Democratic hopeful Tulsi Gabbard preaches unity, leadership in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs | Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took the stage at the Beckett Event Center on Wednesday night as her opponents in seeking the Democratic nomination for president prepared to take a national stage for a debate in Nevada.

The congresswoman from Hawaii did not qualify for the Las Vegas debate. If she was disappointed, however, it didn’t show because Gabbard dismissed the event as a political reality television show and spoke of attempts to unify — rather than divide — the country.

“I’m here to help us all remember that, as we’ve seen throughout our country’s history, we are the ones who can bridge that divide,” Gabbard said.

Her base in Colorado Springs also dismissed her absence in the debate and remained optimistic at her chances of earning the Democratic nomination, despite her recent poll numbers and fundraising reports. Local Democrats added that Gabbard’s very appearance is a good sign for the city.

Elvis Martinez was more concerned about the weather on the roads than the polls as he drove from Pueblo to hear Gabbard speak.

“She’s young, smart and a veteran,” Martinez said. “It’s about damn time that we have a woman in the White House with a head on her shoulders and no extra baggage.”

So far Gabbard is the first Democratic candidate to visit southern Colorado, Martinez noted, and her presence goes a long way toward his support for the representative in the primary.

“Leaning toward,” he said. “But I still have my ballot on the coffee table.”

Gabbard took the stage late, apologizing to the crowded room in the city’s southeast side for her delay.