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Republican campaign train stops in Walsenburg

by David Tesitor

The complete Internet Version on line in addition to print

Walsenburg- Two distinctive candidates hoping to earn their parties nominations made campaign stops in Walsenburg last Friday bringing with them their unique message. The Journal had an exclusive chance to speak with both candidates about their platforms, views and concerns regarding their respective offices.

Dan Maes, the gubernatorial candidate is hoping to defeat professional politician, Scott McGuiness to earn the parties nomination for Colorado governor.  Of special interest to the 60 people in attendance was the Pinon Canyon expansion.  He told the crowd that "I am not for expansion" He said that he is in favor of a strong military, but not at the expense of "violating the property rights of second, third and even sixth generations of ranchers."  This is in contrast to his primary opponent, Scott McGinnis,  who said he "is 100 % in favor of expansion and sending the jobs to Colorado Springs and Denver.".  When Maes told the crowd "No expansion," it drew applause from the ranchers in attendance. He came to these conclusions after visiting with the army and landowners. Colorado′s governor has the constitutional right to disallow eminent domain when it comes to Pinon Canyon only and Maes will fight for those rights.

Ken Buck is the current Weld County District Attorney and is making a name for himself in the primary election and is in a good position to earn his parties nomination for U.S. Senator.  He wants to unseat current Senator Michael Bennett who is facing stiff opposition from democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff. Buck also opposes Pinon Canyon and will fight for the rights of the landowners.  His primary opponent, Jane Norton, is in favor of the armies expansion.    

Both candidates answered tough questions from the crowd about methane coal bed drilling and the sensitive waters issues.  Both stated that Americans should try to lose their dependence on foreign oil and develop ways to explore clean energy, nuclear energy, oil and natural gas drilling, without affecting the environment.

Both Maes and Buck consider themselves fiscally conservative Republicans who will work for the people they are elected to serve and not vote strictly across party lines.

Maes is a businessman who has started, built up and sold several businesses which is a testimony to his experience.  He equates his bid for the governorship to running a business and will utilize all his fiscal policies to get the budget, spending and deficit under control. Maes states that "I am a conservative who holds small town values.  I was raised in one."  He also went on to say that," I am not a career politician.  I am a businessman.  I started at the bottom of a company and worked my way up."

When Maes was questioned about his primary opponent, McGinnis and the fallout of candidates who have already bowed out of the primaries, all he could do was smile and say, "I am in it for the long haul.  I will not bail out like that other guy."  He was referring to Josh Penry who withdrew last year.  Several straw polls have placed Maes ahead of McGunnis as the man people trust.

On education, Maes supports a competitive education system which holds educators and schools accountable, including charter schools and vouchers.

On the budget, Maes said, "You can pry Tabor (amendment) from my cold dead hands," meaning he feels the law holds us accountable.  Colorado ranks number two in the nation for fiscal soundness.

On energy, Maes said that he is sensitive to the environmental issues and is not a ′drill-baby-drill′, but will find ways to get back the $ 200 million dollars in revenues which have left the state due to the stiff oil and gas regulations.

Maes also describes himself as a spiritual man with the values and foundations to do the right thing.  He holds true a strict moral code which is his belief in the sanctity of human life in all cases and that marriage is between a man and a woman.  In closing Maes stated, "I am the guy who can combine the Republican institution with the conservative revolution."

For more on Dan Maes visit his web site at

Ken Buck will face a different set of issues if elected as Colorado next U.S. Senator.  While the issues concerning the state Maes holds true, Buck′s agenda is quite similar.  The biggest view is that Buck feels the government is too big to manage the affairs of our country and is in favor of reducing its size.

One issue which affects everyone is the health care debate.  While he feels that health care needs to be reformed, a single payer system is flawed and will not work, because the government′s size will not allow true reform.  His comment was, "They can not manage Hurricane Katrina; what makes you think they can manage this?" His stance on the pro life issue is only in early term abortions and only if the life of the mother is in danger only.  All other circumstances, abortions should not be allowed.  He is in favor of the death penalty. As a prosecutor, he only tried one death penalty case. The case was plead out to include life without payroll.

As far as the Patriot Act is concerned, he stated, "We can not ever trade our freedoms for security, but there has to be  balance."  His son is currently at West Point fighting to defend our liberties, so the issue of freedom is paramount to Buck.

Buck supports the second amendment rights of the individual.

On the issue of energy, Buck said, "we must develop energy independence, including clean coal, nuclear energy and develop our oil and gas safely."  He also said, "I do not plan on sending my son into arms way because we are dependent on someone else′s energy."

On the issues of domestic jobs, Buck would like to see a liberalization of regulations which force the jobs overseas. He feels we can produce more jobs if there was not as much intervention.

Buck felt strongly about the career politicians who go to Washington and fail to do what they promised.  He said, "We have sent Republicans to Washington D.C. to change the system.  Instead, Washington has changed them.  I will take an oath to defend the constitution of the United States first.  Not the party lines."

In conclusion, feels that he is what the people in a candidate who wants to change the ineffective partisan ways of Washington. ways  in Washington. Buck referred to the current Senator, Michael Bennett and Republican stronghold challenger, Jane Norton as "the one who was appointed and the one who is anointed."  He is that other guy.  For more on Ken Bucks views visit his web site at www.buckfor