After Candidate Visits, Voters Sound Off In Colorado Swing City

October 19, 2016

Pueblo, in southern Colorado, is often overshadowed by Colorado Springs and Metro Denver, which are much larger. But unlike those areas, Pueblo and its less than 100,000 registered voters got visits from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in recent weeks. The presidential candidates believe Colorado’s nine electoral college votes could swing on this city.

Pueblo is diverse -- about half of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino -- and it's a working-class city where the unemployment rate is more than a point higher than the state overall. The steel industry used to be the major employer, and while it's still present, Pueblo has welcomed new industries, including a Vestas wind factory and marijuana growers and sellers, the latter of which is controversial -- and up for a vote -- in part because of a significant drug problem in the city. 

Photo: Pueblo Riverwalk
The Riverwalk in Pueblo in October 2016.

Most importantly this election season is that both Democrats and Republicans have strengths in Pueblo. Voters in the city favored president Barack Obama twice, then recalled a Democratic state senator who helped pass gun control measures. Colorado’s last US Senate race, in 2014, was nearly a dead heat in the county.

In the final weeks before the election, Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner went to Pueblo to ask voters from across the political spectrum what they want to see from their next president. The group of about a dozen people included Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters, a few of whom say they are not sure how they will vote for president.

Click "Listen" to hear the interview, and read excerpts below.

Business owner Boney Cosyleon on charges Trump hasn't paid his contractors:

"I've done that, I've had not to pay people who said, 'You want a pizza, you get three quarters of a pizza.' Heck no! You want the full deal. Same with contractors: You want a contractor to come and do your sidewalk, paint your house, do your carpeting, if you see it's not done right, are you going to say, 'That's ok?' Of course not... I want to see in my president... somebody who knows the trenches, knows business on a large scale..."

Call center worker Ingrid Lopez on how she'll vote:

"I would not trust especially Donald Trump around my niece. My niece is a very beautiful girl... I will most likely look into the third party candidate, and if that doesn't work, then Hillary Clinton is my choice, just because she doesn't have the political background and she's more intelligent than Donald Trump, clearly, you know in all of her debates she clearly shows that she has more historical perspective and more moral perspective."

High school student Daniel Trujillo on why he supports Trump:

"I try to get away from all the scandals happening with different things, you know the emails from Hillary or the way Trump has been treating women in the past. I kind of just looked at what their beliefs are on the issues, and I think Trump covers more of what I'm thinking... I think we need to not allow illegal immigrants in, but we need to find a better way than what Trump says. I don't think, you know, building a wall's the right thing, but I think some of the things he's trying to do to make it a little stricter are better."

Retired veteran Paul Torres on the tone of the election:
"I think it's had a huge effect on our families, I know it's had an effect on my grandchildren, you're talking about 14- and 17-year-olds talking about an election that is straight away from the values that I grew up with, the morality I grew up with here in Colorado. Being from a Hispanic family, we had a lot of religion and a lot of traditions built into us... What I want to see is a candidate that's going to represent the morality and the values and the beliefs that I have as a person growing up, and that includes religion, respect, dignity, and I see that in Hillary Clinton."