Ben Nighthorse Campbell visits Frisco |

Ben Nighthorse Campbell visits Frisco

Lu Snyder

FRISCO<U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) was greeted by protesters when he came to Frisco Town Hall to speak to citizens Wednesday afternoon.A handful of snowboarders and skiers waited in front of town hall for Campbell1s arrival to protest his 3failure to support clean energy solutions to climate change said a press release by Dillon resident and protester, Julie Sutor.Inside, approximately 25 citizens gathered to hear Campbell speak and ask questions about Colorado, his position on ANWR (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska), the legalization of marijuana, the reintroduction of lynx to Colorado and other issues.The meeting started off heated when one attendee told Campbell she had been calling his office for two weeks and received not a single response from Campbell or his staff.Instead of apologizing, Campbell defensively told her it is impossible to respond personally to the 800 or more people who try to contact him each day. And, he added, if his staff didn1t return her call, it was because they didn1t receive it.3I wish I was magic and could be everything you wanted me to be, Campbell continued. 3But I1m just flesh and blood. I work my ass off.His statement was greeted with scattered applause.But Campbell cooled down quickly to answer questions from the other attendees.Much of what occurs in Colorado this year 3will be driven by what1s happening on the international front, Campbell said, explaining that the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 have changed much of what happens in government.It is also a reason Campbell supports drilling in ANWR, he said.3We cannot get more and more dependent on foreign oil, Campbell said, adding that the United States is dependent on the Middle East for 58 percent of its oil and those countries are using our money to arm themselves.It1s a more complex issue than a simple question of whether there should be drilling in ANWR or not, he said.3We have to go back to the root problem<do you want to drive your car or not? Campbell said.Campbell said he does not believe the drilling will have a detrimental effect on wildlife in the area. In fact, he said, he1s personally seen caribou rubbing on pipelines in Prudhoe Bay.3They absolutely love it, Campbell said.Just because he supports the drilling, however, doesn1t mean he1s a bad guy, Campbell said after another attendee pointed out Campbell1s role in the creation of the Continental Divide Trail.Campbell added he also was behind Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Sand Creek Massacre receiving national park status.Protesters are quick to criticize, he said, but 3they don1t bother saying the flip side.3Most of Americans, in my view, are in a special-interest group, Campbell said. 3They just hate all the other groups. I want to see the guy who can do good for the Sierra Club on one side and please the miners on the other.Campbell was in Frisco for the first time in several years, he said. He tries to visit at least 30 Colorado towns each year to hear people1s concerns and answer their questions.Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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