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I love my state, Colorado and my home town, Denver.   I was very proud of the Democratic convention we put on in Denver in 2008 - many here on Kos were there.  And now, my home town Denver is hosting the first Presidential Debate for 2012 and pulling out all the stops once again.  (Well except the traffic stops due to high security re-routing of one of the main interstates which is adjacent to DU, event venue.)  The University of Denver, is my Alma Mater (MBA) and another institution I am very proud of.  

The University along with Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock put together this Welcome to Colorado and Denver video message.

Welcome to Colorado!  More about our state and my take on winning Colorado for President Obama on the flip side, flip it good.

Vail I moved from Denver to the High Country (Eagle County) in 1977, so my viewpoint is from a high country perspective.  I don't view my home in Edwards as rural, although many would consider it so.  Because we are home to Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, it is very 'cosmopolitan' - similar to Aspen in that respect.  

My viewpoint of the status of the election in Colorado is from a high country perspective.  In the mountains, the campaign (OFA) has established two local field offices and there are more than seven more in nearby mountain communities - Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Silverthorne, Fairplay, Salida, Gunnison.  The President's campaign has established a serious field effort in our area and the ground game is going to be the key to Colorado and elsewhere in the battleground states.  OFA 2012 NW Mountain Field Offices  Now mind you, these are the offices that appear when I input my zip code at OFA - there are many, many more throughout the state!  These offices are abuzz with activity, day and night.  Voter registration is on-going through the October 9th and canvassing.  In our areas, it is extremely transient and it's like starting over every election to get people registered and make sure they know how and where to vote.  

So how's it going in my area and Colorado?  In my area, the job situation (economy) continues to be the primary issue.  Like many smaller markets throughout the nation, we felt the effect of the recession about a year after the larger (metropolitan) markets in the U.S.  And we are now just beginning to see a slight uptick in construction but we will not be experiencing the growth that is being reported from Denver for probably another 6 months.  Needless to say, we are still smarting and locals continue to feel the pinch in their paychecks.  I have some friends who have had to file for bankruptcy due to underwater property values while their businesses took a huge hit and their income was non-existent.  This is primarily in the construction, real estate categories.  The resort of Vail sales tax revenue was above forecast most of this year, so there are some sure signs of improvement.  We are almost exclusively dependent on tourism in our area.  Agriculture and mining are still with us, but not the large employers they were when I first moved here, 35 years ago.  The economic downturn has forced many, many locals to move back home. In some cases that is back to their home states and in other cases many have returned to Mexico.  

An economic council was established to assess new market opportunities for our area.  The primary direction identified is the business of "medical tourism".  The mission in part states "brand the Vail Valley as the preferred location for medical tourism & Continuing Medical Education groups and meetings, resulting in increased use of current infrastructure and short term economic growth via increasing tourism." In the future, Eagle County, Colorado could become a medical mecca similar to what the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics have done for Rochester, MN &  Cleveland, OH.  But with a high mountain backdrop that is unsurpassed!  And our focus will be in orthopedics and area we are well known for - remember Kobe Bryant's visit to Vail was for surgery.  I worked in the continuing medical education field for 11 years before owning my own business and have a good knowledge of this part of the market envisioned by the local movers.  But I also saw that even doctors have a limit on how much they are willing to spend for resort CME.  But I am confident we can reclaim our share of that market.  We also built a new cancer center in the valley in 2001.  I have to admit that the visionaries of this project were on track when they determined there was a need for such a service in the central Rockies.  The center is the only facility of its kind between Denver and Salt Lake City.  Given that much of the real estate in the area is owned by wealthy second-homeowners, the ability to raise donations for such facilities is at hand.  If you are in the medical field, watch for job openings in our area.  It's a great place to live, although pricey, and work.  And we continue to bring in trained professionals from outside the area since we don't yet have enough trained locals to fill many of the jobs requiring technical skills.  But we are working on it!  

Here is a recent chart of unemployment in our area that demonstrates that progress is being made.

