McInnis speaks

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— Being a Democrat, Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger took a verbal beating at the Routt County Republican's Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night.

Guest speaker U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, jokingly said he couldn't believe Monger showed up, but it warmed his heart to think the county commissioner might be a Republican at heart.

"This is a good bunch of people," Monger said. "I didn't feel like I was getting bashed. This is just good camaraderie."

Routt County Republicans filled the dining room of the Old Town Pub in a mostly relaxed environment to hear from their elected Republican officials and honor the first Republican, Abraham Lincoln.

McInnis began his speech before dinner.

"This is a tough job at the state level," McInnis said. "We get requests for $5 billion a day from people who want money for the kids or money for education or this or that. The problem with that is, they are all true. Most of the time, we don't make decisions between good and bad. We make decisions between good and good."

He said Republicans were leading the country in a positive direction.

"I think we have a dream team managing this country, starting with President Bush," McInnis said. "He knows what direction this country is going in."

McInnis spoke out against war protesters and Hollywood stars who talk about international politics.

The bumper sticker on the back of McInnis' truck reads: "America: love it or leave it." He said it is imperative for Americans to support American troops.

"These protesters saying 'we support our troops if they shoot their officers' are a disgrace," McInnis said. "More people are protesting President Bush than the biggest murderer in the world (Saddam Hussein). But they are in a minority.

"There is something right with the majority of America."

McInnis finished his speech by reading a letter written by a 19-year-old soldier in Iraq to his mother. The only thing he was afraid of, the soldier wrote, was people who don't understand the war.

Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, was also in attendance and spoke about the war and protesters.

"Everybody has the right to their own opinion," Taylor said. "That's what they're over there fighting for. But this is a just war.

"It is partially in response to 9/11, which was completely unprovoked. If we don't do these things now, what's going to be next?"

Taylor spent a year in Kuwait during the 1960s and said he got a first-hand glimpse of how people in that region think.

"They don't put a high value on life," he said. "Those countries are backwards compared to the United States. But by the time this is over, hundreds of thousands will see the light."

The dinner was followed by an auction, in which proceeds will go to help re-elect Republicans.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204 or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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