The Colorado Republican ‘Platform for Prosperity’

Gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, former gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry and almost gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo pow-wowed last week and at some point drafted a powerpoint-type document meant to guide their efforts to defeat Gov. Ritter and turn the state Republican red in 2010. The document, called a “Platform for Prosperity,” is typically broad and unsatisfying. It’s a warm and fuzzy convention-speech kind of product delivered at a time when government officials are looking for concrete ways just to keep the lights on all across the state.

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In fact, the platform seems to have been designed primarily to give Penry an excuse to endorse McInnis, who in the last six months has schooled Penry in the way big-money party politics operate. McInnis waited in the wings all summer and fall, lining up big donors, while Penry hopped from stump to stump, casting about for dramatic things to say about big-spending Democrats even while Gov. Ritter every day was announcing new cuts to match the dramatically shrinking Colorado budget. The GOP “Platform for Prosperity” also succeeded in drawing into the fold firebrand Tancredo, who threatened mightily to derail McInnis’s plan to oust Penry and be done with serious primary challenges. Indeed Tancredo, fueled by name-recognition, grass-roots loyalty and conviction, seemed in the end to pose the real threat to McInnis. In just a week of making noise about maybe running in the wake of Penry’s abrupt withdrawal, “The Tank” effectively bolstered the power of the Penry camp.

Now, to the great chagrin of the Republican base and Democrats everywhere, Coloradans get the throwback cliched “Platform for Prosperity” where they could have had a real primary race, featuring The Tank colorfully pushing McInnis to the right at every turn.

For those not yet initiated, the platform declares that the new McInnis army will “create a leaner … government” in Colorado. Yet in a year, Colorado may well be the leanest state government in the country. The McInnis GOP will also “work together, tirelessly, to restore the economic security that has been taken from families all over Colorado.”

Read it and weep.


November 2009


Colorado has fallen on hard times. We’ve seen our state economy hemorrhage jobs at the fastest pace since the 1940’s, and watched as personal incomes have declined more sharply than at any time since the 1950’s.

Bill Ritter and the Democrat-controlled Legislature responded by imposing massive increases in taxes and fees, broadly increasing the state payroll – despite an alleged “hiring freeze.” They have embraced an agenda that has increased the cost of doing business in Colorado, driven investment out of our state, and killed jobs.

Coloradans can’t afford another four years of Gov. Ritter’s failed policies. Republicans have better ideas, centered on common sense, innovation, respecting our taxpayers and businesses, and keeping government in check.

We believe that big government breeds small ideas. But smaller government gives citizens the freedom to breed big ideas.

Fortunately, voters will have the opportunity in 2010 to end the Democrat Party’s monopoly on power in Colorado and to restore checks and balances to an out-of-touch — and out-of-control — state government.

As Republican officeholders, and citizens seeking public office, we will restore faith in our government and prosperity to our state by putting forward the following Platform for Prosperity.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Returning Colorado to Prosperity

We will use our voices, votes and veto pen to improve and transform Colorado’s business climate so that our state is again a leader among the states.

We will:

• keep Colorado a low-tax state;
• put a top priority on investing in physical infrastructure (roads, bridges and water systems) and our human infrastructure (higher education and workforce training);
• pro-actively promote and encourage business investment and expansion in key Colorado job sectors;
• oppose unreasonable regulations, fees and business mandates;
• oppose efforts to weaken Colorado’s medical malpractice or construction defects tort protections;
• repeal the Ritter Administration’s executive order unionizing state government;
• appoint “pro-jobs” leaders to key government regulatory and oversight bodies.

Restoring Common Sense to Colorado’s Budget

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to restore fiscal common sense and respect for Colorado’s taxpayers. We will:

• oppose the systematic campaign of Democrats to increase taxes, significant fees, levies and surcharges without a vote of the people;
• restore the cap on state spending, and, until it is restored, oppose – and veto — spending above an annual 6 percent increase;
• oppose those who would use Colorado’s current budget challenges as a pretext to weaken taxpayer protections in the Constitution or in statute;
• support the creation of a Rainy Day Fund that will cushion the effects of economic emergencies, but will not allow politicians to get access to merely fund pet projects.

Reforming Government and Challenging the Status Quo

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• undertake a comprehensive review of state government to identify and eliminate waste, fraud, excess and abuse, freeing up dollars to spend on core areas that benefit the economy;
• conduct an evaluation of the state’s boards, commissions and task forces and look for ways to achieve savings through consolidation.

More Energy, More Jobs: A Comprehensive Energy Policy

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• support legislation, and revisions to state rules, that will promote the responsible development of all sources of energy, including wind, solar, hydroelectric, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power;
• appoint individuals to key energy regulatory bodies who view Colorado’s energy resources as a strategic asset that, in balance with protecting the environment, can produce more energy for America and more jobs for Colorado.

Controlling Health Care Costs for Families and Business

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to support patient-driven reforms to contain the growing costs of healthcare — a growing burden on patients, their families, employers and our economy.

We will:

• support portability of coverage from job to job;
• reinstate the Owens-era enforcement of the Constitutional ban on taxpayer funding for organizations that provide abortions;
• support giving patients the right to purchase health insurance across state lines;
• oppose efforts to roll back Colorado’s landmark medical malpractice protections;
• oppose any effort to bring single-payer healthcare to Colorado.

Improving Education and Expanding Opportunity

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• protect the rights of home school families;
• expand school choice in the form of charter schools, magnet schools and for at-risk students in under-performing public schools;

Defending Citizenship and the Rule of Law

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• support a mandatory workplace verification mechanism that will assist employers in ensuring that their employees are in the United States legally;
• oppose so-called “sanctuary” policies, which violate state and federal law;
• work to block the award of state grant dollars to any local government enacting such a policy.

Pushing Back Against Growing Federal Power

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to push back on a federal government that is too big, too intrusive, and all-too-eager to seize power from the states. We believe in protecting states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment. We oppose future “stimulus” bills or other federal spending bills that serve no valid economic purpose and only add to the federal deficit.

Keeping Communities Safe

We will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to keep communities and families safe.

We will:

• end the Ritter Administration’s early release program for criminals;
• oppose any legislation that would curtail the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms;
• support far tougher sentences for child sex predators;

Restoring the security that comes with a quality job is at the core of our Platform for Prosperity.

Governor Ritter and the Democrat-controlled Legislature have chosen a path, in these troubled times, that has ignored basic economic and fiscal responsibility and cost this state hundreds of jobs every day. They have turned back the clock and returned to outmoded and discredited tax-and-spend policies.

With this Platform for Prosperity, we will restore Colorado to its leading role as an innovator and job-creator among the states. We will create a leaner and more efficient government. We will expand job opportunities for our youth so that they will stay in Colorado and not be forced to pursue opportunities in other states. We will work together, tirelessly, to restore the economic security that has been taken from families all over Colorado.

Together, we will pursue one central truth: A good day starts with a good job.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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