Gubernatorial candidate expresses bike program concerns in Steamboat
Maes explains remarks at campaign appearance
August 4, 2010
Steamboat Springs — On the morning after the Steamboat Springs City Council allocated up to $14,000 to support Steamboat Springs' Bike Town USA initiative, Republican candidate for governor Dan Maes rolled into town and discussed recent remarks in which he implied that Democratic candidate and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's efforts to make bicycle commuting more convenient represent a possible conflict with the Colorado Constitution.
It was also today that Gov. Bill Ritter and cyclist Lance Armstrong announced the return of a professional road racing bicycle series to Colorado.
"I don't want anyone to think I'm against bicycling," Maes said Wednesday, minutes before speaking to the Routt County Republicans. "I have a mountain bike. I like to ride a super trail by our home in Evergreen. It's right at the end of our driveway. I ride early in the morning, and I see wildlife."
Maes is running against former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis in the Aug. 10 Republican primary election, which will decide who faces Hickenlooper in the general election in November.
In a Denver Post article that published Wednesday, Maes questioned Denver's involvement with the International Council for Environmental Initiatives, an advocate for sustainability causes.
Maes characterized the council as being affiliated with the United Nations and said the organization is working exclusively at the mayoral level to promote programs he thinks emphasize environmental causes over individual rights.
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In an article by Post reporter Christopher N. Osher, Maes called out a bike-sharing program in Denver that provides rental bikes across the city.
The Post reported that during a July 26 campaign rally in Centennial, Maes made statements to the effect that the bike-sharing program subordinates individual liberties to an environmental program.
"What I'm going on is based on limited information," Maes told the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Wednesday. "On the surface, the program looks great. But this is a U.N. program the mayor has signed on to."
Maes said Wednesday that his remarks had been made in the context of a question asking him what strategy he would use to defeat Hickenlooper in the general election.
"I met a woman at a campaign event who handed me a very well-documented portfolio" about the International Council for Environmental Initiatives, Maes said. "I have not had time to study all of the portfolio. I have to learn more about it. We've just scratched the surface."
Maes reaffirmed his concerns that the bike-sharing program could be in conflict with the Colorado Constitution.
"It's paid for with taxpayer dollars," he said. "We need to ask, how compatible is this program with our state Constitution?"
In other remarks to the Routt County Republicans, Maes promised to work to downsize state government and strengthen Colorado's stature as an energy producer.
"We should be one of the top energy-producing states in the country, and that's my goal," Maes said.
He criticized Ritter, a Democrat, for increasing the size of the executive branch.
"Bill Ritter added 600 to 700 employees just in his branch," all making salaries greater than $100,000, Maes said.
"I would advocate for smaller government. We cut taxes. That's what Republicans are supposed to be about, are we not?"