Kids Voting: Next governor will grapple with budget shortfalls, more

Darrian Bay

By Darrian Bay

Six candidates are running for governor of Colorado. Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, is not running for a second term.

The two major-party gubernatorial candidates, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Republican Dan Maes, disagree on whether Colorado should adopt a law on illegal immigration similar to what Arizona adopted.

During a debate at the Club 20 fall meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center on Sept. 11, Maes said that he would sign the bill if it reached his desk. Hickenlooper said he would lead a group of governors to press the federal government to pass additional legislation regarding illegal immigration.

They also discussed and debated job creation and the appropriate size of state government.

While those two candidates debated inside Two Rivers Convention Center, two other candidates tried to gather supporters outside the center. Club 20 would not allow them on its agenda because of the group’s rules governing debates.

Tom Tancredo, on the American Constitution Party ticket, and independent Jason Clark spoke to supporters outside.

Tancredo said he was unhappy about not being allowed inside the Club 20 meeting, citing the fact that Maes had raised less money than he had gathered.

The remaining candidates who were not in Grand Junction on Sept. 11 were Libertarian candidate James Brown and unaffiliated candidate Paul Fiorino.

All four candidates who were not allowed to debate on Sept. 11 will need to convince the organizers of following debates that they should share the podium.

Ritter’s term as governor has been challenged by budget deficits. He has had to cut budgets for schools, colleges and prisons. Colorado law requires a balanced budget and Ritter has been forced to make numerous unpopular cuts, and the new governor faces more next year.

The Colorado Legislative Council predicts a nearly $1 billion shortfall in the 2011 fiscal year. If ballot measures 60, 61 and 101 pass, the new governor will face even more financial difficulties.

Evergreen businessman Maes won the Republican primary on Aug. 10th against Scott McInnis.

Maes said he wants to revise Colorado’s economy and create a more business-friendly regulatory environment. He said he hopes for a more effective school system that is based on accountability as well as choice.

Maes maintains that he has the support of the regular people in the party, not just the power figures, who he says are part of the problem with government today.

Maes, however, is finding it difficult to raise money for his campaign.

According to Hickenlooper’s website, he moved to Colorado in 1981 and worked with Buckhorn Petroleum until he was laid off. He opened the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in 1988 in Lower Downtown Denver. He sold the business when he ran for mayor.

As mayor, he redesigned Denver’s financial system and passed an ordinance to annul tenured salaries in the city. Hickenlooper has introduced several green plans to improve Denver’s urban environment and increase efficiency, along with decreasing greenhouse gas emission and promoting people to start to take steps to conserve resources.

His running mate is Colorado State University-Pueblo President Joe Garcia.

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Darrian Bay is a senior at R-5 High School who is reporting on election issues for The Daily Sentinel in conjunction with Kids Voting of Mesa County.


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