Colorado State Senator Brandon Shaffer speaks at the University of Northern Colorado
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 03:10
President of the Colorado State Senate, Brandon Shaffer, took a break from the campaign trail Monday night in the Spruce Rooms of the University Center to include UNC students, faculty and community members in a discussion on the importance of being an “engaged citizen.”
Shaffer is running for state representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, congressional district four, against the Republican incumbent Cory Gardner.
Shaffer guided his audience on the step-by-step process a bill must go through before it is written into law.
“You have to have personal relationships with people,” Shaffer said.
This is especially true to the Colorado State Senate, which has only 35 members. He continued to explain the most successful legislation, on both the state and federal level, is that with bi-partisanship.
“That’s part of the problem in Washington, D.C., I think,” Shaffer said. “People there have built themselves so many offices so far apart that they’ve lost that personal connection with each other.”
While Shaffer wasn’t using this appearance as a campaign rally, his audience was very supportive of him and what he stood for.
Audience members attended because they wanted to hear what Shaffer had to say and show their support.
“I thought he did a good job, and I think he’s a good candidate,”
said Elsie, a Greeley native. “It’s too bad we don’t have more candidates like him working outside the gridlock.”
Working across the aisle is something Shaffer said he is passionate about. In fact, he referred to it as one of the key points in a democracy.
“The system only works if you’re willing to vote against someone in your own party who isn’t doing their job,” he said.
He tied this to staying connected to the community.
“If you like what I’m doing, great,” Shaffer said. “If not, you know what to do in November.”
Working outside the gridlock — and working toward bi-partisanship — was the major theme of the night. Shaffer was invited to speak by UNC’s Institute of Professional Ethics.
“We want to get students thinking about participatory democracy as opposed to other forms of government, as frustrating as democracy can be sometimes,” said Nancy Matchett, director of the IPE and a professor of philosophy. “We invited Brandon Shaffer out because he has a history of bi-partisanship in the State Senate.”