Hickenlooper and Beauprez wrangle in Gubernatorial Debate

Oct. 20, 2014

Samantha Morley
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Democrat incumbent John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez took to the stage last Wednesday for the sixth gubernatorial debate in a full Gallogly Events Center.

Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak spoke following a brief introduction from KKTV 11 News anchor Don Ward.

“There are many issues we need to think about, talk about tonight,” she said. “The reality is this is exactly what a university is for – to bring together, to further a kind of civic dialogue that allows us to make informed decisions, move our community, our region forward.”

Gazette publisher Dan Steever, and owner and publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent John Weiss followed Shockley- Zalabak’s speech. Weiss was also representing the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

Steever spoke about the process and partnership formed with Weiss in order to bring the debate to UCCS. “We are incredibly proud to partner with the Gazette on this and there’s a new spirit of openness and community,” Weiss said.

Ward then welcomed the candidates to the stage.

“Our goal tonight is to make things as fair and as informative as possible,” Ward said.

Candidates took questions from a media panel, the audience, Twitter and each other. Major topics included education, energy resources, jobs and the economy.

The two presented opposing views on almost every subject.

The media panel consisted of Colorado Springs Independent general manager Carrie Simison, Gazette Capitol reporter Megan Schrader, The Scribe’s Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Toman and the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s John Hazelhurst. Beauprez, after winning a coin toss before the event, chose to go first for his three minute opening statement.

“I hope you see the contrast of choices before you,” he said. He explained his personal history and connection to Colorado as a third-generation native.

“This is a state where dreams come true, where big ideas become real,” he said. Beauprez stressed the importance of leadership, economic stability and education.

Hickenlooper presented his opening statement next. He went into a brief history about Phantom Canyon Brewery and how he helped to rebuild it. “I think Colorado Springs is at a turning point,” he said. He explained how the state went from a $1 billion defi cit four years ago to a more stable financial standing during his fi rst term. He also reminded the audience of the 13 declarations of disasters that the state experienced.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” he said.

In terms of employment, Hickenlooper said that Colorado is the “number one fastest growing economy in America” according to Business Insider Magazine and that Colorado Springs is nine of 10 in terms of technology startups.

“We’re not stopping until everybody is back to work in this entire state,” he said. Candidates were then permitted to ask each other questions. Topics ranged from abortion to coal.

The remaining time was dedicated to questions from the audience and Twitter.

The debate is available for replay on www.kktv.com, www.gazette.com and www. csindy.com. The debate will be broadcast until polls close.

For select questions from the debate, please read Gubernatorial Debate media panel questions