Jane Norton's introduction not too mavericky

Earlier this week, ex-Congressman Tom Tancredo said former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, then on the cusp of formally announcing her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, wasn't "ready for prime time" and was only running because she'd been urged to do so by Arizona Senator John McCain. Since the last politician McCain anointed was Sarah Palin, I expressed the hope that Norton would give the campaign a much-needed jolt of energy. But in the video above, posted on her site, she doesn't exactly come across as an electrifying personality. Seen for the most part in a faux-interview setting, she speaks softly and slooowly, delivering a blandified and sometimes clumsy version of current conservative talking points. According to her, "We really are on a precipice, or on a crossroads, or whatever you want to call it" -- words not likely to be written in marble on a federal monument anytime soon. Later, she says, "We can continue down a path of Washington demanding or seizing more and more control of our government," apparently unaware that the term "Washington" is used synonymously with "government" -- meaning, I suppose, that she's against the government seizing control of itself.

The campaign announcement speech she delivered yesterday has fewer awkward phrases, presumably because it was written in advance rather than delivered off the cuff. For the most part, though, it's standard boilerplate stuff, albeit with a few effective moments -- particularly when she personalizes the issues. At one point, she says, "Think about it. No family sits down at the kitchen table and says, 'Let's run up the credit cards. It will make us more prosperous.'"

She's right. I tried that, and it didn't really work. Read the entire speech below.

Jane Norton

Announcement Speech for the United States Senate

September 15, 2009

Thank you, Governor Owens. I appreciate your friendship and support.

And thanks to all of YOU for being here! It's great to see so many friends and familiar faces...thank you!

What a privilege to be here with my husband, Mike, and our children, Lacee and Tyler, our grand-daughter Gia, and my sister Judy. Thank you for being here.

You know, I feel so blessed. I have a wonderful family. I've had the privilege of serving two Republican Presidents and Colorado's greatest Governor. And private life has been good too! It's been my honor to be working in support of our extraordinary law enforcement community.

But over the last several months, I, like so many Coloradans, have become more and more alarmed about the direction our Nation is headed. At every turn, Washington's giant hand seems to be grabbing everything in sight:

Seizing control of our car companies... banks... insurance companies -- exploding the national debt -- and chipping away at individual liberty.

And now, the federal government is attempting a take-over of 17% of our nation's economy in the form of government-run healthcare.

They have unleashed a tidal wave of spending unprecedented in American history.

Billions for pork-barrel projects...

Trillions charged to the national credit card.

And when the bill comes due, who gets stuck with it? Our kids and grandkids. It's a bill they do not deserve and cannot repay.

Washington is mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's futures.

This is wrong.

Coloradans deserve better. And we can do better. That is why I have decided that I cannot and will not sit by and do nothing.

Colorado deserves a senator who will stand up to big government power grabs. Colorado deserves a senator who will stand up to the big spenders in both parties.

I believe a government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government that's big enough to take everything you have.

I believe that we the people control the government, not the other way around.

I believe families know how to spend their hard-earned money better than Washington does.

I believe, like our nation's Founding Fathers, that every human heart is endowed by our Creator with dignity and value that no one has the right to take away.

And I believe that America's rich gifts -- including the majestic landscape that graces our state -- are a stewardship worthy of our conservation and protection.

These are the principles that guide me. These are the principles I will fight for.

And so it is with great humility that I announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate from Colorado.

There are several fine Republican candidates in this race. The citizens of Colorado will be presented with real alternatives. And I look forward to earning your support one vote at a time.

As your Lt Governor I had the privileging of travelling to all 64 counties in Colorado, and I can't wait to get back out on the campaign trail. I believe we can win this Senate seat for the Republican Party. The time has come to put conservative Colorado values BACK in the U.S. Senate.

This is especially important to me, because Colorado has always been my home.

I was born and raised in Grand Junction, went to college in Fort Collins, taught school in Fort Lupton, had my children in Greeley, and now reside in Englewood.

I am 3rd generation Coloradan. My Mom taught school in Grand Junction and my Dad coached at Mesa Jr. College. Mom was born in Pueblo and my Dad is a North Denver boy. I don't have to look any further than my parents when it comes to naming who my heroes are. My Dad, Bus Bergman, served in the Marines Corp. during WWII, where he received the Bronze Star for heroism on Okinawa. My parents, who just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary, taught us to work hard, do what was right, and to treat everyone with respect.

I'm grateful for the sacrifices my parents' generation made for the cause of freedom. That's why when our federal government tells us they are going to "improve" healthcare by cutting Medicare by $500B -- it's just wrong.

I love Colorado and our great outdoors. As a life long skier and hiker, I'm reminded of what Will Rogers said of our beloved state: "Colorado," he said, "is a grand seat to see the world from."

That's how I felt about Colorado when I was privileged to serve as your Lt. Governor. I still feel that way.

As I've traveled across the state listening to what's important to people I've learned you can't be for jobs and against those who create them.

What Coloradans want are real jobs that provide real security for our families. The Democrats in Washington said all this stimulus spending would create jobs. It hasn't. It won't. And neither will raising taxes! Some Democrats in Washington say they intend to break their campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. Well, I oppose raising taxes on anyone. Especially during a recession.

We need strong and sensible economic leadership. Think about it. No family sits down at the kitchen table and says, "Let's run up the credit cards. It will make us more prosperous." Families know how faulty that reasoning is. It's time the government realized it too.

Here in Colorado, a billion dollars is still real money. But now "trillion" is the new measurement for spending in Washington. How can we force our children and grandchildren to climb that mountain of debt? How can we in good conscience do that to them? What kind of legacy will that leave to the next generation?

Well, I can tell you this: I will never be a rubber stamp for irresponsible and reckless spending! And I will do whatever it takes to stop this Administration from hurting our families' economic futures.

I also believe the time has come to secure America's borders and end illegal immigration. At the same time we need to design a verifiable temporary worker program that helps Colorado's agricultural and hospitality sectors. We have the technology to make sure employers only hire those with valid temporary worker visas. And that their stay is truly temporary. We can do this in a way that is fair and sensible. And I believe we must.

Finally, protecting our economic health involves protecting our families' health.

I've devoted my life to the field of health. President Reagan asked me to serve as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Governor Owens appointed me Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, where I managed a staff of eleven hundred and a budget of over $280 million dollars. And as Lt. Governor, I worked with small businesses across the state to make health insurance more affordable.

And so these are the principles I'll fight for when it comes to health care reform:

We need to reduce the cost of health insurance by promoting choice and competition.

We need to provide tax equity so that people who buy their own insurance receive the same tax benefits as those who get insurance through their employers.

We need real tort reform that limits expensive and frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs.

And we need to tell President Obama and Senate Democrats that cutting

Medicare for seniors as a way to pay for healthcare reform is immoral and wrong. And as the daughter of two Medicare recipients, I will not allow this to happen.

And that is why I look forward to taking our fight directly to the floor of the U.S. Senate with positive, forward-looking, Colorado values.

I am pro-small business and entrepreneurship...





and pro-Colorado.

This campaign is about you, your children, and your grandchildren. It's about the future of Colorado and of America. It's about ensuring that our children and grandchildren inherit an America that is strong, prosperous and free.

I'm asking for your support and for your vote. We're grateful for the support we're receiving from Coloradans from across the state, and from all walks of life.

So, I'm asking you to join our cause. Mobilize your digital army through Facebook, Twitter, and by signing up on our campaign website at:

Now is the time and this is the place.

It's time to get moving!

It's time to fight!

It's time to win!

It's time to bring Colorado values back to the United States Senate.

God bless you. And God bless America.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts