Holtzman goes stumping at home | AspenTimes.com

Holtzman goes stumping at home

Donna GrayGlenwood Springs correspondent

The Colorado gubernatorial race came to Carbondale this past week as Republican candidate Marc Holtzman hosted a dinner to garner support for his campaign.The Republican lineup includes U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, as well as Democrat and former state Attorney General Bill Ritter and Holtzman, who lives in Missouri Heights. One of them will replace Gov. Bill Owens, who is being forced out of office by term limits.After dinner Thursday night, Holtzman spoke about local issues that have statewide implications.Chief among the next governor’s challenges will be managing the state’s water in the face of breakneck growth, Holtzman contends.”It ranks as the most important issue that will define and guide everything we do. The next governor has the unique chance to get it right,” he said.Any water transferred out its original basin or across the mountains must be mitigated and compensated for, he insisted. The state must also invest in more water storage, either through expanding existing reservoirs or building new ones.”This is an area where a pro-active governor can bring the stakeholders to the table. He is the only one who is in a position to earn the moral authority to be an honest broker,” he said.Holtzman also favors incentives to agriculture to encourage smarter and more efficient water use. “No user in Colorado should feel they should use it or lose it,” he said.One of Holtzman’s strongest campaign planks is illegal immigration. With illegal immigrants making up almost 10 percent of Colorado’s population, the state cannot afford to pay for their health care, education and, in some cases, incarceration. “It’s a huge burden economically,” costing the state about three-quarters of a billion dollars a year, he said.Much of the problem rests with the federal government. “I want to see the United States president enforce our borders and our existing laws,” he said.In Colorado, the governor can make sure employers understand the laws and their obligation to hire people who are here legally.Holtzman stressed he is not against guest worker programs, which grant work visas for a specific periods of time. Local ski areas use the program to fill their employee ranks during the ski season. “They’re needed to fill jobs in the valley,” he said.Holtzman is against granting illegal immigrants in the country amnesty, however. “It awards people for breaking the law,” he said.The son of Russian, German and Polish immigrants, he asserts too many people are coming into America for work, but have no interest in remaining here or assimilating into our culture.Rather, he would raise the quota for legal immigration to 1 percent of the population; that would allow about 3 million people into the country annually.Holtzman, who is seen as the party’s conservative candidate, sounded more like a moderate on the topic of energy development. Garfield County leads the state in natural gas development, and oil shale appears to be a target for commercial production within the next few years.As governor, Holtzman said he would put a policy in place to encourage industry and protect the state’s quality of life.”I call myself a conservationist,” he said. “I hold beliefs that are not mutually exclusive.”He admitted he’s heard about problems with methane contaminating ground water and wells drilled close to houses in the county. “We’ve got a great economic reservoir right underneath our feet. It would be irresponsible to take advantage of it by compromising what is great and unique about Colorado,” he said.And while he believes that businesses, for the most part, do the “right thing,” they also need reasonable parameters “to keep people honest.”

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