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7/14/2004

Kennedy sets sights on Congress

By Pierrette J. Shields
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — Clad in a wetsuit and armed with props, Republican congressional candidate Michael Kennedy met with reporters on Tuesday at the Boulder Reservoir to talk water.

Kennedy is hoping to best primary challenger Stephen Hackman for the chances to take on incumbent Democrat Mark Udall in November.

Kennedy’s major campaign focus is water conservation and drought planning, although he acknowledges that the candidates for Congress have to take stands on terrorism, the war in Iraq and education.

“There is an effort to establish a national drought policy, he said, adding later, “We’ve got to think about what is becoming a valuable resource and commodity.”

The Boulder Republican told three reporters who attended the meeting that he is also interested in encouraging research and development into alternative fuels, like hydrogen energy.

“Can we change our perceptions that much to get away from energy sources like these,” he asked, picking up an empty plastic bottle of 10W-30 Pennzoil motor oil and wagging it for emphasis.

Kennedy said he has been traveling the 10 counties in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District trying to meet voters.

With kayaks strapped to the campaign vehicle — his son’s Ford Avalanche with California tags — Kennedy said that he has been focusing on town centers and talking to small businesspeople to try to drum up the vote.

The drought has struck so many, he said, that people approach him knowing that water conservation and research is the main plank on his campaign platform.

The primary campaign hasn’t yet been blistering, he said.

Republican voters will choose between Kennedy and Hackman on Aug. 10.

Kennedy recalls meeting Hackman in a couple of forums, but the two haven’t debated.

Kennedy is the founder of the Boulder-based Center for Enterprise and Accountability. He ran for Congress in 1974, and has taught at the University of Colorado and in Wyoming. He has also helped to craft a bill, which was vetoed, that would have required the federal government to provide audit summaries to the public.

According to his campaign biography, Hackman co-founded and serves as lay minister for the Freedom Christian Church, which meets at the Denver Athletic Club. He also spent four years from 1990 to 1994 traveling in China where he provided Bibles to Christians who were afraid of persecution and in 1995 founded the Island City Church in the nightclub district in Hong Kong. He has a wife and a son.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.