by Brian Orr
WALSENBURG- It has been the policy of the Huerfano World Journal, for as long as Gretchen and I have been publishing it, to try and present unbiased reporting in our newspaper–the exception being our stance against the expansion of the Piñon Canon Maneuver Site, which we came out against in our first issue.
We have never endorsed a political candidate before, prefering to let the candidates state their opinions and let people decide for themselves.
It is hard however, to present information on a candidate, when they don’t show up, or they snub your reporters. On Wednesday, Sept. 22, State Rep. Wes McKinley and his challenger, Lisa Grace Kellogg, were both supposed to speak at the Trinidad Oil and Gas Association’s forum.
Kellogg chose not to attend the forum and debate McKinley on the issues. We feel this absenteeism is emblematic of Kellog’s candidacy. She is a person whose primary business and residence is in southern California; how much time will she honestly devote to representing southern Colorado in our legislature?
McKinley does a terrific job of watching out for our collective interests up in Denver. Wes is a man of, and from, southern Colorado. A third generation cowboy from Walsh, a husband and father, and a retired school teacher, he has been standing up for us in the House for six years now.
McKinley has been instrumental in blocking the Army’s expansion at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, and just last week raised serious questions about the proposed increase in the number of low-altitude flyovers of Huerfano County.
McKinley has been on the right side of a whole slew of topics and issues that directly affect us here in southern Colorado. Here is just a partial list of beneficial legislation in which he has had a hand.
Rep. McKinley has worked his entire legislative career to stop the expansion of the controversial Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. He’s sided with ranchers and farmers to take on the federal government in order to preserve Colorado’s historic and fragile southeastern lands, and protect people’s private property, livelihood, and way of life.
HB 09-1317 – No State Lands to Expand Piñon Canyon
A landmark piece of legislation that protects landowners from the federal government’s plans to take southeastern Colorado ranches, this legislation prohibits the sale of State Land Board land for the expansion of the controversial Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. It also directs the Colorado Attorney General′s office to uphold Colorado law and withhold any attempt by the Army to condemn those sections of state land.
HB 08-1182 – Withdrawal Consent Acquire Lands US (PI’d)
HB 07-1069 – Withdraw Consent Federal Eminent Domain
HJR 06-1035 – Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site Expansion
HB 10-1001 – Increasing Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (HB 1001, Rep Max Tyler, Sens Schwartz & Whitehead)
Utility companies like Xcel will be required to produce 30% of their power from renewable sources by the year 2020 — only 10 years away. The RES, the second largest in the nation, will create new, good-paying jobs for folks from engineers to solar installers, increase our energy independence, and protect the natural beauty of our communities.
HB 10-1365 – The Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act (Reps Solano & Roberts, Sens Whitehead & Penry)
No Coloradan is proud of the brown cloud of pollution that hangs over the metro area on a hot summer day. By increasing the use of cleaner energy sources instead of dirty coal we are preserving our Colorado quality of life, and creating a new market for energy development, and paving the way for thousands of new jobs.
SB 10-028 – Colorado Work Share Program (Representative Pace, Senator Heath)
Instead of laying-off workers, businesses can choose to reduce the hours a group of employees work, making up the difference with unemployment compensation. Under the program, businesses get to keep experienced workers, and the workers get to keep their jobs and benefits. In other states, similar programs have been effective at saving nearly a quarter of a million jobs.
HB 09-1001 – Colorado Jobs Tax Credit (Rep. Joe Rice, Sen. Rollie Heath)
Provides a Jobs Tax Credit to companies that bring new, high-paying jobs to our state.
SB 09-67 – Colorado Credit Reserve Program (Sen. Rollie Heath, Reps. Sara Gagliardi & Don Marostica)
Leverages as much as $50 million to provide loans for Colorado’s small businesses so they can grow and thrive despite these tough times.
HB 08-1225 – Reducing Business Personal Property Tax Burden on Small Businesses (Reps. Joe Rice & Bernie Buescher, Sen. Bob Bacon)
HB 1225 raises the Business Personal Property Tax exemption from $2,500 to $7,000, freeing up funds for over 30,000 small business owners to grow their companies and expand their work force.
HB 10-1166 – Transparent Plain Language in Insurance Policies (Rep. Kefalas, Sen. Newell)
Will require insurers to replace confusing legalese with transparent “plain language” to make policies transparent, so Coloradans feel secure they know what they’re paying for.
HB 10-1008 – Gender Equity In Insurance (Reps. Schafer & McCann, Sens Carroll & Schwartz)
Holds insurance companies accountable by ensuring women and men pay the same price for the same health insurance policy. Being a woman can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition.
HB 10-1351 – Payday Lending Reform (Rep. Ferrandino, Sen. Romer)
Pay day lenders, like credit card companies, are creating a vicious cycle of debt that traps too many Coloradans. The legislation holds pay day lenders accountable by capping the interest rate and making sure the terms of the loan are transparent.
We could go on for pages, listing McKinley’s accomplishments in the legislature, but this should give you an idea that this is a man of action; a man who gets things done.
It should be noted here that this endorsement is from us, the publishers of the World Journal, and not necessarily our staff. We have a very diverse group of writers, who all comfortably speak their own minds, and will vote their own consciences. To those employees, and our friends and neighbors here in Huerfano County who may disagree with this endorsement, we still love you. The important thing here is to be sure and get out and vote!