As the parties get set for the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday, the Heritage Foundation’s Values Bus will roll into town. 

The Values Bus, a joint national tour project of the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council, has traveled to more than 100 cities to “save the American dream” and “encourage Americans to participate in the electoral process and be informed voters,” according to the Web site

The Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council Values Bus. (Photo: Courtesy of The Heritage Foundation)

“Our goal is to encourage both candidates and voters to think about the most crucial issues facing our country and provide conservative public policy solutions to them,” said  Genevieve Wood, vice president of marketing for the Heritage Foundation. 

“So whether it be at tea party events, local candidate forums, churches, or political conventions and debates like the one here in Denver, we are taking every opportunity to make the election about ideas and public policy, not just politics,” Wood said. 

In the 2012 election season, the Heritage Foundation has taken an agenda-setting role from early in primary season when they co-sponsored a Republican primary debate with the American Enterprise Institute and CNN. More recently, the foundation drove the conversation on the claim that President Obama “gutted welfare reform” when he offered waivers to states on the work requirement of the program. 

In addition to the Values Bus stop in Denver, the Heritage Foundation also is co-sponsoring a debate of conservatives against progressives on job creation, economic growth and government dependency in Denver. 

The Wonks Duke in Denver includes: 

Moderated by:
Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor, Colorado Springs Gazette
Eli Stokols, political reporter, KDVR-TV Fox 31 Denver

For the conservatives:
William Beach, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis and author of “The Index of Dependence on Government”
The Honorable Bob Beauprez (R), former Colorado congressman
Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president and director of energy policy, The Independence Institute, as well as founder of Mothers Against Debt
Mike Franc, vice president of government studies, The Heritage Foundation

For the progressives:
Stanley L. Garnett, district attorney for Colorado’s 20th Judicial District
Carol Hedges, director, Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute
Angie Layton, Colorado political activist
Mike Littwin, former Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News columnist