Governor takes dive again for ballot measure

Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Gov. Bill Owens jumped out of an airplane in a radio ad debuting today in an effort to get voters to approve Amendment S on this year’s ballot.

Well, it’s radio, so no one can tell if they’re really jumping out of a plane.

They are, however, advocating that voters approve the measure that removes several antiquated provisions in the state’s personnel system, which sets rules on how state workers are to be treated.

“Look, Amendment S gives veterans a hiring preference they deserve, but I’m not jumping out of a plane,” Owens says in the 30-second ad.

“C’mon,” Hickenlooper shouts over the sound of a plane engine. “Amendment S also allows state government to run more like a business without any cost to taxpayers.”

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Owens, a Republican, also say the measure is something people from both political parties can agree on. It was placed on this year’s ballot by the Legislature, receiving unanimous votes in the Colorado House and Senate.

The measure expands the number of job candidates state agencies can consider when hiring new workers, lets temporary employees work longer before having to go through a formal hiring process, and places limits on the terms of State Personnel Board members.

Jumping out of a plane to highlight the measure is a reprise of a now-famous television ad Hickenlooper did back in 2005 when he was still mayor of Denver.

In that ad, the governor was promoting the passage of Referendum C, which allowed the state to retain surplus revenue for five years that normally would have gone back to taxpayers under the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.

In that ad, the governor actually jumped from a plane, and did so twice. He wasn’t really alone, though. It was a tandem jump with an experienced skydiver who was air-brushed out of the ad.

As for the latest skydiving, the Vote Yes On S campaign would neither confirm nor deny that the pair actually jumped from a plane, “or simply recorded it in a comfortable studio in Denver’s RiNo (River North Art) district.”


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