Primary election candidates discuss Syria, bipartisanship, impeachment during forum

Ravyn Cullor

With Colorado primary elections in two months, three of the four remaining candidates for the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives seat participated in a forum in the Lory Student Center Saturday.

The CD2 Candidate Forum hosted Democrats Joe Neguse and Mark Williams and Republican Peter Yu. A stand in for independent candidate Nick Thomas gave closing remarks.

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This event was the final forum held by Fort Collins for Progress, Indivisible NoCo, Northern Colorado Now and the Colorado State University Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership, following forums for gubernatorial and attorney general candidates.

The forum was moderated by Colorado State University students Daniela Pineda-Soraca, a senior in business administration and international studies, and Anthony Taylor, senior political science major.

Sam Houghteling, program manager of the Straayer Center, said all candidates for the 2nd district seat were invited.

He estimated around 150 people were in attendance.

Neguse started his career in politics while attending the University of Colorado Boulder and serving on the CU Board of Regents. He co-founded New Era Colorado, a non-profit which has registered upwards of 150,000 young people to vote, according to his campaign website.

He said he would use his experiencing working with Republicans on the Board of Regents to help overturn Citizens United, increase funding to services which fight the opioid epidemic and support U.S. humanitarian involvement in Syria.

“It’s important to be able to work with folk … who might see the world differently,” Neguse said.

Williams served in the Airforce during the Gulf War and later as an intelligence analyst, focusing on the Korean peninsula.

“I never thought I’d see the day where two guys with pointy haircuts were arguing about the size a nuclear button,” Williams said.

Williams said, while he would vote to impeach the President, it would be important to communicate with Trump supports, who feel disenfranchised by a “broken political system,” and “give them a compelling reason to re-enter the political body.” Williams describes himself as an independent Democrat and said it is about the people, not party or power.

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Yu said his experience in an immigrant family helped him appreciate hard work and the American Dream.

“(I want to) step up and give back to the country which gave so much to me,” Yu said. 

He supports DACA and continued military involvement in Syria. Yu also said he feels the Robert Mueller investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Trump campaign has not made any progress or revealed compelling evidence. He said he does not believe Trump should be impeached from collation. Yu said the anger towards the president out ways love for America, which causes gridlock and separation.

“It’s our responsibility (as citizens) to support our president,” Yu said.

Nick Thomas’ stand in said his campaign is focused on uniting Coloradans and fighting tribalism.

Primary elections will be open to unaffiliated voters for the first time this year and will be held June 26.

Collegian reporter Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rcullor99