Arapahoe County Republicans rally behind Coffman Greenwood Village barbeque and fundraiser
The Colorado Statesman

Joy Hoffman, the conscientious chair of the Arapahoe County GOP, is also host extraordinaire. Witness the lovely shindig she threw a couple weeks ago for incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman. Held in the expansive backyard of her beautiful Greenwood Village home where it is several degrees cooler than in sweltering downtown Denver, the second annual barbeque for Coffman featured hot dogs, some smoked meat, but best of all, a potpourri of politics to feed the appetite.

The 6th CD Congressman wraps his arm around longtime Arapahoe County Republican activist Renee Welsh.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

There was an official there from the South Metro Fire District, and DA Carol Chambers. State Reps. included David Balmer and Spencer Swalm. Don Ytterberg, vice chair of the state GOP, was on hand, as was Elbert County Chairman Scott Wills, dressed in patriotic colors and perfect at leading the pledge of allegiance. At least two former chairmen of the county party were spotted — Nathan Chambers and Bo Cottrell. The mayor of Greenwood Village, Ron Rakosky, held court, and a bevy of city council members and candidates for local spots mixed with dozens of party activists. Andi Allott represented the Cherry Creek Republican Women.

Mary Wenke and former Arapahoe County Republican Chairs Nathan Chambers and Bo Cottrell enjoy themselves at the afternoon barbeque for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

“We’re here to help Mike Coffman raise money and prepare for his race next year,” Hoffman said. “As you know, where Arapahoe County goes, so goes the rest of the country. So we want to stay a Republican county,” she added to the pleasure of her Republican colleagues.

Don Ytterberg, vice chair of the state Republican Party, and Scott Wills, GOP chair of Elbert County, don patriotic red, white and blue garb at the Coffman fundraiser.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

She then introduced the guest of honor, who really needed no introduction but got one anyway. Coffman, as everyone there already knew, enlisted in the Army after his junior year of high school. After graduating from CU in 1979, he transferred from the Army Reserves to the Marine Corps and became an infantry officer. He was first elected to the state house in 1988, reelected in 1990, and served in the state senate beginning in 1994. That year he took an unpaid leave of absence so he could fight in the Gulf War.

Congressman Mike Coffman, right, talks with guests Larry Spivack and Lisa Williams at the barbeque held Saturday in Greenwood Village.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Later elected state treasurer, Coffman resigned mid-term so he could serve again in Iraq, where he helped run two national elections and assisted in establishing local governments in the war torn country. He returned home in 2006, was elected secretary of state that year, and then went on to become the congressman in the 6th CD. He’s served two terms and is running for reelection.

Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakosky, middle, introduces Bryan Zerr to state Rep. David Balmer.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

“This nation is really at a tipping point,” Coffman said in informal remarks to his supporters that afternoon. “I tell you every election that it’s the most important election. This time I really mean it!” he exclaimed. “This is the most important election in our lifetime. It will determine the direction for this country... Either we will go down the path of Barack Obama who wants us to be a European social welfare style state from which European countries are trying to extricate themselves from. Or we’ll go down the path of returning to individual responsibility, a market based system that will produce jobs and prosperity for this economy.”

Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, state Rep. Spencer Swalm and Don Schlup, a member of Denver Water’s Citizens Advisory Committee, visit at the event.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Even though he considers himself a “hawk” on national defense, Coffman said he still believes that cuts must be made in that area. He specifically mentioned the U.S. Navy, where he pointed out that there are currently more admirals than ships.

Jacque Ponder, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Coffman, and Joy Hoffman, at whose Greenwood Village home the barbeque was held on Aug. 20.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

But there is a bright silver lining to all the tumultuous times, Coffman said.” We’ve reached our capacity to borrow... now we have to make tough decisions.”

Centennial City Council candidate Ken Lucas and state Rep. David Balmer at Coffman’s fundraiser.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

But a better America, less dependent on government and more dependent on families, lies ahead, opined the optimistic official.

Drew Kerin and Sue Bosier talk politics at the barbeque, which attracted about 200 people.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

— Jody Hope Strogoff