Photo: Denver Daily News
Peter Germann of RK Mechanical, Inc., left, shows off a machine at the plant to Lori and Scott McInnis, front and center, along with former Gov. Bill Owens, Sen. Josh Penry and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, in the back from left to right.
By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
As if preparing for battle at Troy, the state’s heaviest-hitting Republican leaders gathered at a non-union manufacturing plant in Denver Monday morning to let out their war cry and present a “unified” platform that they say will propel them into the executive branch of state government in 2011.
With lots of firm handshakes between GOP leaders, plenty of pats on the back and high-fives, and a smorgasbord of cracks on the Democratic Party that only led to chuckles by fellow Republican comrades — the Colorado GOP laid out their battle plan.
In the center ring is former Congressman Scott McInnis, who is vying for the Republican nod to challenge Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter next year. McInnis was flanked Monday by his protege, Sen. Josh Penry, who also was running for governor in 2010 but decided recently to bow out, and on Sunday he endorsed McInnis.
McInnis’ only competition in the primary race is Republican businessman Dan Maes.
The news conference was held at RK Mechanical, Inc., a mechanical contracting company with long ties of campaign contributions to the Republican Party here in Colorado. The company has also been criticized by Democrats for violating prevailing-wage pay, according to a story last year in the Denver Post.
Despite allegations that RK Mechanical shorted workers $40,814.27 between 2002 and 2005 — according to the city auditor’s office — McInnis said Monday that he chose the location because of the company’s commitment to keeping people working.
“That noise of production kind of reminds you of when Jackie Gleason used to say, ‘How sweet it is.’ Keep the noise going.” McInnis said of the production noise at RK Mechanical. “Jobs are central to the issues that we’re going to discuss today.”
The “Platform for Prosperity” released by Republicans Monday focuses on keeping Colorado a low-tax state by supporting the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights; restoring a 6-percent cap on government spending; opposing the expansion of unions — including repealing an executive order by Ritter allowing state workers to unionize; — and easing restrictions on the oil and gas industry, to name a few.
Other key principles include preventing the government from funding organizations that provide abortions; supporting charter and magnet schools; and cracking down on employers that hire undocumented workers, such as by requiring a workplace verification system like E-Verify.
“We believe that big government breeds small ideas. But smaller government gives citizens the freedom to breed big ideas,” states the GOP’s “Platform for Prosperity.”
In agreeing not to pursue a run for governor, Penry and Tancredo asked McInnis for assurances that he would uphold this new Republican platform.
But Ritter during a conference call with reporters Monday called the new conservative platform a “manifesto,” and said he does not believe in signing a document simply to please his party in order to get their nod for a campaign.
“It seems like a decade-and-a-half old strategy having a contract that has all of these things that are a part of it. We’re not about that. Nobody had me sit down and sign a kind of a manifesto when I ran for governor in 2006 as a Democrat, and nobody’s going to have me do that again,” said Ritter. “What I care about is how we lead this state out of the downturn — and quite frankly we’re very competitive — and being able to come out of this healthier and stronger.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters