Colorado candidates cowboyed up this week, riding into the Colorado Cattlemen's Association annual convention in Pueblo to tout their ties to rural Colorado. And in the southeastern quadrant of the state, no topic causes more of a rural row than the proposed expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.
The Army has proposed using eminent domain to take hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchland -- in the same area where it already snatch more than a hundred thousand acres close to thirty years ago.
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"In the end, it's your property," gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper told land-owners concerned about the Pinon Canyon expansion. "So far as I am concerned, I will come down every time on the side of the ranchers. The reality is that what happens here sets a pattern for the whole state -- and in a funny way, the whole West."
Scott McInnis points out that he's the only candidate in the governor's race with roots in rural Colorado, "while my Democratic opponent is the mayor of the state's largest city." The former congressman, a fourth-general Coloradan, says he "will stand shoulder to shoulder with Colorado agriculture" -- and that includes defending the rights of willing sellers to peddle their land to the Pinon Canyon project.
McInnis "will willingly sacrifice southeastern Colorado to push a more federalized economy and put more private property in the hands of the federal government," charge opponents of the project. Read more about it on www.pinoncanyon.com --and then head to downtown Kim from 1 to 8 p.m. tomorrow for the Pinon Canyon Preservation Festival.