Bridges responses In response to questions from audience members, gubernatorial candidate Rutt Bridges said: He opposes federal energy subsidies. Alternative forms of energy such as wind power would be more viable if they didn't have to compete with petroleum and gas subsidies. He thinks cuts in prenatal care for indigent mothers, and to health care plans for children living in poverty, are foolish. They will cost society far more, in human and economic terms, in the long run. He thinks the key to job creation in Colorado is spending adequately on public education to ensure a highly trained work force and investing in the state's research universities. "If you're interested in economic development, education is at the core of the issue," Bridges said.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rutt Bridges said he drew one of his earliest lessons in politics from a flock of chickens he was responsible for while growing up in rural Georgia.
"When I was a kid, I raised chickens -- that was part of my job," Bridges said. "When the chickens laid eggs, we ate eggs. When the chickens stopped laying eggs, we ate chickens. That's kind of what you do in government," in terms of allocating scarce resources.
Bridges sat down with about a dozen people during a lunch at Cugino's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant on Monday in the midst of a "listening" tour of Western Slope cities. He is an early candidate for his party's nomination in 2006. Republican Gov. Bill Owens is not eligible for another term. Another early Democratic hopeful is former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter. Republicans who have announced their intention to run include Congressman Bob Beauprez and Mark Holtzman, president of the University of Denver.
Bridges told his audience he "absolutely" supports a pair of referenda slated for the fall election that would suspend taxpayer rebates for five years. The revenues freed up by the revenue would be used to fund public education, health care and state road and bridge projects.
Bridges said the Colorado economy has turned the corner and that support for "referenda C and D" is a matter of allowing state government to retain some revenues so it can restore services.
"Are we willing to invest what we need to invest to ensure our quality of life, our children's education and our roads are good?" Bridges asked.
Bridges, a venture capitalist who made his fortune developing software for the petroleum exploration industry, also founded a think tank called The Bighorn Center for Public Policy.
Bridges was blunt in saying he thinks the chances that referenda C and D will win approval from voters is less than 50 percent.
"Whether they pass or not, the next governor will have to be able to manage a tight budget. The budget is always going to be tight," Bridges said. "It's the taxpayers' money."
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