What all this means for the Presidential election?  In Eagle County, Colorado we are seeing more and more optimistic signs that the valley will succeed and jobs will return.  But, since we are still behind the curve of the recovery, we continue to have many who are in need of basic services like help with food and paying utilities.  The local Salvation Army food bank has a regular line for assistance and it is not yet subsiding.  But, many are better off than they were four, er, three years ago.  And the fact that Mr. Romney is not very likeable and the President is still liked in our area and not necessarily blamed for the state of the country, the strong ground game will drive voters to the polls to vote for the President.  Colorado over all is 'lean Obama' and we have seen the first polling in the state giving the President 50%.  It's not going to be easy to win Colorado and we welcome volunteers to help from 'safe' Obama states but I believe we will see Colorado as a win for the President on November 6th.  

Anecdotal evidence is all I can hang my hat on, but I have been involved in elections in my area for decades so I have a clue.  I am hosting a debate watch party next week at my new restaurant.  Apathetic voters is the norm here in happy valley and the local party and OFA just announced the debate in the past 24 hours and I have RSVP's already!  Unheard of in our area.  Most of the time people don't bother to reply and if they do it's at the last moment. I am asking my staff to be ready to pour margaritas and serve up specials because we are going to have a turn-out for the debate!   If you are in the area, feel free to join us.  High Country Mex food served at a high country debate event.  Are we having fun yet?

On a side note:  There is also a local field office for our outstanding Democratic CO-03 candidate Sal Pace who is running a great campaign in a Republican leaning district that contains most of the western part of the state and Pueblo to the south and Grand Junction to the west.   Redistricting split our county and left part of it in CO-02 (Rep. Jared Polis) and the rest went back to CO-03.) If you are in a position to help Pace defeat Tipton, please do so at the link.  

Welcome to Denver, Colorado. Enjoy the debate!

Originally posted to greenchiledem on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and LatinoKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves.-Thomas Jefferson

    by greenchiledem on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:32:35 PM PDT

  •  Nicely done diary (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure keeping my fingers crossed for Colorado. I lived in Denver for four years in the early 80s and Colorado will always hold a special place in my heart.

    Make sure to let navajo know about your event so she can get it up on the New Day diary. I hope you have a great turnout both at the restaurant and the polls.

  •  Wonderful diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenchiledem, arealniceguy

    It really is exciting the debates will be here but I'm hearing security is going to make traffic a nightmare because lots of streets will be blocked off. Hoping it doesn't and people are patient. Thanks for the info and I'm looking forward to eating at your restaurant next time I'm up skiing. BTW, my younger sis graduated from DU but me? I'm a CU grad! Go Buffs! lol

    •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The news has been getting out the word about the traffic so hopefully people know that I-25 and other roads will be closed.  And understand that Denver is in the national spotlight, again and be ok with it for a few days.  
      Please introduce yourself when you stop in.

      "There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves.-Thomas Jefferson

      by greenchiledem on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:35:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A salute to the great state of Colorado from Texas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You'all are known for your great friendship.
    About the debate

    The expression "Lead, follow, or get out of the way applies.

    Rmoney's claim to fame is his hiding behind Bain and gutting companies for profit so he is not a good 'leader'. I won't mention his hair cut bully leadership as that does not qualify for good leadership.

    We know Rmoney doesn't follow very well, they have been telling him what to say to win and he keeps twisting around and around opening his mouth to change feet.

    Sooooo... HE NEEDS TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY! and we can help with that.

    Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

    by arealniceguy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:40:07 PM PDT

  •  hello the Gcd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congrats on your new restaurant.  I can't make it for the debate.  

    My brother lives in Gypsum though so maybe I'll be able to bring a party of people to patronage your eatery soon.

    Yes, we have an OFA in Carbondale.  Though Obama is going to get rolled in most of Garfield County...he'll do ok in Bonedale.  The force is strong in the neocons of W.CO.  Eagle is better...Pitco is blue like Boulder County.  Which is hilarious since Pitco is prime 1%er territory.  Its actually kind of funny because the Kochs all have Aspen houses but I can't imagine they really like the area since Pitco is filled with the rich Dems who believe in science and the environment.  

    But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. – Yeats

    by Bill O Rights on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:34:37 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for stopping in. (0+ / 0-)

      I am very familiar with Garco and West Garfield is tough, if not impossible for Dems.  I will look forward to meeting you when get a chance to stop in.  If possible, call ahead to make sure I know you are coming so I can make a point of being on property.  
      By the way, you may want to join our Colorado Group.  See the link below and request to be added.  It will show up in your page when a Colorado diary is posted.  Take care.

      Colorado COmmunity

      "There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves.-Thomas Jefferson

      by greenchiledem on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 08:31:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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