Today I attened the Northern Suburban Republican Forum for the Gubernatorial candidates. Here are my remarks.
Driving to the Rec Center you can tell where it is. Dozens of McInnis and Penry signs are all over the place. You walk through the doors to be greated by Penry's people with stickers followed by Maes' and McInnis' people doing the same thing.
When the forum started Maes' supporters made more noise then Penry's. McInnis was not in attendence but sent a rep on his behalf.
After strong opening statements, all candidates pointing to their strengths, the questions begone.
Surprisingly there was very little difference in the candidate's views on the issues. The only differences were minor details and how they said phrases in all but a few issues like Eminent Domain (Pinon Canyon). McInnis was on the military's side, Penry on property rights side and Maes saying let's compromise.
When the forum finished I was even more undecided on whom to support then when I went in. All three campaigns made compelling arguments and statements. Here are some thoughts on what they said.
Maes: Reminded the audience that this is the EXECUTIVE branch, not anything else and he has 25 years as a business leader. He continued complimenting Penry's arguments and agreeing with him. He had well thought out statements and for being the new guy in politics, he sure knows a lot. He doesn't try to be or say something he's not. He did not try to hide the fact he didn't have a stance yet on Pinon Canyon because both sides had such strong arguments. Maes seemed like a solid rock guy who wouldn't be afraid to make tough decisions, make budget cuts and lay off government employees.
Penry: Won the energetic factor. He can talk a million miles and hour without you getting confused and being able to hear what he says. Penry pledged he would get on the ballot by assembly and wouldn't petition on if he didn't make it because he said the ones at the assembly are the core of the party, the volunteers and if you don't have them on your side then there must be something wrong with you, a bold move. Penry seemed to pretty much go hand and hand on most issues with Maes with minor differences. Penry however can only say he's been in the assembly for six years while Maes said it's about the executive branch and he has 25 years under his belt in that area. Penry no doubt though is was and is a leader in the Senate, fighting Bill Ritter and the democrat's crazy agendas from banning the death penalty (which we rarely use anyways) to raising taxes and creating new vehicle "fees" which he promised to repeal to repealing a spending limit amendment for Colorado.
"McInnis": For not being the candidate and trying to debate as him, John (his rep) did well. He didn't go into anything at all he did not know what McInnis thought 100% which was pretty minimal. When the question of fixing our education system in Colorado, seeing as we have horrible test scores this guy won the argument. Republicans tend to say "raise the standards, raise the standards, raise the standards" and that can work; except we need solutions to get the kids to actually MAKE the standards. He argued McInnis would get rid of ineffective, unqualified, unwilling and unwanting to work teachers. He argued getting the opportunities to every kid through vouchers and that not everyone was born to be a Doctor, and Engineer or a Lawyer and that we have to care about them too because they still matter deeply in our economy. His strength was his weakness though. John talked about McInnis' decades of service and work in government. Though experience is needed and wanted, don't we also want some new faces and new ideas here? John still made a completing argument for McInnis
Personally I think all three did so outstanding to the effect that I have absolutely no idea who I'll be supporting yet. However, whoever the nominee is, they will be a strong and powerful force so Bill Ritter better be ready to defend every single thing he's said and done in office because they can point out flaws and mistakes in almost everything he has done in office. You better be ready Mr. Governor because these Republicans aren't jokes.