Photo by Joe Moylan

Mitt Romney today in Craig: Obama 'out of excuses'

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Mitt Romney speaks to Craig

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Audrey Danner introduces Mitt Romney

Local officials, including a Romney relative in Moffat County, comment on today's appearance

Sherman Romney, Moffat County resident, area attorney, second cousin of Mitt

“I came out to support the next president of the United States. I think he is a great man and a great leader. We need a business leader in this country. We need someone who understands business. I think he’s the man. He knows how to balance a budget, he knows how to run a business, he will be able to run a country.

“It was so historic to have him here in Craig. I thought it was a great speech and I think he covered everything he needed to cover.”

Audrey Danner, Moffat County Commissioner

“I was honored to introduce him to northwest Colorado, so that we can talk about our plans for our local resources, animals and wildlife. Those are important for our federal government to know that we do have our local plans on the ground to protect our Sage Grouse, our energy…we do it right and we want to promote that.”

Terry Carwile, Craig Mayor

“It’s a historic day for downtown Craig and for Moffat County. In modern times, no candidate of this prominence has ever been to this community.

“I’m very proud of our community and I’m sure the governor felt like he received a warm welcome. This is the first event I have ever been to where the Secret Service was involved and I am very happy with the way city staff and law enforcement cooperated on the event.

“He said words that spoke to me that he does not want to see the industry burdened with regulations. Trapper, for all of the years I worked out there, was a very environmentally responsible company and I am sure the same can be said for Colowyo. All of that land out by Hayden was former coal mines and it has been reclaimed in better condition than before the mines started.”

Tom Mathers, Moffat County Commissioner

“It was awesome. It was very impressive. Right now, he is our salvation for Moffat County.

“He didn’t say anything specific about what he is going to do for energy, but I liked his comment about Obama being in favor of energy development as long as it is above ground.”

Tom Gray, Moffat County Commissioner

“I appreciate he cares enough about energy and natural resources to come here. I know it will be good for his campaign to show a community that has really been affected (by regulations).

“I appreciated his comments about education. I think our education system is a mess. We need freedom of choice in education, not for the teacher’s unions, but for the kids.”

“Our energy industry is not asking for favors, it’s just asking for a level playing field, which it hasn’t had. I don’t know exactly what he will do in regards to regulations, but I do believe he will give us a level playing field and that’s really all we ask.”

Chuck Grobe, candidate for Moffat County Commission

“It was great to have somebody of that stature come to Craig, to hear what our problems are first hand and visit us.”

Sacha Weis, Libertarian candidate for Colorado Senate District 8

“I don’t believe he can fix it (energy). I don’t believe either candidate (Romney or Obama) will do anything for our issues. I think we have too many regulations, which is crippling us. Go Gary Johnson.

“I would have been up closer if I didn’t have a job.”

Rick Barnes, candidate for Moffat County Commission

“We need him. If we don’t get someone in there who can turn the energy industry around we’re sunk. Craig is sunk, Moffat County is sunk, northwest Colorado is sunk, the state of Colorado is sunk and ultimately the whole United States is sunk. The regulations are killing us.”

Colorado House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner

“Mitt was just here, it was great turnout and the people of northwest Colorado are showing our next president that we need these jobs. Obama is against coal. He says he’s for it, but everything he has done is to help green energy.

“All he’s doing is over regulating underground minerals. At least Mitt is here to hear what we have to say, which I think is great.”

Craig residents react to Romney's speech downtown

The following are quotes from local residents who attended Mitt Romney's rally Tuesday morning in downtown Craig. About 2,000 people, or more by some estimates, attended the event to hear the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“I’m just here to see what it’s all about," said Michael Samuelson, 18, of Craig. "It’s a big opportunity for our town.”

“I’ve been a Republican forever, but I liked his stance on giving energy a chance. … I know it’s sad to see that people want to regulate our business out of business," said Jack Reed, 43, a Craig resident and Twentymile Coal Co. employee.

“It just strengthened my position that Romney’s not a Communist, he’s for the free market … and small business,” said Alan Switzler, 45, of Craig.

“We’re really excited he’s here. … It shows his willingness to pay attention to the little people, not just the big people," said Ron Schnackenberg, of Craig.

