Three Black and Latino Groups in Colorado Springs Say They Are Snubbed by Doug Lamborn -- NAACP Responds

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Three black and Latino groups in Colorado Springs today reacted strongly to Denver Post coverage of plans by Doug Lamborn, Republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District, to skip a debate Thursday against Democrat Jay Fawcett. The debate is sponsored by the Colorado Springs Black/Latino Leadership Coalition. Today, spokespersons for the NAACP and the the Black Leadership Forum said that Lamborn has been unresponsive to invitations to their debates as well. Colorado's Congressional District 5, normally a safe Republican seat, is hotly contested this year. Lamborn has faced strong criticism locally, from within his own party. Retiring Republican Congressman, Joel Hefley, whose seat he is running to replace, has publicly stated that he will not endorse him.

Three black and Latino groups in Colorado Springs today reacted strongly to Denver Post coverage of plans by Doug Lamborn, Republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District, to skip a debate Thursday against Democrat Jay Fawcett. The debate is sponsored by the Colorado Springs Black/Latino Leadership Coalition.

Today, spokespersons for the NAACP and the the Black Leadership Forum said that Lamborn has been unresponsive to invitations to their debates as well.

The Post reported that Joe Barrera, co-chair of the group said, "We simply find it inexcusable that Mr. Lamborn would choose to snub the only combined Black/Latino Republican/Democrat group in Colorado Springs."

According to the Denver Post, Lamborn's campaign manager, Jon Hotaling said that Lamborn had a previously scheduled meeting with abortion foes.

Barrera said that he sent a first email invitation to Lamborn on August 9 for the October 26 event, and subsequently tried to contact him numerous times by email and phone. Willie Breazell, a member of the Colorado Springs School District 11 School Board who is also co-chair of the group, said that he also called, and visited Lamborn's office, in an attempt to secure his participation.

Rosemary Harris, President of the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP said she had a similar experience with Lamborn's lack of response to her written invitation, follow-up emails, and phone calls for NAACP's debate in September.

"Not only was the black community apparently not important enough for Mr. Lamborn to take the time to address at the NAACP event, but in our case, his campaign didn't even contact us to decline the invitation," said Harris. "Do we take it personally? No, but we take it in a way that may affect how NAACP members vote when they go to the polls."

Lamborn also did not participate in the candidate forum sponsored by the Black Leadership Forum and the Colorado Springs Black Chamber of Commerce in September. As with the NAACP event, according to Thomas Bennett of the Black Leadership Forum, Lamborn did not respond to its invitation either.

Lamborn was also the only Congressional candidate that did not participate in the Black/Latino Leadership Coalition primary election debate in July. Barrera said, "Candidates prioritize their schedules according what they consider to be important. The black and Latino leaders in this community would like to see Mr. Lamborn show up for at least one of our sponsored candidate forums."

Colorado's Congressional District 5, normally a safe Republican seat, is hotly contested this year. Lamborn has faced strong criticism locally, from within his own party. Retiring Republican Congressman, Joel Hefley, whose seat he is running to replace, has publicly stated that he will not endorse him.

The CD5 forum is scheduled to be held from 6-8 PM, October 26, at Penrose Library (20 North Cascade Ave Colorado Springs, CO 80903).

PRIOR COVERAGE:

Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_4545002

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Joe Barrera
Colorado Springs Black/Latino Leadership Coalition
719-328-9620
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