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Candidates square off in Alamosa forum

Posted: Thursday, Oct 18th, 2012

Seated from left: Senate District 35 candidate Crestina Martinez, 12th Judicial District Attorney candidate Peter Comar, Alamosa County District 3 candidate George Wilkinson, Alamosa County District 1 candidate Darius Allen and Alamosa County District 1 candidate Erwin Young wait to hear what Valley Courier publisher Keith Cerny will ask at the Alamosa candidates forum on Wednesday night. Cerny was the event moderator. Courier photo by Lauren Krizansky

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — Local candidates faced a packed crowd and loaded questions at the candidate forum Wednesday night at the American Legion Hall in Alamosa.

State Representative District 52 incumbent Ed Vigil (D) was the only absent candidate due to engagements in Denver, otherwise, it was a full panel. Senate district 35 candidates Crestina Martinez (D) and Larry Crowder (R); 12th Judicial District Attorney candidates David Mahonee (D) and Peter Comar (R); Alamosa County District 3 candidates George Wilkinson (R) and Mariann(e) Dunne (D); Alamosa County District 1 candidates Darius Allen (R) and Erwin Young (I); State representative District 52 candidate Tim Walters (R) and University of Colorado 3rd district regent candidate Glen Gallegos (R) were all provided the opportunity to state their values as elected officials and answer, or in some cases defend their platforms, through a series of audience submitted questions.

The most controversial questions were asked of the Senate district 35 and 12th Judicial District Attorney candidates.

Martinez first fielded an inquiry about not carrying the primary vote in Costilla County where she is serving as a county commissioner.

“I’m proud to say I won the primary by a 25 percent margin,” Martinez responded. “I had a very good opponent and we ran a good campaign. I wish that were what we could focus on now. I have been the victim of countless attack ads.”

Crowder was subsequently put on the spot about conducting a negative campaign towards his challenger and whether or not he would be able to participate or be a part of a positive campaign.

“Part of the duties is to vet the candidate,” Crowder said. “There was no negative campaign. The people need to know what is going on. This is not a game in which we are playing. This is real.”

In addition to the new district candidates, Walters was also included on the question that has filtered down from the national race: What is your position on women’s health care and right to choose?

“I’m a pro-life individual,” Walters responded. “That is just the way it is. I’m adamant about that, but a woman has a right to choose and deal with her body in her own way.”

Crowder partially agreed with the representative candidate.

“I am a very firm believer of women’s health care, but I don’t believe babies are disease,” he said. “I am pro-life. It is not about the woman or the man that created the baby. It is about the baby, a baby that God created.”

Martinez, who plays an active role in health care access in the Valley, said she believes that every person has a right to choose.

“I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell you,” Martinez said. “Health care decisions are personal.”

Mahonee was asked about how a $250,000 grant was spent and why he finds it acceptable to pay his wife yet makes an issue out of Comar using funds to pay to travel to the courtroom.

He explained the $250,00 number represents a series of grants awarded over his time as district attorney, and that his wife took a cut in pay to assist him in his career and she comes with creditable experience.

“She doesn’t do it for the money,” Mahonee said. “She does it for me. I wish I could clone her.”

A full recap of Wednesday night’s candidate forum will be in tomorrow’s edition of the Valley Courier.

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