Rowland’s comment spurs opponent Lewis to walk out of debate

Democratic County Commission candidate Dickie Lewis saw no need to continue debating his Republican opponent after she suggested he could be a liar. He walked out of the debate and said he will do so again if District 3 incumbent Janet Rowland repeats the allegation in upcoming debates.

One minute, during a League of Women Voters forum Tuesday night, Rowland complimented Lewis for running a civil campaign. The next, the gloves seemed to come off, as she accused Lewis of being either ignorant or a liar about the county’s energy master plan.

Lewis had said the commission has not involved the public in discussion about the plan, has never asked its legal counsel how it can regulate the energy industry and has accomplished nothing to create the plan, with the exception of hiring a consultant and talking generally to the energy industry.

“Elect us, trust us, and we will tell you next year what the plan is,” Lewis said.

“Shame on you,” Rowland shot back. “It most certainly is in progress, and to say anything less is disingenuous.”

When she said Lewis and Dan Robinson, another commission candidate, are ignorant of what the county has done or are lying, Lewis threw his hands up, said he was done and walked away in the middle of Rowland’s response.

“If she uses my name and lying in the same sentence, I am not going to sit in the same room with her,” Lewis said Wednesday.

Lewis said he will honor his commitments and appear at future scheduled debates, but that if Rowland resorts to the same tactics, he will have the same response.

“Someone has to raise the level of debate. I am going to do it,” Lewis said.

Commissioner Craig Meis said Lewis and Robinson lack a grasp of the facts.

“I don’t think they are lying. I think they are ignorant of the issues,” Meis said.

Robinson, a Democrat, is challenging Meis, a Republican, for his seat in District 1.

Meis said he never saw Lewis or Robinson at any public meetings on the energy master plan last year.

Meis did recall seeing the Western Colorado Congress there, contrary to Robinson’s assertions that WCC has not been consulted on the plan.

Robinson also blasted Rowland and Meis for allowing the energy master plan to lie stagnant during their time on the commission.

“Craig has been in office three years; nothing has been done on the energy master plan,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he was not going to step into Lewis’ fight with Rowland.

“Dickie walked out (Tuesday) because he has a great deal of pride, and when someone calls him a liar, it is unacceptable to him. He is not going to put up with that,” Robinson said. “My issue is with Craig Meis, and what I said and what Dickie said is true. It is accurate, and they are very defensive about it because it is absolutely an example of bad leadership, and they are embarrassed about it.”


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