Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meeting with McInnis and Hickenlooper

By an interesting twist of scheduling, two candidates for Governor of Colorado, Republican Scott McInnis and Democrat John Hickenlooper, were holding meet and greets in Alamosa. Fortunately, they were at different times so I was able to attend both of them.

The atmosphere couldn't have been more different between the two. The McInnis meeting had a lot more energy and about twice as many people. The people there were energized and talking to each other and McInnis about the race, the issues and how the other campaigns people were involved with were doing. There was a group from CDOT in the hotel restaurant who didn't know he was coming but, when they found out he was there, asked if they could come talk with him. McInnis decided, instead, to go to the restaurant to hear what they had to say.

On a personal note, I was chatting with Gary Roahring who thanked me for the article I wrote about Dan Maes last week. Apparently, that article was sent out to every Congressional district in the state.

In his stump speech, McInnis hit the economy and Colorado's budget situation right out of the box. He stressed how important it was not to raise taxes and that Coloradans shouldn't expect to see state revenues to up in the near future. The solution to the state's budget woes, McInnis said, is to reduce government spending.

Next on McInnis' hit parade was energy and agriculture. He stated Colorado needs reasonable rules and regulations energy production and that Colorado has gone from one of the friendliest states for energy production to one of the worst. McInnis talked up his rural credentials compared to Dan Maes and Hickenlooper and emphasized that would take a statewide perspective on police rather than focusing on the Denver metro area.

Answering a question from the crowd, McInnis stated his opposition to the proposed Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. He said that understands the reason behind the initiatives but stated that they go to far.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before any more questions could be asked to attend to some family business. Once that was done. It was off to John Hickenlooper's meet and greet.

The Hickenlooper meeting was very subdued. Most of the people were just sitting and talking quietly, if at all. It was a shock to me how quiet it was compared to the McInnis meeting. Hickenlooper went around the room once trying to get a couple of minutes with everyone there. We chatted a little about the role of government and public education after I told him that I was right-wing blogger. I was, apparently, his last stop because after a couple of minutes he got pulled away to give his stump speech.

I don't think Hickenlooper discussed a single policy position during his speech. He is campaigning completely on his experience as Denver's mayor and as a businessman. He wanted to stress how well he could collaborate with others but never said what he wanted to accomplish from that collaboration. He did say that he wasn't expecting the Federal government to fix Colorado's problems and that Colorado had to fix her problems on her own. That was nice to hear after listening to states like California begging for a bailout.

I asked Hickenlooper how he would deal with next year's budget shortfall. He stated that he can't raise taxes due to public opposition but stressed that every government agency was underfunded. He suggested that the best way to fix the shortfall was to "find efficiencies" and get the economy going. The was at least one other person there who was concerned that small business was bearing the brunt of the taxes and wanted Hickenlooper to ensure him that it wasn't going to be made worse.

Another person asked Hickenlooper about tourism in Colorado. Hickenlooper stated that he wanted to tie Colorado business and tourism together. He wanted Colorado businesses to promote Colorado on their packaging while he "Brands" the state as pro-business. Key parts of economic development for Hickenlooper are the arts and historical development.

Hickenlooper ensured one questioner that he would continue the projects started under Governor Bill Ritter. A stand that is sure to prevent him from distancing himself from the Ritter.

Hickenlooper definitely has statist tendencies. He stated at one point, "I want people to believe in Government." He seems to be that he thinks that government should be first place people should go to fix their problems.

Neither candidate seemed especially concerned with Dan Maes. They are focused almost exclusively on each other. Obviously, Maes is more of a concern for McInnis who has to face him in the Primary in August.