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Across State Lines

Of Colorado's seven congressional districts, four include parts of metro Denver

Eight major-party candidates. Four congressional districts. One metro area.

The Queen City is at the center of this election-year battle -- and 2004 hasn't disappointed fans. The fight card has been full of trash-talking and chest-beating, particularly in the heavyweight championship fight between Congressman Bob Beauprez and Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas (though they all could use a lesson from Shannon Sharpe on how to showboat with style). Whatever your affiliation, Denver's the place to be for ringside seats to the best political brawls in the nation.

In anticipation of the final round on November 2, Westword gave these major-party candidates the opportunity to come out swinging on our politics and pop-culture quiz. The complete answers are posted at www.westword.com; here are a few highlights.

Congressional District 1:
Diana DeGette vs. Roland Chicas

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Chicas: "Rich."

DeGette: "A public-interest lawyer."

If this were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: Wellington Webb or John Hickenlooper?

Chicas: "John Hickenlooper."

DeGette: "I'll take the Fifth."

Who's got the best campaign ad (no fair voting for your own)?

Chicas: "I haven't seen it yet."

DeGette: "Kerry-Edwards ŒBroken Record' ad."

What campaign ad would you like to see?

Chicas: "One that only focuses on resolving problems and not mudslinging."

DeGette: "An ad where President Bush admits why he really invaded Iraq."

What is the biggest issue facing your district?

Chicas: "Excellence in education for our kids in the Denver Public Schools."

DeGette: "Economy, slow job growth and high health-care costs."

If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. congressmen and women, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?

Chicas: "Not to talk politics."

DeGette: "A law mandating search-and-rescue operations begin within 24 hours."

What type of chili do you prefer: red or green? (Tabasco does not count.)

Chicas: "Red. It's less spicy."

DeGette: "Green. I make a mean green chili."

If you could prevent your tax dollars from funding one thing, what would it be?

Chicas: "Politicians' salaries."

DeGette: "Abstinence-only sex-education programs."

If you could fund only one federal program, what would it be?

Chicas: "Education. It is the best investment for our economy."

DeGette: "State children's health insurance."

What's your favorite drinking or dining establishment in District 1?

Chicas: "Kokoro."

DeGette: "Racine's. I'm thrilled the new restaurant is only two blocks from my congressional office."

You want to give your new Senate office a makeover. What reality-TV show would choose for the renovations: While You Were Out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or This Old House?

Chicas: "While You Were Out."

DeGette: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

Do you ride RTD or light rail, and if so, what route?

Chicas: "No."

DeGette: "I ride light rail -- the C line down to Coors Field."

Do you support FasTracks?

Chicas: "Yes!"

DeGette: "Yes."

How do you stand on the various constitutional amendments for the November ballot?

Chicas: "No on all except funding for the culture and science fund."

DeGette: No answer.

Congressional District 2:
Scott Hackman vs. Mark Udall

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Hackman: "Third baseman for the Detroit Tigers or an astronaut. I'm still holding out for either."

Udall: "Pro golfer."

If this election were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: CU president Betsy Hoffman or National Organization of Women Boulder chapter president Regina Cowles?

Hackman: "I don't generally enjoy reality shows, but I'd pay to see this one. As a CU alumni, and considering what Betsy Hoffman has gone through this year, I'll have to go with Betsy."

Udall: "My money would be on CU Regent Cindy Carlisle to intervene."

What one issue are you the most passionate about?

Hackman: "Creating jobs and growing our economic prosperity while protecting our stunning environment. On a lighter note, I am also passionate on the issue of the Colorado Rockies and want to lead a bipartisan effort to see their relief pitching improve for the 2005 season."

Udall: "Improving educational opportunity for our children; improving our schools is what led me to run for the state legislature in the first place."

What campaign ad would you like to see?

Hackman: "Doesn't John Kerry look a lot like the tree that threw the apples at Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz? I'd like to see an ad that celebrated this likeness."

Udall: "I would like to see an ad that is paid for jointly and featuring opposing candidates, who spend more than a soundbite's worth of time talking about what they agree on. I'd call it the 'Let's see what unites us' advertisement."

 

If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. congressmen and women, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?

Hackman: "In this, what could only be described as Dante's lowest region of hell, I would want a paintball gun and a fully loaded Second Amendment."

Udall: "A Buddhist vow of silence. A Catholic vow of silence would be fine, too."

What type of chili do you prefer: red or green? (Tabasco does not count.)

Hackman: "Green!"

Udall: "Definitely green! But I'll take red in a pinch, and with a side of blue-corn tortilla chips, please. And if we get Mexican food on that desert island, I might want to add an exception to the law enforcing silence."

