U.S. Senate Candidates Try to Win Over Western Slope Voters

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This past week, U.S. Representative Mark Udall and former U.S. Representative Bob Schaffer made trips to the Grand Valley. They hope to convince Western Slope Voters to choose them for the U.S. Senate.

It's a race that members of both political parties are calling the most important in the State of Colorado this year. With a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs, Representative Mark Udall hopes to tally another win for Colorado Democrats, while Bob Schaffer wants to help Republicans make up some ground in Congress.

As both spend time here in the Grand Valley, they make their case to Colorado voters.

"When people look at my record, my style, my love for this state, they'll want me to represent them," said Rep. Udall.

"You take that history, those traditions, and those values, and I think my dispositions on these topics are a better fit for Grand Junction."

While both candidates share the same feelings on wanting to win the election, that's not the case when it comes to state and national politics.

The future of natural gas drilling on the Roan Plateau has been debated in Congress for much of the year. Representative Udall says he understands the economic importance of drilling and that some drilling should move forward. But he says that drilling should not come at the expense of damaging the environment.

"We ought to put that money aside for higher education, for transportation needs, and for impacts to local communities," said Rep. Udall. "But we can also do that and protect the top of the Roan."

Schaffer says Colorado has enjoyed an economic boom because of the energy industry, and that development on the Roan needs to continue at a faster rate.

"I want to see a U.S. Senator who wants to help support and sustain that kind vitality," said Schaffer.

On the national side, both candidates say issues of national security and the War in Iraq are extremely important to them. Representative Udall says the country is ready for change and a new direction when it comes to winning the war on terror, and that he can help do that.

"I've been willing to take leadership positions on energy policy and how we win the war on terror by fighting in a tough, but smart way," said Rep. Udall.

Schaffer, on the other hand, says the current path is working, and that the country needs to stay strong to win the war.

"I'm not for surrender," said Schaffer. "I'm for getting our troops out of Iraq as quickly as we can but as a function of victory."

Despite their differences, both candidates agree that Coloradans have a decision to make this November that will have major ramifications for the state and the country.

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