With his hair trimmed and mustache shaved off, Scott McInnis, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, unveiled the first stage of his plan for economic recovery at a speech in Colorado Springs on Wednesday morning.
McInnis, 56, promised to bring more military-related and energy industries to Colorado. And, like Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who announced on Tuesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor, McInnis said he will focus on creating high-paying jobs to keep families and the economy afloat.
“It all starts with jobs,” McInnis told about 50 supporters and Republican politicians at a breakfast meeting at The Broadmoor hotel.
McInnis served five terms as a state representative and 12 years as a U.S. congressman. He is an attorney on leave from a Denver law firm. He began his speech by talking about the economy.
“It’s the worst we’ve seen in many decades,” he said, adding that 300 people every day are losing their jobs in Colorado. “And the people who still have jobs are not sure if they are going to be one of those 300 people the next day.”
McInnis also warned against the stimulus money that the Obama administration has distributed to states and local governments in order to jump-start the economy. “It’s nothing more than a sugar high,” he said, “and we’re about to run out of sugar.”
McInnis attacked big government, union, taxes and undue regulation. A competent but unflashy speaker, he drew pie charts and graphs to underscore his points, which were big on generalities but lacking in specifics.
In a tacit acknowledgement that he was in the territory of anti-tax advocate Douglas Bruce, McInnis also said he supports the TABOR amendment, which Bruce authored. The fees that state officials have tacked on to various services, such a vehicle registration, were nothing more than back-door taxes, he added.
McIinnis received his only round of spontaneous applause when he said that if elected governor, one of his first trips would be to the Pentagon. “Colorado appreciates the military. Colorado wants the military and Colorado will work to get the military.”
McIinnis said state Democrats, including Gov. Bill Ritter, who announced last week that he will not seek re-election, have given Colorado the reputation of being unfriendly not only toward the military but the traditional energy sector, as well. “What does this legislature and this governor do?”he asked. “They enact the toughest anti-drilling regulations in the United States.
“Colorado,” he added,” needs to put business first.”
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