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Publish Date: 10/8/2006

Beauprez, Ritter go head-to-head for governor

DENVER — Each major-party candidate for governor is inviting Coloradans to make sure he delivers on his campaign promises.

For more than a year, Republican Bob Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter have left growing public-policy paper trails detailing what they’ve said they’ll do after winning state government’s top elective office.

One of the campaign themes used by Beauprez — a onetime dairy farmer, developer and community banker — has been “Real Experience. Colorado Values.”

“I’m going to focus on communicating an optimistic vision for Colorado’s future, grounded in my core values as a principled conservative,” Beauprez said in January.

Ritter, a former Denver district attorney, has assigned his package of proposals a theme he calls “the Colorado Promise.”

In part, “it’s the promise of a job that pays well, the promise of a quality education, the promise of affordable health care and affordable health insurance,” Ritter told the State Democratic Assembly meeting in May.

More recently, Beauprez and Ritter have decided to back up their political promises by issuing separate pledges.

In August, Ritter unveiled what he called his Colorado Opportunity Pledge, saying it sets goals that people can use to grade his administration’s performance.

“The citizens of Colorado should be able to hold their leaders accountable,” Ritter said. “They should know what the goals are and whether government meets them or falls short.”

In mid-September, Beauprez announced his own Colorado Accountability Pledge, featuring “action plans” for addressing such areas as health care, education, water supplies, energy and government efficiency.

“Our guiding principle is this: Those who aspire to lead this great state must accept responsibility for its future,” Beauprez said. “I’m inviting Coloradans to hold me accountable to get things done.”

Among Ritter’s Colorado Opportunity Pledge goals:

•Lifting Colorado from the bottom 10 states in the nation for child immunizations to the top 10 in two years.

•Working to provide health-care coverage for all Coloradans by introducing a legislative reform package within a year of taking office.

•Revamping Colorado’s transportation system and examining funding to solve the state’s biggest transportation needs, including the Interstate 70 mountain corridor.

•Getting more children into early-childhood education programs, “injecting renewed rigor and relevance” into kindergarten-through-12th-grade education, and keeping college affordable.

•Establishing Colorado as a national renewable energy leader in using such sustainable resources as wind, the sun and agricultural crops that can be used to produce biodiesel fuel and ethanol.

Meanwhile, among the plans in Beauprez’s Colorado Accountability Pledge are:

•Promoting “a patient-centered health-care delivery system that allows Coloradans the right to choose the health plans and health services ... best suited to their needs by reducing the mandates in insurance plans.”

•Relieving traffic congestion with “a transportation funding solution” that replaces the state’s gas tax with “a fair, equitable and sustainable funding source,” which Beauprez has suggested could be a sales tax.

•Providing parents more choice in educating their children, “whether it be public, private, charter or home schooling.”

•Pursuing “clean, affordable energy” by tripling the number of ethanol pumps in Colorado and promoting continued use of wind, biomass and solar resources.

•Implementing “a quick, affordable and accurate method” employers can use to ensure they’re not hiring illegal-immigrant workers, and then holding those employers accountable.

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