Heath, Thiebaut stump in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Heath, Thiebaut stump in Edwards

Cliff Thompson

With three days until the election, the Heath campaign has distilled its message into five words: “Let’s get Colorado moving again.”

At stake are the 20 percent of undecided voters who could swing the vote to Heath’s side.”We’re at a crossroads now. We can’t afford four more years of falling behind,” Heath said. “My campaign for governor is about the economy, jobs, health care and education.”

Heath said his opponent has failed to deliver on promised transportation projects, and has turned an $800,000 state budget surplus into a $2.3 billion shortfall in the last 18 months.

“You almost have to do everything wrong to make that happen,” quipped Heath. He said Owens is aiming at either the U.S. Senate or even for U.S. vice president.

Heath criticized Owens’ stance on education.

“He vetoed kids programs,” Heath said. “The very thing you’d expect to be the last thing to veto.”

“I’ve had great coaching from my son (Vail resident) Joel on the importance of tourism in the state,” said Heath.

“You’re not going to hear me say “All of Colorado is burning,” when only 1 percent is.”

He was referring to Gov. Owens’ televised exclamation during the height of last summer’s fire season, when the 137,000 acre Hayman Fire approached the Denver suburbs and destroyed several hundred buildings. The proclamation stifled state tourism.

He noted that, under Owens, Colorado has gone from third nationally in jobs created to last.

“Why should this great state be last in anything?” he asked.

Running mate Thiebaut, the term-limited state Senate Majority Leader provoked a few chuckles from the 50 or more party faithful gathered in the rain and snow in Edwards outside the Bookworm book store.

“I’ve served with Bill Owens in the House and Senate,” said veteran legislator Thiebaut. “He’s mad at teachers and teacher’s unions and he’s taking it out on children. The only thing he’s done for education is to create a test. We need to get B.O. out or Colorado.”

Thiebaut hammered Owens’ health care and economic policy. “His policy is “don’t get sick,'” he said. “Our economy is in a tailspin.”

This is the first gubernatorial election where candidates have been allowed to pick a lt. governor. Accompanying the candidates were their families. Thiebaut and his wife, Mary Ann, have 15 children, aged 9 to 34.

In an acknowledgement of local Democratic heavyweight, and part-owner in the Sacramento Kings basketball team, Thiebaut said, “We’re hoping one of our kids will grow up to be very tall and play for the KIngs.”

Thiebaut noted the state economy under Democrat Gov. Roy Romer and the national economy under President Bill Clinton were strong before Republicans Owens and Bush were ushered into office. He uttered Harry Truman’s aphorism:”If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic.”

Heath summed up his campaign: “We can make a huge difference. We’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

Heath’s bus tour moved to Frisco and then on to Denver, where he will make more campaign stops in the remaining days before the election.

Polls show Owens has lost 13 points, and remains at 52 percent; while Heath is still in the mid 30s, with 20 percent of voters undecided.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com

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