Candidates debating for the first time this election year were met by a packed house in Grand Junction, which was sponsored by AARP Colorado.
The debate featured candidates running for governor of Colorado, as well as the U.S. Senate. About 700 people attended the Club 20 Debate Sept. 6.
Incumbent John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is facing Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, while Republican Congressman Cory Gardner and Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D, go head-to-head for the Senate seat.
AARP provided questions for the candidates. Candidates for the Senate were asked how they would protect Social Security for today's seniors and future generations.
Gardner said Washington must stop raiding Social Security. Udall accused Gardner of cutting Medicare to redirect tax cuts for the rich.
When asked how they would secure the future for the aging population, Gov. Hickenlooper discussed better savings options for workers and lower energy expenses, while Beauprez pointed to keeping jobs in the state and health care premiums that have become too expensive.
Volunteers Greg Glischinski of Centennial and John Rodwick of Grand Junction set up a table to provide AARP information, including membership pamphlets. They answerd questions from attendees and were thanked for the AARP involvement in the debate.
"We had a moderate crowd of people come by the table asking questions," Glischinski said. "One of the most-asked questions was, 'Isn’t it a bit risky for AARP to sponsor a debate?' I said, No, we don’t back any party or candidate, only issues that affect our members and their families. It is part of AARP’s effort to educate people about the issues and get them to vote.”