If you could prevent your tax dollars from funding one thing, what would it be?

Hackman: "Partial-birth abortions. Even my pro-choice friends take a pro-life bent when this procedure is described. There is no place for partial-birth abortion in America -- or civilization, for that matter -- and it certainly should not be funded with federal dollars."

Udall: "Seriously, or do I need to make a joke here? If serious, then my answer is that I would prevent my tax dollars from funding any move to relocate federal laboratory work from Colorado to Oklahoma; a less serious answer is that I would like to prevent my tax dollars from funding any president's salary if the president cannot pronounce the word Œnuclear.'"

If you could fund only one federal program, what would it be?

Hackman: "Education, education and more education. Though not a program, per se, it is perhaps the single policy issue that will most ensure prosperity for America's next generation."

Udall: "The first priority of the federal government is to provide for the common defense, so in the theoretical construct of this question, I would fund a program to provide for a national military defense. My favorite federal program is Head Start."

What's your favorite drinking or dining establishment in District 2?

Hackman: "There are so many good choices. The Dushanbe Tea House, Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub and O's Steak & Seafood are favorites. Plus, I have to have Chipotle at least once a week."

Udall: "Based on the number of times I frequent the place, I would have to say the little road stop (the Eldorado Springs Market), but with two teenagers in the house, I'm more likely to be seen at Chipotle or Noodles."

You want to give your congressional office a makeover. What reality-TV show would choose for the renovations: While You Were Out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or This Old House?

Hackman: "Okay, here's where I get in trouble, but I have to go with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Not only my office, but my wardrobe could use a makeover by the Fab 5."

Udall: "My staff will appreciate that there is really only one answer I can possibly give, and that is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

How do you stand on the various constitutional amendments on the November ballot?

Hackman: "Amendment 34, no: It will only increase litigation in an already crowded field. Amendment 35, no: When a heart-stopping double cheeseburger at McDonald's costs $1, I don't see why smokers are singled out for punishment. Amendment 36, no: It would basically make Colorado a non-player in presidential politics. FasTracks, no: At $4.7 billion, and even DRCOG admitting it will do very little to ease congestion, this is bad policy."

Udall: "I sometimes study these right up to the time I cast a ballot, but this year I am definitely in favor of Amendment 37. And I am strongly supportive of FasTracks."

Is Boulder truly 25 square miles surrounded by reality?

Hackman: "Yeah, but I'm biased because I live in Boulder and love this city. It's quirky, weird and wonderful! Where else could I get chastised by a complete stranger for letting my son play with a wooden toy gun 'because the negative energy he is shooting is just as bad as real bullets'? You gotta love it!"

Udall: "Contrary to popular opinion, my family and I do not live in Boulder; we are closer to Eldorado Springs, but still in Boulder County. I feel a need, nevertheless, to stand up for Boulder because it is a great community. I think Boulder is really quite a bit like Colorado Springs. Both cities are nestled beneath the mountains, both communities have Colorado university campuses, important high-tech businesses, and both communities have lots of young people in uniform. (Boulder's uniforms are, admittedly a little different, but the camouflage is the same.) Of course, Boulder does have its own foreign policy, but I think we can solve that problem by giving Boulder its own seat on the United Nations Security Council."

 

If you were on Boulder's City Council, what policy would you peruse to address raping and "binge" drinking on the University of Colorado campus? Did you ever "binge" drink when you were in college?

Hackman: "I'm a Republican, so I don't think I'll be elected to the Boulder City Council anytime soon. That's a diversity they just can't celebrate. Will Toor's worst nightmare? That he leaves to be county commissioner and is replaced on Boulder City Council by Jon Caldara. Those live Channel 8 council meetings would get a lot more interesting. Oh, and no, I have never 'binged.'"

Udall: "As the father of teenagers, I must say that the tragedies at CU and CSU earlier this year really hit hard. All of us have a responsibility to look at how we are taking care of young people and the life lessons we are teaching them (by example as much as with our words). At the city council level, I would be interested in working with the city's liquor stores, drinking establishments and restaurants to see whether they can help better monitor their sales and contribute to public education about the dangers of alcohol abuse, and, of course, a stronger relationship might be forced with fraternities, sororities, the university and student organizations to help.

"As a kid, I did my fair share of experimenting with drinking. Luckily for me, I found that the thirst for adventure and thrills could be satisfied by sports and outdoor recreation. I found that the best way to get high was climbing mountains."

Congressional District 6:
Joanna Conti vs. Tom Tancredo

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Conti: "At ten, I wanted to be the girlfriend of a rock-and-roll star. At twenty, I wanted to be secretary of state."

Tancredo: "Taller."

If this election were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: John Elway or Janet Elway?

Conti: "Janet."

