Former congressman looks at term-limited commissioner’s post

Scott McInnis, who represented the Western Slope in congress for six terms, is leaning toward an open seat on the Mesa County Commission.

McInnis, who now serves as executive director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, said Thursday that he’s considering a bid for the open seat now held by Steve Acquafresca, who is term-limited in 2014.

“I missed helping people out,” McInnis said of what prompted him to consider a return to elected politics.

He became better aware of the potential of a spot on the county commission while working with commissioners in his current post, McInnis said.

If elected, McInnis would be the third commissioner in recent history with legislative experience in Denver or Washington, D.C., to serve on the commission.

Acquafresca, who is completing his second term on the commission, represented Delta County in the Legislature before moving to Grand Junction and running for the Mesa County Commission.

Acquafresca replaced Tillie Bishop, who served on the commission after completing a 28-year career in the state Legislature, serving in both the House and Senate.

Serving on the commission is different from serving in the Legislature, Bishop said Thursday.

“This will be a little different because his constituents will be sitting with him in that hearing room,” Bishop said.

Still, “If he has the wrenching in his gut and love in his heart and his head screwed on straight, then he’ll be the man.”

McInnis is now in the process of gathering support to restore the monument marking the Colorado-Utah state line on U.S. Highway 50.

Much as the sign of “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” is a frequent photo location for tourists off Interstate 70 today, the U.S. 50 obelisk was once a well-known fixture.

It has since fallen into disrepair, and McInnis said he wants to see it restored.

McInnis lost his last foray in electoral politics when he fell short of winning the Republican nomination for governor after questions arose about his authorship of several treatises on water.


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