue her eviction. Dick is not a Democrat, Udall noted.

Rich Mancuso, an Evergreen Republican with decades of experience as a high school teacher, said he wants to focus on strengthening borders and immigration policy.

He also believes public education needs an overhaul. Mancuso proposes opening more trade schools so students who don’t want to attend college can still learn valuable skills that will land them good-paying jobs.

“Not every kid is college-bound,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with a trade school.”

He also argued that the United States is too dependent on petroleum purchased from hostile countries. He advocated using other fuel sources, including nuclear power and ethanol.

“If we don’t turn to alternative fuels, we are giving our enemies money to kill us with,” he said.

Libertarian Norm Olsen, a software developer from Northglenn, said he is running for the third time — he made failed bids in 2002 and 2004 — in large part because of Washington politicians’ reluctance to cut the national debt.

“They’re basically destroying the dollar,” he said. “It’s totally irresponsible.”

Someone should make a stink about the federal deficit in the same manner that U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton, has raised awareness about illegal immigration, Olsen said.

He also voiced concern about government actions he sees as civil liberties violations, including the use of eminent domain to seize land from private ownership. He questioned the legality of phonetapping being used to track potential terrorists.

J.A. Calhoun, a Green Party member from Empire, said that if elected, he will push for the United States to withdraw troops from Iraq.

“Every day we’re in Iraq is a war crime,” he said.

Calhoun also would like to see an independent inquiry into events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I believe it was an inside job,” he said.

Calhoun said he also would push to impeach President Bush and fine companies that hire illegal immigrants.

The 2nd Congressional District includes most of Boulder County — but not Longmont — and the Tri-Towns. The boundaries extend into Gilpin, Grand, Clear Creek, Eagle and Summit counties, and part of Adams County.

Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at bturner@times-call.com.

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