Gubernatorial hopefuls meet at south metro forum

Posted 10/8/10

Three major candidates for Colorado governor participated Oct. 4 in Elevate Colorado, a lively forum organized mostly by the South Metro Denver …

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Gubernatorial hopefuls meet at south metro forum


Three major candidates for Colorado governor participated Oct. 4 in Elevate Colorado, a lively forum organized mostly by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the City of Glendale, where the forum was.

The unique format saw former governors Bill Owens, Republican, and Richard Lamm, Democrat, conduct 2-on-1 interviews with Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Republican nominee Dan Maes and former 6th District U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of the American Constitution Party.

The informal conversations included moments of humor, passion and contentiousness as the former chief executives jointly quizzed the three hopefuls on topics ranging from political philosophy to personal qualifications.

A few of the highlights:


Owens: Colorado is facing some challenges with a lot of amendments that are on the ballot — Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101. What are your views on each of those?

Maes: … I like all the bits and pieces of them if you broke them up and implemented them one at a time over a period of time. But all three at one time I think is going to be a real onerous burden for the next administrator of our state, given the $1 billion shortfall that we’re looking at. …

Lamm: We have a structural deficit. It’s more than efficiency or firing some employees. We’re going to have to stop some functions. Give us some ideas.

Maes: This is going to seem really silly, but one of my pet peeves around the state is when you’re driving down the highway and there’s a big electrical sign over the highway and you can’t read it because it’s foggy — and then when you finally get close enough to read it, it says “Foggy Out. Slow Down.” … Every time you see one of those signs, it’s $150,000 a piece. Is that a wise investment of our money? …

Owens: Those don’t cost $150,000 each. … To be honest, that has nothing to do with the structural deficit of the state.


Owens: You’ve supported a lot of tax increases in Denver. Do you think that we’re about at equilibrium? I mean, have we had enough or are there going to be more taxes that we’re going to need in the future?

Hickenlooper: I think that’s impossible to say right at the moment. But I think at this moment, having traveled around the state for the last nine months, … there’s no appetite to raise taxes. So I think it’s a nonquestion. I don’t think any candidate is recommending that.

But as technology creates opportunity, we become more affluent. There’s a certain level at which people expect more. They want a bigger rec center. They want a larger library. What we tried to do with the city is find efficiencies within the existing government so that we could expand these services and expand opportunities … without having to raise taxes. …

Lamm: Would you reverse Gov. Ritter’s order on (unionizing state employees)?

Hickenlooper: Everything we’ve been able to see is the impact of that executive order has been minimal — almost no impact. …


Owens: Have you read the platform of the American Constitution Party?

Tancredo: I have.

Owens: Do you agree with it?

Tancredo: Well, do you agree with every single thing that’s in the Republican Party platform?

Owens: I’ll do the questioning. …

Tancredo: For the most part, yes. Some of it, I don’t. …

Lamm: Tom, I Googled you last night. … In a speech to the American Conservative Political Action Conference, you said this: “If you want to call me a single-issue candidate, just so long as you know that my single issue is the survival and the success of the conservative movement in America.” ….

Is that possible as a chief administrative officer of a large state corporation?

Tancredo: Why not? Why is it difficult to marry both a strong commitment to philosophy and the practical application of what we all know needs to happen as a chief executive officer.

Lamm: There’s two aisles there. You’ve got to deal with both of them. …

Tancredo: I’ll bring all the smart people together in the room and I will tell them this: … Vision all the solutions you want, but by God, bring me back a budget that’s 10 percent less than what you got or don’t come back.


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