McInnis states he’ll take the heat to stand up for jobs

Editor’s note: Scott McInnis wrote this in response to a Daily Sentinel editorial asking governor candidates what they will do about gas drilling and the environment. John Hickenlooper’s column appeared last Sunday.

Adopting yet another position on the issue of the job-killing oil and gas regulations, my Democratic opponent recently penned an op-ed piece for The Daily Sentinel asking for forgiveness from liberal lobbying groups. John Hickenlooper’s July 4 column provides a roadmap and exact pattern for how he will behave as governor, and his own words draw a deep contrast between us.

To recover jobs and re-open Colorado for business, I will be a governor who sets strong, consistent and predictable policies that will foster job growth. When the road gets tough, and it will, we will maintain our focus on jobs.

We cannot restore Colorado energy jobs and spark a lasting recovery without revising the state’s onerous rules. We continue to suffer from an anti-business reputation as a result of these rules, as a recent Fraser Institute study showed.

The Denver mayor wrote that as a former “tavern keeper” he wants to keep people happy, and that’s what he has often tried to do. He tries to determine what an audience wants to hear, and he tells them. But that’s not leadership.

Leadership requires tough choices, a consistent and strong voice, and a persuasive and clear vision. Decisions, by their nature, do not please everyone, and leaders sometimes must make choices that will anger one faction on an issue. Throughout my time in public service, I’ve made it a practice to reach out to stakeholders, listen to all sides. But, in the end, I make an informed decision that stands. That’s how we succeeded in overcoming the odds to create two Colorado national parks and placing record amounts of land into conservation.

Here are the facts.

When he is in Durango, or in front of oil and gas executives in Denver, or talking with the Sentinel, Hickenlooper adopts positions that are in many ways similar to positions I have consistently taken on these onerous rules. We must examine them, put our focus back on what’s right for Colorado, roll back the ideologically driven and onerous ones, restore balance and best practices and protect our environment.

This is, of course, different from what he has told his fellow liberals, and when they heard his latest position, they were furious. One columnist and radio host called the Denver mayor’s new position a “hideous contradiction,” stating that it is “a reversal of his position of less than a month ago.” So the heat rose, Hickenlooper wilted and his campaign spokesman was sent out to backpedal. The reversal hit light speed in Hickenlooper’s Sentinel column.

We have seen this before. Hickenlooper proudly flew to Copenhagen to the international global warming conference and said that he would come back and convert all of us skeptics to the true nature of the global-warming crisis. But fast forward to when he was stuck in a record snowstorm in Washington, D.C. and had to address the climate change skeptics at Colorado Mining Association via telephone. To that audience, he indicated that maybe it wasn’t such a huge crisis after all. Likewise, he has ducked, dodged and taken multiple positions on the vitally important issue of the multiple, job-killing tax hikes put in place earlier this year — tax increases I would have vetoed.

The mayor misses the mark when he apologizes for his “tendency to see both sides of an argument,” when the real issue is that he has a tendency to be on both sides of an argument.

Here is the bottom line: Capital, companies and jobs flee uncertainty. The Denver mayor’s own column shows a lack of predictability and a tendency to policy reversals in the face of pressure.

We can and we will embrace best practices, reject narrow ideology and partisan politics and make the tough, but right decisions for Colorado, our citizens and our economy.

Will there be some heat? Sure. But we elect governors to take the heat, not melt when the temperature rises.

Scott McInnis, of Grand Junction, is a Republican candidate for governor. He represented Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in Congress.


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