Tancredo: "No idea."

What one issue are you the most passionate about?

Conti: "Balancing the budget."

Tancredo: "I'll give you one guess."

Who's got the best campaign ad (no fair voting for your own)?

Conti: Ken Salazar

Tancredo: "Haven't seen a good one yet -- including my own!"

What is the biggest issue facing your district?

Conti: "The spiraling cost of health care."

Tancredo: "Economy, homeland security."

If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. congressmen and women, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?

Conti: "The Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself."

Tancredo: "None. Survival of the fittest."

What type of chili do you prefer: red or green? (Tabasco does not count.)

Conti: "Red."

Tancredo: "Red."

If you could prevent your tax dollars from funding one thing, what would it be?

Conti: "Discriminatory legislation."

Tancredo: "Illegal immigration, advocacy groups. There are many!"

If you could fund only one federal program, what would it be?

Conti: "The food program for poverty-stricken women and children."

Tancredo: "National defense."

What's your favorite drinking or dining establishment in District 6?

Conti: "Thuy Hoa."

Tancredo: "Pasta's Restaurant, for both."

Post-9/11, many senators and members of Congress have said they did not read the full text of the Patriot Act before voting on it. Do you intend to read each piece of legislation presented before casting a vote?

Conti: "My understanding is this would be impossible."

Tancredo: "Not sure I'm going to make it to the end of this questionnaire!"

You want to give your congressional office a makeover. What reality-TV show would choose for the renovations: While You Were Out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or This Old House?

Conti: "This Old House."

Tancredo: "None of the above. I like it the way it is."

How do you stand on the various constitutional amendments on the November ballot?

Conti: "I support the renewable-energy initiative and FasTracks."

Tancredo: "Generally opposed."

Have you ever ridden the bus or light rail, and if you ride regularly, what routes do you take? Do you support FasTracks?

Conti: "I support FastTracks enthusiastically."

Tancredo: "Yes, I have. I don't ride it rgularly. I am opposed to FasTracks."

 

Congressional District 7:
Bob Beauprez vs. Dave Thomas

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Beauprez: "Football coach."

Thomas: "An author."

If this election were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: Former Jefferson County attorney William Tuthill or JeffcoExposed.com gadfly Mike Zinna?

Beauprez: "My money's on Fonzi, Mike Zinna's ferocious-looking German shepherd."

Thomas: No response.

What one issue are you the most passionate about?

Beauprez: "Making the American Dream a reality for more people."

Thomas: "Victims' rights."

What is the biggest issue facing your district?

Beauprez: "Creating meaningful career opportunities for the citizens of the district."

Thomas: "Health care."

If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. congressmen and women, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?

Beauprez: "Solitary confinement."

Thomas: "Kentucky's blue law that requires everyone to take a bath at least once per year."

What type of chili do you prefer: red or green? (Tabasco does not count.)

Beauprez: "Green."

Thomas: "Green."

If you could fund only one federal program, what would it be?

Beauprez: "Homeland Security."

Thomas: "National defense."

What's your favorite drinking or dining establishment in District 7?

Beauprez: "240 Union."

Thomas: "Buffalo Wild Wings."

You want to give your congressional office a makeover. What reality-TV show would choose for the renovations: While You Were Out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or This Old House?

Beauprez: "This Old House."

Thomas: "While You Were Out. I have learned that nothing good can come from me being anywhere near the decorating process."

How do you stand on the various constitutional amendments on the November ballot?

Beauprez: "Referendum A, yes. Referendum B, yes. Amendment 34, no. Amendment 35, no. Amendment 36, no. Amendment 37, no." [For his full response, see the online questionnaire.]

Thomas: "Against construction liability [Amendment 34]; support tobacco tax increase [Amendment 35]; undecided on selection of presidential electors [Amendment 36]; support renewable-energy requirement [Amendment 37].

Have you ever ridden the bus or light rail, and if you ride regularly, what routes do you take? Do you support FasTracks?

Beauprez: "I have ridden light rail here at home and am a frequent rider of the Metro system when I am in Washington."

Thomas: "I have ridden them, but not regularly. I am a strong proponent of FasTracks."

Should the tragedy at Columbine be an issue in this campaign -- and if so, how would you define that issue?

Beauprez: "Columbine should not in and of itself be an issue in the campaign. However, my opponent's record as district attorney is and should be an issue -- including his actions following the Columbine tragedy."

Thomas: "No, the tragedy that occurred at Columbine High School should never be politicized. It was a horrible thing that happened to a strong community. However, I do believe that from tragedy should come change. In this instance, change in the way we treat bullying in the schools, in the way we treat troubled youth, and the seriousness with which we take threats by disrupted kids."


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