The Peak is prepared to say it — John Hickenlooper's honeymoon is officially over. There was a time when even Republicans in Colorado were afraid of criticizing his Excellency, but that time is long gone. You now can find critics of Hick's leadership, or lack thereof, of every political persuasion in Colorado. Even the media is getting in on it.
First, The Denver Post's Tim Hoover, in a retrospective on Hick's first year, trotted out politicos from across the political spectrum who slammed the Governor for his lack of leadership on the big issues.
Then Ed Quillen called down the thunder on Hick, taunting him for his inability to actually take a position on anything consequential.
And now there's this bombshell today from Western Slope legislators Rep. Laura Bradford (R-Collbran) and Rep. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) taking Hick to task for his inaction on energy development in western Colorado. From their Denver Post Op-Ed:
Gov. Hickenlooper hasn't demonstrated the leadership necessary to get bureaucrats in Denver and Washington, D.C., to recognize that we need jobs and economic security in western Colroado too.
Other states have shown through their own leadership that they can attract the investment and careers that responsible resource development drives. Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming are but three examples where our friends in the West are realizing the value of responsibly developing their natural resources. The difference is that, through their elected leaders, from governors to state legislators, these states have managed to pair the benefits of job creation and greater economic security with responsible environmental stewardship.[Peak emphasis]
The Roan has been mired in litigation and in-action for three years, since Ken Salazar took over the Department of Interior. Salazar has been an active opponent of drilling the Roan since his time in the Senate.
Hickenlooper, for his part, has done nothing to shake loose a political compromise on the Roan, deferring to the anti-drilling enviro-radicals that Ken Salazar has surrounded himself with.
Hick likes to pat himself on the back for the compromise over fracking fluid disclosure, but that minor victory won't create any jobs — which is what Coloradans actually care about.
As Mesa and Montrose counties were among the 17 Colorado counties certified to have over 19.5% unemployment, it is critical that work is done to improve the region's central economic engine — oil and gas development.
With limited drilling on the Roan Plateau capable of creating over 1,000 jobs and hundreds of millions in revenues for the state government, it is something Hickenlooper might want to stop hiding on.