McInnis receives a warm welcome on campaign stop in Glenwood Springs
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Former 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis returned to his native Glenwood Springs Monday night to a warm welcome from about 150 supporters and friends at a rally at the Glenwood Business Center.
“It’s so good to see so many good friends,” McInnis told the crowd. “And to see the faces that I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve come once again to you, and would consider it a privilege to be your governor. I am looking for your support.”
Among those supporters was Glenwood resident Craig Seal.
“He is a strong candidate for governor,” Seal said. “With his political experience in Congress, I think that he would be a great benefit to the state of Colorado.”
McInnis, who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter next year, told supporters Monday night that Colorado needs a new leader who is in touch with the needs of the people of Colorado.
“I know the governor pretty well,” McInnis said. “He is a nice guy and a good neighbor, but he’s not governor material.”
No objections came from the crowd to that remark.
McInnis took aim at Ritter’s decision-making and said that he has only helped to drive jobs out of the state, instead of keeping them here. McInnis said that Ritter has driven the gas industry out of the state by introducing the “toughest natural gas exploration legislation in the nation.”
“Those rules and regulations were directly targeted at the natural gas industry,” McInnis said. “And this is the result of what happened: They left the area.”
But McInnis didn’t stop there. He also criticized Ritter for not expanding the Fort Carson Army base in Colorado Springs, and for his idea to allow state prisoners an early parole as a step to balance the state’s budget.
“He is going to second guess the judges and the juries of this state?” McInnis said. “It’s a huge mistake, and a risk to public safety.”
However, Ritter’s campaign manager, David Kenney, told the Associated Press that Ritter has created jobs with his campaign for a new energy economy and that Ritter has boosted Colorado’s image as a good place for new businesses.
Education, water storage, Interstate 70, Medicare, Medicaid and immigration were also mentioned by McInnis as hot topic issues that need to be readdressed by a new chief. And, he said, the citizens of Colorado deserve a governor who understands what is important to all, jobs.
“This state right now is in the kind of situation that we need the best we can get,” McInnis said. “We need a team in there that understands, not only the state and federal budget, but the private work place. But also, we need someone who understands what is important to all of us – jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Mike Britt, campaign manager for former McInnis Congressional staffer and current State Sen. Josh Penry, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor, told the AP that McInnis’ experience as a Congressman has resulted in more debt, record deficits and countless earmarks.
“It seems the congressman is experienced in delivering rehearsed political attacks, yet his record is one that fails to pass the leadership test Coloradoans will demand from its chief executive,” Britt said.
But after the speech, supporters like Seal, an equipment sales professional who has seen the loss of jobs in the construction and energy industry firsthand, liked what he heard from McInnis.
“It would be great to have someone finally representing the Western Slope,” Seal said. “Our county has not hit bottom yet. That is a real concern. I think he recognizes that and understands how we’ve been hit by the recession, and that we need to bring jobs to the Western Slope.”
Evergreen businessman Dan Maes is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
The stop was McInnis’ fourth of the day, which began at the state Capitol, and made his way down the Interstate 70 corridor with stops in Idaho Springs and Edwards as well.
The speech began with a couple of songs by country music performer Michael Martin Murphy. Local McInnis supporters included Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin and Silt Mayor Dave Moore. Others included former Glenwood Mayor Don Vanderhoof, who opened the rally with a brief speech in support of McInnis.
“The time is right,” Vanderhoof said. “And I’m so happy that he made the decision to run for governor of Colorado.”
McInnis will visit Grand Junction today, followed by Delta, Montrose and Ouray. He’ll travel to Alamosa on Wednesday, to Colorado Springs on Thursday, and finish up the week in Woodland Park on Friday.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)
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