Voices From The Streets: The GOP Debate in Boulder

KGNU’s special report, Voices from the Streets, brought live coverage of the protesters and rallies surrounding the GOP presidential candidates’ debate at Coors Events Center on the CU Boulder Campus. We featured live reports and interviews from rallies being held at various locations in Boulder.


CU Debate Free Speech Zone
Protesters started gathering in the early afternoon at CU Boulder ahead of the GOP Presidential candidate debate.  The CU Business Field was converted into a free speech zone where artists and protesters are gathering.  Several protest marches will converge there on Wednesday evening ahead of the debate.

William Raley, a senior studying architecture at CU is one of the founders of the group Students Voices Count. He said students were upset when it was announced in September that only 50 tickets to the GOP debate would be made available to CU. “That caused a lot of disappointment and emotions initially and from that we’ve been able to build up our movement…and channel that emotion into more hopeful, more forward looking emotions.” The RNC has since tripled the number of tickets for CU, but Raley says 150 tickets for an arena that seats over 11,000 is not enough “I think it’s a victory in the fact that we’ve been able to triple the number of tickets but I’m still disappointed with the results, I don’t think it’s enough.” Student Voices Count held their own forum from 3-6pm on campus that was streamed live. Raley says that their organization and their concerns have gotten national attention and that in and of itself is a victory “as long as people know that when they see Boulder on the television screen that students were unhappy with the results and would have liked to have been a part of that, I think that’s a victory in and of itself.”


Voices From The Free Speech Zone:

Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Maryland who is currently in the race to be the Democratic Presidential Candidate met with family members and victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting and the Columbine Shooting during a trip to Boulder. He tweeted “I am in search of a very elusive being, and that is a @GOP candidate with the backbone to take on the @NRA.”


Eileen McCarron with Colorado Ceasefire said that the GOP candidates need to acknowledge the need for gun control.  “We’re here to highlight some of the problematic things that some of the GOP presidential candidates…have said about gun violence.  Particularly Jeb Bush who said “stuff happens” with regard to the Oregon Umpqua Community College shooting.” McCarron says Jeb Bush needs to realize how many families are suffering from gun violence “and not be so dismissive by saying it just happens. It doesn’t just happens, we have a proliferation of guns in this country and so we have huge numbers of Americans dying from them.”



Voices from the My Country My Vote rally at Farrand Field:

Hannah Leigh Myers spoke with Dolores Huerta, labor and civil rights advocate and one of the founders of The United Farm Workers. “I like many others are very concerned about the Latino vote for the next election, and for all elections…but, especially for this one here and we know there has been so much hate rhetoric that has been directed at the Latino community, especially people of Mexican descent, of which I am one, that we need to understand and tell people not to be intimidated by that rhetoric, hopefully that we can get angry enough and motivated to bring us to the polls. The only ammunition that we have to counter that hatred is the vote.”


Robert Demata, the chair of M.E.Ch.A, a student activist group at CU Boulder said they were participating in the rally because “historically our organization has focused on higher education access, a society that is free of imperialism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and this is rhetoric that is being used by a lot of potential candidates here. Demada says the candidates should instead be focusing on “immigration reform, access to higher education for under-represented communities, lack of representation in public office.”


Irene Rodriguez spoke with students from Denver’s Escuela Tlatelolco who were attending the event.


Photos From Farrand Field

(credit: Tim Russo/KGNU)



Voices from the Our Future, Our Choice Rally and March:

Franky Navarette with Fossil Free CU told KGNU’s Miriam Schiff that they were putting the march on because they see “a problem that the presidential candidates are coming to Boulder and they’re not talking about the issues that matter to youth.  They’re not talking about climate change, especially in an area that’s been ravaged by floods and forest fires.  They’re not talking about womens rights, they’re not talking about immigrants rights, they’re not talking about rights that are important for us and our future.”


Gary Roland, with Rising Tide North America, told KGNU’s Tony White that the GOP candidate debate was a show, a theater “the candidates are going up there to different issues, with no real intent to confront them or fix them. They rile people up with these wedge issues to divide the community so that there is no people power to stand up to these outrageous deals like the TPP.”


Voices and Photos From The Cannabis Rally In Boulder:


KGNU’s Tony White spoke with Roland Fort with Terrapin Care Station in Boulder about restrictive regulations on marijuana businesses in the city. Marijuana businesses rallied to raise awareness about the economic impact of cannabis ahead of the GOP debate which will focus on the economy.


More Photos:


Koch Puppets: