Maes makes appearance at Glenwood Springs candidates’ forum
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Republican Dan Maes brought his anti-establishment bid for Colorado governor to Glenwood Springs Tuesday night, part of a whistle-stop tour geared as much toward winning general name recognition as defending his name against calls by top Republicans for him to drop out of the race.
While candidates for the Third Congressional District seat and the U.S. Senate had statements read on their behalf by local supporters, Maes saw fit to show face on his own behalf.
“A lot of you are still asking, ‘Who is Dan Maes,’ and that’s OK,” the Evergreen businessman who upset Glenwood Springs native and former Congressman Scott McInnis in the Republican primary last month, said at the Glenwood Springs Chamber’s annual pre-election Issues and Answers Night.
“I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a career politician,” he said. “I’m a small business owner who took a look at what was going on in government and said, ‘I cannot take it anymore.’
“I saw that Denver was headed in the same direction as Washington, D.C., and it’s the wrong direction,” Maes proclaimed. “I’m a conservative first, and a Republican second, and it’s time to return this state to its conservative roots.”
It’s a folksy, average-Joe approach in an unusual election year dominated by the grassroots tea party movement that Maes hopes to turn into a political coup.
Maes faces Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, as well as a strong conservative third-party challenge by former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo in the Nov. 2 general election.
Last week, Maes defiantly vowed to press on, despite calls from both mainstream Republicans and even some of those aligned with tea party movement for him to step aside.
Those calls came after questions arose about Maes’ reportedly erroneous claims that he once worked undercover for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and a range of other character issues.
On the issues, Maes preaches the tea party mantra of smaller government, a lesser tax burden and a stop to what he sees as out-of-control government spending.
“We need to modify the energy regulations put in place by Gov. Ritter,” he said of the outgoing Democratic governor who decided not to run for reelection after four years in office.
“We have to get coal and natural gas production going again, and bring those severance tax revenues back into the state,” Maes said. “We can cut taxes in this state and bridges won’t fall down, and we can still take care of the primary roles of state government.”
Specifically, he said he would cut the small business tax and freeze local property tax mill levies. Maes also questions the need for the Governor’s Energy Office, which is heading up the state’s push for renewable energy, and the Department of Local Affairs, which provides grants and other assistance to town and county governments around the state.
However, while supportive of the tax-cutting and debt-limiting measures contained in three state ballot initiatives, Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101, Maes said he can’t endorse the three together.
“These three at one time would be very destructive to our economy and catastrophic for the state budget,” he said.
Maes noted that he has put 85,000 miles on four different vehicles getting out and getting to know people and their issues around the state.
“I’ve already been here to Glenwood Springs five times,” he said. “Every community in Colorado is important to me, and people out here are tired of years and years of Denver-focused politicians who don’t care about them.”
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