2010 Colorado elections

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The three gubernatorial hopefuls were in Pueblo yesterday, according to a report from Peter Roper writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

One of them will be elected governor in November, which is why Republicans Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, along with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper came to Pueblo on Tuesday to woo Southern Colorado voters…

“You don’t just now learn about water,” McInnis declared to the audience of about 150 listeners, a reference to Maes saying that his past year of campaigning had taught him how important and complicated the issue is in Colorado…

On protecting rural water, the Denver mayor said conservation would be important, claiming his city had cut its per capita consumption by 20 percent.

McInnis had a bolder view, saying Colorado should pursue obtaining water rights in the massive Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming and piping it to Front Range cities, taking the pressure off Colorado river basins, such as the Arkansas River.

Maes said that as diverting water from the Western Slope to the Front Range was always a difficult subject, but he said that if conservation efforts were not enough, “that conversation needs to take place.”

More coverage from Joe Hanel writing for The Durango Herald. From the article:

Republicans Dan Maes and Scott McInnis and Democrat John Hickenlooper showed differences over water, oil and gas and their styles of politics when talking to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Action 22, an advocacy group for Southeast Colorado. Colorado’s water crisis is most acute in the Arkansas Valley, and both groups asked the candidates to address water.

Maes said Colorado has plenty of water, but it needs to be trapped in reservoirs before it leaves the state. Because water belongs to the whole state, transfers from the Western Slope to Pueblo, for example, would be appropriate after the eastern cities have made “good faith efforts” to conserve water. But Maes told the cattlemen’s group that western Coloradans do not need to be threatened. “I say it in Pueblo County, and I say it in Montezuma County: Not a head of cattle or a field of crops will want for water because they need it for a green lawn in Denver,” said Maes, who ran a credit-reporting business in Evergreen.

McInnis said he thinks the best solution is a 400-mile pipeline from Southwest Wyoming to the Front Range, proposed by Aaron Million. “That project, the Million project, in my opinion is a long-term answer to the water needs,” said McInnis, a former congressman for the 3rd Congressional District that covers the west half of the state. In 2007, McInnis registered briefly as a lobbyist for Million’s company, Million Conservation Resource Group, according to records kept by Congress.

Hickenlooper, the Denver mayor, did not offer a specific project. Instead, he said the first task is to build trust and understanding around the state. It might take 20 years to get the Million pipeline built, and he cast doubt of Maes’ suggestion of a Western Slope water transfer to Pueblo. “That would never happen without a higher level of trust than we have right now,” Hickenlooper said.

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.

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