First step toward November elections

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By Greg Romberg

The first step toward electing Colorado’s next governor and other candidates who’ll be running in November’s general election is next Tuesday when Republicans and Democrats will conduct their precinct caucuses.  
Candidates for major party nominations can make their way onto primary ballots in one of two ways — either petitioning on by gathering signatures or by going through the caucus/assembly process. While 2016’s voter-approved change to primary elections will allow unaffiliated voters to participate in June’s primary election, only registered members of either major party are allowed to participate in caucuses and assemblies.
Caucus attendees can run to be delegates to district, county and state assemblies where candidates must receive at least 30 percent of the vote to make their way onto primary ballots. After assemblies are completed and candidates attempting to petition their way onto the ballot submit signatures and are or aren’t found to meet minimum requirements, we’ll have primary candidates who will receive party nominations at Colorado’s June 26 primary election.
In addition to the election for governor, Coloradans will elect the attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, seven members of Congress, half of the state Senate, all of the state House of Representatives and various local officials in 2018.
Caucus participation is grass roots politics at its best. Check your party’s website to identify your precinct and find where you’ll caucus. While the change allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in primaries has the potential to dilute the power of party regulars to select their own nominees, participation in caucuses and assemblies is a powerful way to assert your preferences.

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It seems that after any major shooting incident part of the narrative is people who’ve been affected by the event saying that the most recent tragedy will be the impetus for significant change. While there can be changes, as evidenced by the more comprehensive background check program that Colorado voters approved after Columbine, significant nationwide reforms have stalled after each event as the political realities of locked-in positions by politicians on all sides of the issue kick in at a national level.  
It feels like the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., might be different. The activism of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has brought an energy and enthusiasm that suggests they may be catalysts for some significant changes.
I’m skeptical that changes will be made, but initial reactions of Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida General Assembly to the students and President Trump’s comments about possible changes suggest things could be different this time.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie.