Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes visits Craig |

Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes visits Craig

Brian Smith

Governor candidate Dan Maes said it is time for Gov. Bill Ritter to "go home."

"I'm here to help, and I'm not from the government," Maes said.

Maes, a Republican from Evergreen, spoke Tuesday at the Bears Ears tea party Patriots meeting at the Center of Craig about his candidacy, policies and background as part of a two-day campaign trip to Northwest Colorado.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a lobbyist and I'm not a career politician," he said. "I'm a frustrated Colorado citizen like most of you."

Maes started his speech to the tea party by addressing his pro-gun rights, anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances.

He then addressed his dissatisfaction with the current Republican Party in Colorado.

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"You can't even trust the Republicans anymore and you thought they were there to protect your conservative values and I said 'enough is enough,' as well," he said.

Maes said he was raised in a small town and can identify with rural areas of Colorado despite living close to Denver.

"I'm from the other side of the hill, but I'm not one of those Denver city boys," he said.

Maes then outlined his background and the circumstances under which he decided to run for governor.

"I didn't just kind of wake up 12 months ago … and say, 'Gee, I think I will run for governor,'" he said. "It is something that has been in my mind for a long, long time."

As governor, he said he would work to make sure constituents' voices are heard.

"It is my job to do for you, not the other way around," he said. "Your taxes pay my salary."

Maes then directed his speech to the energy industry and its importance in Colorado.

He said he opposed Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs, act from the time it was introduced.

"Shame on any Republican that voted for House Bill 1365," he said.

Maes said there should be a balance of all energy development types in Colorado.

"The government (has) no business dictating who gets preferential treatment in the energy industry," he said. "Coal should be on equal footing with natural gas, with uranium, with oil, with wind, with solar, all of it. Free market should drive the energy industry in this state."

Maes then outlined the course of action he would take if elected.

The first step he would take is to downsize state government, reduce spending and find ways to cut department budgets, he said.

Maes said he would then seek to boost the energy industry in the state.

"We (have to) beg forgiveness from the energy industry for Bill Ritter chasing it out of our state," he said. "He almost single handedly destroyed our traditional energy industry in this state."

Maes said the third step he would take if elected would be to cut taxes.

He said cutting taxes would help boost small businesses and help the economy.

"We also drive more small business revenue by lessening regulations and lowering their taxes," he said. "That is what stimulates jobs."

He also discussed water issues in Colorado and said he would be in favor of increased water storage within the state and wants to change management of Colorado water.

Maes also said he wants to bolster state illegal immigration laws like Senate Bill 90, which he called "Arizona light," referring to Arizona's recent

immigration legislation.

The audience was then able to ask Maes specific questions about balancing votes and issues from both sides of the state, and the role of the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

As part of Maes' Tuesday visit to Craig, he also toured the Tri State Generation & Transmission Craig Station, Twentymile Coal Mine and hosted a luncheon at the Hampton Inn.

Maes fielded questions during the luncheon from an audience of about six residents.

"Northwest Colorado is looking for a Colorado governor, we are not looking for an Eastern Slope governor, but it seems like we have had that a lot," Craig City Council member Ray Beck said.

Maes agreed with Beck.

"I hear it everywhere I go, and you are right, especially Bill Ritter," Maes said.

"He is just a Denver, democrat lawyer. (Ritter) couldn't care less where the edge of Denver is."

Maes said he cares about the Western Slope and rural Colorado as evidenced by his campaign.

"I think my actions over the last 12 months have matched my words that I have spent an enormous amount of time in rural Colorado," he said.

Today, Maes will be a guest on The Cari and Rob Show on 55 Country AM, and will host a luncheon from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Smokehouse in Steamboat Springs.