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Publish Date: 9/14/2006

Paccione addresses growing crowd at Sandstone


LONGMONT — Democratic Congressional candidate Angie Paccione rallied 88 supporters and undecided voters at a campaign gathering at Longmont’s Sandstone Ranch on Wednesday afternoon.

Aiming to build on momentum after breaking the $1 million mark in campaign contributions last week, Paccione promised a victory against Republican 4th Congressional District incumbent Marilyn Musgrave.

Outsourced jobs, a swelling national debt, rising costs of health care and misguided efforts in Iraq ranked high on Paccione’s list of reasons to replace who she called incompetent and corrupt leaders in Washington, D.C.

“It’s time for change in America, and we’re bringing it,” said Paccione, a current state representative.

If elected to federal office, she pledged efforts to implement tighter border and port security measures, make college affordable for everyone, increase the minimum wage and help America become more energy independent. Acknowledging her race against Musgrave and Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness could be one of the closest in the country, Paccione pleaded for her supporters to continue their work.

“Each time we come back to Longmont, we have almost double the people, and I love that,” Paccione said of her eighth campaign visit to the city. “The worst thing you can do as a candidate is talk to the same 30 people at every event.”

After her presentation, Paccione spent 45 minutes fielding questions from the group and later talking to attendees individually. Fred Dunlap, an undecided Longmont voter, engaged her in a short debate over wind energy and health care. Dunlap said afterward he still hasn’t decided who to vote for, but Paccione pointed to the exchange as her motivation for holding town hall-style meetings.

“It’s all about this fellah, right here. I want Fred to be able to see me face to face and ask the hard questions,” she said.

Most attendees, however, such as Longmont resident Laurel Flanders Umile, were Democratic faithfuls sporting Paccione pins, shirts or stickers. From Paccione’s speech, Flanders Umile said she learned that Musgrave voted against a recent anti-torture bill and that such information will help her to better inform fellow voters.

“I learned a number of important facts that will help me dialogue with people who are still undecided,” Flanders Umile said.

Two men filming the rally identified themselves as Musgrave campaign staff, but declined to say why they were filming.

Later Wednesday evening, Paccione traveled to Loveland for another rally and will host similar events in Greeley and Fort Collins today.

Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.

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