DENVER - Republican Scott McInnis took swipes at Democrat John Hickenlooper on Monday over taxes and climate change in
their first joint appearance of the gubernatorial campaign.
Hickenlooper stuck mostly to the biographical stump speech he has been using as he introduces himself around the
The candidates talked separately for about half an hour each at the Colorado Rural Electric Association's annual
McInnis took aim at bills that repeal tax breaks, eight of which Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law last week.
Those are job killers," said McInnis, who served as U.S. representative for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District from
He criticized Hickenlooper for not opposing them. He has refused to say he won't raise taxes," McInnis said.
Hickenlooper, Denver's mayor since 2003, said he would not weigh in on bills until after the legislative session is
finished. It is likely to run until late April or early May.
We've already got one governor. If we have two, or congressman McInnis and I are opining on every piece of
legislation, I don't think it helps the situation," Hickenlooper said.
However, he said he would think hard about where to cut government, instead of making across-the-board cuts, like
Republicans in the Legislature want.
No business would ever do that," Hickenlooper said.
McInnis spoke directly to the Rural Election Association audience to call out another bill, House Bill 1098, which
would set statewide standards for REA elections. Environmentalists have tried in recent years to get elected to REA
McInnis greeted several REA members by name - including La Plata Electric Association's Tom Compton - and spoke fondly
of attending past REA meetings and elections with them.
Those days are over. There are other people who in my opinion do not share the same vision we do," McInnis said.
Hickenlooper stuck mostly to his biographical story.
He talked about starting his career as a petroleum geologist in Colorado, getting laid off and opening the Wynkoop
Brewery in downtown Denver near Coors Field. He and partners started more than a dozen brewpubs around the country
before he ran for mayor of Denver in 2003.
He also touched on climate change and the use of coal power.
I get in trouble every time I say this, but I'm not 100 percent absolutely sure that climate change is occurring at
the rate that some people fear it is and is going to be as catastrophic," Hickenlooper said.
However, he added, most of the top scientists in the world see climate change as a major risk, so governments should
prepare. It will be important to balance coal - a remarkable resource" - against natural gas and other fuels that burn
cleaner, he said.
We know that asthma is increasing dramatically, year by year by year, and science so far is stumped," Hickenlooper
said. But there are indications that some of it may be a result of coal-burning."
McInnis criticized Hickenlooper for attending last year's summit on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I'm not going to be giving commitments on behalf of Colorado energy policy or the citizens of Colorado at the global
warming conference in Copenhagen," McInnis said.
The line brought scattered applause from the crowd. The rural co-ops all buy power from Tri-State Generation and
Transmission, which relies mostly on coal-fired power plants.