by Pam Zubeck
Gov. Bill Ritter's appearance at Fort Carson today to tout a program to help veterans find construction jobs drew barbs from Republican lawmakers, who said Ritter is anything but a friend to the military.
Ritter, a Democrat, was to sign a proclamation backing the "Helmets to Hardhats" program and tour a newly built soldier family assistance center at the post.
The Republican state lawmakers criticizing Ritter included Reps. Bob Gardner, Mark Waller, Larry Liston and Marsha Looper and Sen. Keith King, all from Republican stronghold El Paso County.
Gardner accused Ritter of having an "anti-jobs record" that will cost the state thousands of military and aerospace jobs.
"The Ritter record has sent a signal to the Pentagon and to private industry that Colorado doesn’t desire defense related jobs, or quality training facilities for our troops,” Gardner wrote in a press release.
They noted Ritter's support of a bill that bars the state from selling certain state land to the Army to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in the southern part of Colorado. The press release said Ritter's stance "is clearly causing the Pentagon to look to other states to locate other key military commands."
Waller accused Ritter of putting "narrow ideology ahead of economic common sense," which has victimized the El Paso County region's economic health.