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El Paso County party leaders share political perspectives on Inauguration Day

Transition of power comes with wide range of emotions
El Paso County Party leaders share political perspectives on Inauguration Day
Posted at 2:21 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 16:23:45-05

EL PASO COUNTY — Even though Inauguration Day has come to a close, the many emotions or opinions behind the presidential election still exist.

While in Downtown Colorado Springs on Inauguration Day, News5 asked several people what they thought of the transition of power. Sarah Smith was visiting her friend when she explained to us she was not able to vote in the presidential election because of trouble with her absentee ballot. "I would have voted for Trump... Good can come from anything, I'm pretty optimistic about it," Smith said.

However her friend Elizabeth Higgins, who lives in Parker, said she did not select either presidential candidate when voting in her first presidential election. "I disagree with a lot of what Biden stands for in terms of decisions, and then Trump I strongly dislike in a lot of different ways too, so I think it was kind of a lesser of two evils for me," said Higgins.

Then Rachael Evans, who was also walking around downtown that day, said she voted for President Joe Biden in the election and was excited about the inauguration. "We are very divided right now, and I think we have been for a while. So, I'm hoping that this kind of really turns things around," said Evans.

The Chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party, Electra Johnson, agreed that the country is divided and it requires empathetic leadership right now. "The fact that he and Vice President Kamala Harris got to work so quickly is enormous. I think we have such a major issue with COVID-19, with our economy, with climate change, that we've got to start addressing these things and dealing with them," said Johnson over Zoom on Wednesday evening.

Johnson also said watching the inauguration was emotional. "The whole thing to me was just incredibly moving, and it's literally the moment I've needed since I got involved with the party in 2016," Johnson said.

She said she got involved with the party in 2016 because of the political rhetoric being used during that presidential election. "Politics built on personality is damaging to this country... I hope that we're in for calmer waters, that we're not in for such divisive rhetoric, because we have bigger fish to fry," said Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Chair of the El Paso County Republicans, Vickie Tonkins, said Donald Trump meant everything to the party. "He was the first president, Republican president, we've had in years that was an actual fighter," said Tonkins.

"When you start hearing people say, Biden is not my president, that you understand where that came from. That you understand that this has been the mantra, and don't get all offended when it happens."
Vickie Tonkins, Chair, El Paso County GOP

When asked how the Republican party can come together after differing opinions on Trump's presidency, Tonkins said it's about going back to the basics. "What do we believe as Republicans? We believe in freedom, we believe in people running their own lives, limited government," said Tonkins.

Tonkins did say she believes the majority of Republicans supported Trump as president. News5 asked if she would ever consider joining a third party, after reports of Trump potentially leading a new political party. Tonkins said she would not answer a hypothetical question, but that "I just love President Trump. I love what he's done for this country, and that's all I'll say."