Additonal statements from Romney's speech

The following are segments from Mitt Romney's speech during his Tuesday campaign stop in Alice Pleasant Park in Craig:

“(Frank and Kerry Moe) spoke about the challenges that are being faced by the people here in Craig and that’s something I saw, and we said, ‘we got to come here and let you know that we care about what’s happening in Craig, we care about what’s happening in rural America, we care about what’s happening in middle America.' We want to bring help to the people who need help today”

“If you’re one of those that believes in something bigger than yourself and serves something bigger than yourself, then you qualify as part of the greatest generation.”

“I love the men and women of our armed forces and appreciate their sacrifice to this great nation. They give themselves to something bigger than themselves.”

“I can assure you that if I get elected, with your help I will make things better.”

“Now, the last four years have been a disappointment for the American people.”

“This man (President Obama) is out of ideas, he’s out of excuses, and in November we’re going to make sure and vote him out of office.”

Update — 10:04 a.m.

Luke Schafer, of the Colorado Environmental Coalition in Craig, has released the following statement concerning Mitt Romney's visit to Craig:

"Moffat County, Colo., has a long history of fossil fuel development, with several coal mines, a large coal-fired power plant and significant amounts of oil and gas development. It is also home to a National Monument, hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness lands, huge herds of big game, the last stronghold for greater sage grouse in Colorado and the last largely undammed tributary to the Colorado River.

"The argument that we can have development or conservation — not both — is a false choice. Development of our natural resources can happen in a responsible manner that doesn’t unduly harm our air, water, wildlife and quality of life. To think otherwise is a defeatist attitude contrary to the custom and culture of communities like Craig, Colo.

"However, non-extractive industry jobs deserve the same degree of attention as well. Moffat County, Colo., annually sees over $30 million in economic impact and over 300 jobs derived from hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.

"Coloradans don’t want to hear more rhetoric or false choices. We want our leaders to find solutions that ensure that our wonderful state can be enjoyed by future generations."

Update — 9:34 a.m.

Some statements from GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney today at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig:

"This president's policies have made it harder for America to get on its feet again."

"I want coal, gas, oil, nuclear, as well as renewables."

"I want to make sure we have a president who cares more about kids than he does the teachers' union."

"I want government that's an ally of business not an enemy."

"Coal equals jobs."

More photos, updates and videos coming. Stick with www.craigdailypress.com.

Update — 7:36 a.m.

Craig Daily Press reporters at today's Mitt Romney event in downtown Craig just caught up with two elected officials to get their opinions on the presidential candidate's visit.

"I think this is monumental, I really do," said Ray Beck, a Craig City Council member. "This is history in the making."

"I just want to see what he has to say and see where he's going to stand on the energy policy of Northwest Colorado," said Randy Baumgardner, a Republican state legislator representing House District 57. "Coal is a very important part of our economy here."

The state rep said he's encouraged by Romney's visit to Craig, a small community.

"It shows he's interested not only in the urban areas and cities, but also in rural Colorado," he said.

6:30 a.m.

Officials from the City of Craig and Mitt Romney’s campaign were out early this morning preparing downtown Craig for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s campaign stop scheduled for later this morning.

Romney is slated to speak at 8:30 a.m. in Alice Pleasant Park, located in the 500 block of Yampa Avenue. According to a spokesperson from the campaign, the former Massachusetts governor is expected to talk about energy and jobs during the stop, both key issues for Craig and Moffat County voters, according to the Colorado Mining Association.

The Romney appearance in the heart of coal country indicates that access to affordable energy and jobs are important issues in the 2012 Presidential election campaign, the association reported in a news release.

Northwest Colorado accounts for nearly 60 percent of the state’s coal production. Coal provides 68 percent of Colorado’s electricity. Colorado is the ninth leading coal producing state, and generates more than $130 million annually in federal, state and local royalties and taxes, according to the release.

“Colorado has seen firsthand the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s anti-coal policies,” Colorado Mining Association President Stuart Sanderson said in the release. “We need to be encouraging the use of this resource.”

Romney’s appearance in one of Colorado’s principal coal mining areas signals his interest in and support for rational policies that will enable America to reach its full potential. Communities like Craig that rely so heavily on the jobs that mining creates, and the energy consumers throughout Colorado who benefit from affordable electricity, look forward to hearing Governor Romney’s vision for America’s energy future, according to the release.

Visit www.craigdailypress.com throughout the day for updates of updates of Romney’s visit, including live updates, photos and video of Romney’s remarks at Alice Pleasant Park.

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