Gubernatorial candidate vows return to Moffat County |

Gubernatorial candidate vows return to Moffat County

Scott Franz

Dan Maes

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes told voters gathered Tuesday night at the Centennial Mall that if he were elected Colorado's next governor, he would continue coming back to Moffat County.

"Actions have to match words," Maes said. "I'll never forget the time I went to Cortez, and a county chairman said to me, 'You all come here once, and then forget about us.' But after we win the primary, I promise you I will come back."

Maes has made several campaign stops in Craig and Moffat County this year.

His latest trip comes toward the end of a campaign season that he said has entailed him driving more than 80,000 miles across the state during a 16-month period.

Maes' shared his background and discussed reasons why he's running for governor with voters gathered at the Craig Daily Press/KRAI candidate forum.

In his address to the audience, Maes stressed that his rural background and experience in business management make him very familiar with issues important to Moffat County voters.

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"I understand what's important to you," he said. "I know how valuable things like agriculture are to this area."

Maes discussed his plans to improve the state's economy, beginning with downsizing state government.

He said his 25 years of experience in business management would help him lower the tax burden on the state. He also said one of his top priorities, if elected, would be to increase revenues from the oil and gas industry in the state.

"We need to bring back that energy industry," Maes said. "We need to be getting natural gas, oil, coal and Uranium out of the ground."

Maes, who is in a tight primary race with former U.S. House Representative Scott McInnis for the Republican nomination, spent part of his speech criticizing current Democratic governor Bill Ritter and his administration.

He criticized Democrats for overregulating the oil and gas industry in Colorado, and driving away jobs.

"Bill Ritter has almost single-handedly destroyed the energy industry in this state," Maes said. "When Ritter came into office, he owed two groups of people — the environmentalists and the unions."

Maes' Tuesday appearance in Craig came on the heels of a visit by Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, a potential Democratic opponent in the November general election, who spoke to local voters Monday night at the Center of Craig and Tuesday morning at the Craig Rotary Club.

McInnis is scheduled to make his own campaign appearance in Craig on Aug. 7 for a series of meet-and-greets at the Golden Cavvy restaurant and the Hampton Inn.