2010 Colorado elections: Scott Mcinnis background

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From The Denver Post (Karen E. Crummy):

Two years out of St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, McInnis was an associate at Delaney & Balcomb, a Glenwood Springs firm specializing in water and energy issues. McInnis said he handled mostly mechanic liens and divorce cases, although Scott Balcomb, son of firm co-founder Kenneth Balcomb, said McInnis also worked on water rights and lease disputes. When McInnis pondered running for the statehouse, Balcomb said, the firm encouraged him. “It was good to get our name out there — the firm’s name, his name,” he said. “We got quite a bit of business that way.”[…]

Early on in his statehouse career, McInnis started sending copies of proposed House and Senate bills to Kenneth Balcomb for his review. Most focused on water issues, according to letters from the firm to McInnis. McInnis said that it was common for legislators to pass water issues by Balcomb because he was legal counsel to the Colorado River Water Conservation District, the primary policy and planning agency for the Colorado River Basin. Balcomb wrote back his thoughts, often on each bill, and often with directives. He doesn’t mention the water district in any of his letters, and some of his comments show his concerns were with his firm’s interests. “There is hardly a client in this office, or one who would come in in the foreseeable future, who would not be irreparably damaged by such legislation,” he wrote. Or “this is a bad bill” and “you should be absolutely opposed.” A review of those bills shows most never made it to floor votes. Of those that did, McInnis voted four times in line with Balcomb’s position and three times against it…

The year after McInnis was tapped for Ways and Means, the U.S. Forest Service proposed changes to the management plan for the White River National Forest. The proposals included restricting users to marked trails and closing 676 miles of roads and user-created trails. Ski areas would be prohibited from expanding beyond current permits and timber-cutting reduced. McInnis objected, and despite the fact that study groups and public hearings had been held, he quietly assembled a coalition of special-interest forest users — motorized users, ski, timber, cattle, water users — for strategy meetings. Conservation groups and environmentalists were not invited.

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.

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