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December 19, 2006 12:45 AM UTC

Owens on Owens

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Rocky Mountain News has a good Q&A with Governor Bill Owens today, which focuses more on politics than on policy stuff. Click below for some of the highlights:

In your first two years as governor, you cut taxes, improved roads, reformed schools. Then you lost Referendum A, the legislature went Democrat and your own party criticized you for supporting Referendum C. Would you have preferred to walk away like John Elway after winning the two Super Bowls?

No. I wouldn’t want to be a governor who only went after the sure things. I could have avoided controversial issues and had a 100 percent winning record.

If you define success as only backing those issues that win, you’re going to have a really weak governor, and our governors haven’t been like that. Even the best baseball players only bat .350.

And in the last years, I helped Colorado get through a budget crisis and I helped defeat some ballot measures that would have been bad for the state.

You passed up the chance to become a U.S. senator in 2004, so are you getting a kick out of the blogs that say you’re going to run for Senate in 2008?

I’ve been in elected office for 24 years. Tim Wirth was in for 20, Hank Brown for 22. A lot of time people think, “Oh Bill, you’re just getting started.” No, I’ve done this a long time. I’ve really loved what I’ve done. I’m not burned out. I’m not tired of being governor. But I am ready to pass it on to someone else…

Could you have beaten Bill Ritter?

(Laughing) What do you think?

Many people have talked about the disarray in the Colorado Republican Party and whether you bear responsibility.

I take full responsibility for the mistakes made by my party, but I’m also certain that these things are cyclical.

I also know that my party has won only two of the last nine governor’s races. This is not an easy state to win a governor’s race if you’re a Republican.

Politics runs in cycles. This year was, I think, the bottom of our down cycle. I think in 2008 you will see a Sen. Hillary Clinton vs. a Sen. John McCain or a Mitt Romney, and I think that makes us a red state again.

Do you think, as some Republicans say, that you got “rolled” during the special session on illegal immigration?

Whoever is saying that must not have been paying attention. Colorado now has by all accounts the toughest laws regarding illegal immigration of any state, and that was a result of my personal involvement.

The prime example is House Bill 1023, which came from the House weak and anemic. On the Saturday afternoon of the special session, I walked up to the third floor of the Capitol and told the Senate committee considering the bill that it was completely unacceptable. I outlined the elements I considered essential and made it clear that anything less would be unacceptable.

As a result, the bill was overhauled and all of my requirements were included.


5 thoughts on “Owens on Owens

  1. The Mayor and the Governor got lots of great press when they went to Silicon Valley to bring in new jobs to Colorado.
    Were any new jobs actually created from that trip? Have either the Governor or the Mayor actually created any new jobs except those brought about by spending public dollars
    to build roads?

  2. Gov. Owens did a lot of good things for Colorado. However, he let us down on some fronts as well.

    He did well on immigration, in balancing the budget, and in creating a business-friendly environment during the toughest economic times.

    He failed in his grand vision of CIT (Colorado Institute of Technology) which was supposed to become the MIT of the west. In general, the Gov made a mess in higher education through political interference. In the worst shape are the community colleges who need an immediate change in leadership at the ystem office.

    Hope Gov-elect Bill Ritter is taking notice. He seems to be making the right moves – we are optimistic in academia.

    1. The debacle at CIT was mostly the responsibility of Marc Holtzman as Colorado’s first Secretary of Technology.  He sold a lot of pipe dreams and pie-in-the-sky ideas, didn’t get the funding he said he would, lost interest, and left.

      1. Similar to the Pie in the Sky and Pipe Dreams that the Governor was hoping to build with his NAC think tank, which subsequently raised a lot of money, which has gone unaccounted for?

        1. … it was officially reported as a “negative cashflow” of $2.4 million  … go figure.

          And why were CIT funds mixed up with Governor’s OIT budget anyway? (OIT = Office of Innovation and Technology).

          Pretty innovative, I guess.

          No one called for an investigation of the missing millions.

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