Sponsored by four agricultural groups, the debate’s focus was on water rights, immigration reform and other policy issues important to Eastern Plains farmers and ranchers.
As reported in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the second debate between the two candidates vying for the 4th Congressional District seat lacked much disagreement, but it did offer some clear policy differences between the two women who have fought a long and highly negative campaign.
When a question was asked about the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), a massive water project that would construct a 170,000-acre reservoir north of Fort Collins using Poudre and Platte River water, some disagreement between the two candidates emerged. Currently under review by the Army Corps of Engineers, the NISP project would supply more than a dozen growing communities, including Fort Morgan, with needed water supply. However, it has been opposed by other municipalities in Colorado, including Fort Collins, whose leaders have said it would drain the Poudre River through town and would increase the cost of water filtration.
Musgrave, a three-term incumbent from Fort Morgan, said she was in favor of the project. Markey, a resident of Fort Collins, said she was still unsure if she supported the measure and wanted to get more information.
The two agreed on other issues, though, including the need to reform immigration policy to allow for more foreign workers to enter the United States, an issue of major importance to the Eastern Plains where many farms and ranches rely on the immigrant labor. Both candidates were against amnesty for undocumented immigrants already in the United States.
Not surprisingly, the crowd on Monday night in Fort Morgan was mostly filled with Musgrave supporters. According to The Coloradoan, the crowd followed the debate rules and did not cheer or sneer during the candidate’s responses to questions.
The second debate follows one in Fort Collins last week where both candidates relied heavily on sharing stories of personal struggle while carefully trying to attack the character of their opponent. The two will meet for a final debate next week in Windsor.