Romney-Ryan bus tour rolls through Grand Junction

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

The four-day tour kicked off day three Monday morning with a stop at the Grand Junction Business Incubator Center.

The message the campaign is spreading statewide is, in a word, jobs.

Romney and Ryan aren't on this bus tour, but local Republican officials and dozens of supporters came out to rally the cause.

They say Romney deeply cares about those on the Western Slope and sees enormous potential in the Grand Valley.

"I've done oil exploration in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. Currently, I'm unemployed," said Sean Hunt, who moved to Grand junction from Chicago in 1987. "When I was at the Chicago library, I found a map of raw resources, and Grand Junction was the place."

But decades later, extracting and getting permits on federal land is a major obstacle.

"We have enough natural resources here, we can be energy independent, we don't need to rely on anybody," said Hunt.

The Romney-Ryan Colorado bus tour is focusing on less government regulation.

"It'll bring more jobs because it will allow for more drilling and more technology advancement," said Jack Hays, who has been involved in oil and gas on the Western Slope for more than 30 years.

He has employed more than 500 people.

"We've got a tremendous amount of resources here, oil shale for example; there's a tremendous amount of oil shale here," said Hays.

Officials say one drilling rig creates 250 jobs. Colorado had more than 100 rigs in 2007. Now there are roughly 30 statewide.

"What that does is creates more bureaucracy, and that slows down the entire process, and I really truly believe that Mitt Romney is going to be able to hold that back because most of that is coming from the federal level," says Republican State Representative Ray Scott.

And while Hunt continues to look for work, he hopes the current administration will remove the chokehold on the energy industry.

"It's cronyism like I've never seen before, and I'm from Chicago. And I have never seen cronyism like this. It's ridiculous. It needs to stop," added Hunt.

Officials say the Romney campaign is putting together an energy task force which will include local oil and gas experts. The tour also made stops in Gunnison, Canon City, and Colorado Springs Monday.

The tour kicked off Saturday in Fountain, Colorado.


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