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Publish Date: 9/3/2005

Ref. C, D backers to take a hike
‘Colorado Walk’ to raise awareness of ballot issues this fall


DENVER — Backers of two state budget-stabilization measures on the Nov. 1 ballot hope to demonstrate and build support for those referendums with a 350-mile “Colorado Walk” that starts today.

The trek is to begin at 10 a.m. on U.S. Highway 287 near the Wyoming-Colorado border. It will conclude Oct. 10 on Interstate 25 near Raton Pass at the Colorado-New Mexico border.

At least a handful of activists intend to walk the entire route, according to Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver. Gordon, who hopes to walk 80 percent to 90 percent of the route, said other Colorado lawmakers who support Referendums C and D will join the walkers for selected 12-mile daily stretches as the event passes in or near those legislators’ districts.

Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, said he will try to participate in at least parts of the Colorado Walk while it passes through Boulder County.

Supporters of Referendums C and D have said the Colorado Walk is a way to educate Coloradans about the need for those measures. Referendum C asks voters to allow the state to keep and spend a projected $3.7 billion over the coming five years, money that otherwise would have to be refunded to Coloradans. Referendum D asks voters to let the state issue up to nearly $2.1 billion in bonds to finance transportation projects and other improvements and programs.

When C and D supporters unveiled plans for the trek last month, Ethan Eilon, a spokesman for the “Vote No! It’s Your Dough” organization campaign against the measures, said walkers would at least symbolically be headed in the right direction.

Eilon predicted both referendums would “head straight south” to defeat.

Gordon said “it’s possible” that C and D foes would show up at various points in the walk to demonstrate their opposition to those measures.

“I think there will be debates” along the route over the next several weeks, Gordon said.

More than 320 people have signed up to join portions of the walk, Gordon said.

For others who want to participate or observe the hike, the tentative schedule for the northern stretches will have the walkers arriving in Berthoud on Wednesday, traveling from Berthoud to Longmont on Thursday and proceeding from Longmont via Colorado Highway 119 to Boulder on Friday.

Also on Friday morning, at least some of the walkers are to join other C and D supporters for a rally at Front Range Community College’s Longmont campus.

Walkers plan to spend Saturday, Sept. 10, in Boulder to campaign for votes there and then travel to Louisville and Lafayette on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Another group of walkers is to split off on Wednesday in Fort Collins and take their campaign through Weld County, including a stop in Firestone the night of Saturday, Sept. 10.

John Fryar can be reached by e-mail at jfryar@times-call.com.

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