On October 11, the Rocky Mountain News published an Associated Press article examining the progress made on Gov. Bill Ritter's (D) "Colorado Promise" campaign platform, but omitted from its version a passage that contrasted Ritter's long-term goals with the commitments he made in his State of the State address in January, and the progress on those more immediate goals.
In its October 11 edition, the Rocky Mountain News published an Associated Press article about the progress made on Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter's "Colorado Promise" campaign platform but omitted a lengthy passage that contrasted the long-term goals of that document with more immediate commitments Ritter made in his January State of the State address and that noted the governor's progress in meeting the goals he laid out in January. A longer version of the article published by The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction included the AP's list of Ritter's accomplishments to date as well as the AP's reporting that "[o]f 28 commitments the governor made in January, Ritter kept 18 and 10 are pending, according to lists compiled by the AP and a separate list the governor's office is keeping."
Both the News' and the Daily Sentinel's versions of the AP article quoted House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker) as criticizing Ritter for establishing commissions to study long-term problems and quoted Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer explaining Ritter's approach in two such areas, education and health care reform. The News, however, did not include passages providing Dreyer's further explanation about the "long-term goals" regarding Ritter's policy agenda and likewise omitted a list of "promises kept" by Ritter, including "creating a Clean Energy Fund to help transfer technology to the marketplace" and "set[ting] up a multistate drug purchasing pool to lower costs."
From the Associated Press article "Clock ticks on promises made by Ritter during campaign," as published October 11 in the Rocky Mountain News:
Bill Ritter was elected governor on promises that included halving school dropout rates, increasing renewable energy use and providing health insurance for 790,000 Coloradans without raising taxes.
Ritter's deadline for cutting the high school dropout rate to 15 percent is 2016. Doubling renewable energy use: 2020. Health insurance: 2010, though the state has taken only token steps to increase coverage and Republicans say the state can't afford it.
In his 54-page campaign platform, "The Colorado Promise," Ritter vowed in bold letters to "set clear goals and objectives to let voters grade my administration on its performance." He and fellow Democrats have formed at least 25 new or expanded commissions to study solutions.
But House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said there are few benchmarks in the Colorado Promise by which to grade the governor, who took office in January. Setting up commissions, he said, doesn't count.
"We can't study forever," May said. "The people of Colorado sent us here to do a job. They expect us to be more than just students of the problems they face each and every day when they pay their health care bills, send their children to school and drive to work in the morning."
Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dreyer, said the governor set a deadline of 2016 on his education goals because he wanted time to tackle issues that have been decades in the making. He said Ritter set up a commission to study health care because he wanted everyone involved to participate.
"It was an acknowledgement of the realities of trying to effect change in major policy. You cannot turn the ills of our education system on a dime.
"Health care is another policy issue that isn't something that is reformed overnight. It would be irresponsible to promise a quick fix on comprehensive health care. The challenge by 2010 is to figure out what that looks like and how to accomplish it."
Dreyer said the governor has made progress on his long-range goals, getting several important bills passed this year that reduced prescription drug costs and provided more money for preschools and holding a higher education summit to study ways to increase public funding over the next 10 years. [emphasis added]
The News did not publish the last part of the AP article, which reported: "Dreyer emphasized that the Colorado Promise consists of long-term goals. A better way to measure the governor's performance, he said, is by promises Ritter made in his state of the state address in January." The News also did not publish a passage that noted, "Of 28 commitments the governor made in January, Ritter kept 18 and 10 are pending according to lists compiled by the AP and a separate list the governor's office is keeping."
From the AP article "Gov. Ritter's promises aren't term-limited," by Steven K. Paulson:
Dreyer emphasized that the Colorado Promise consists of long-term goals. A better way to measure the governor's performance, he said, is by promises Ritter made in his state of the state address in January.
Of 28 commitments the governor made in January, Ritter kept 18 and 10 are pending, according to lists compiled by the AP and a separate list the governor's office is keeping.
Promises kept include adopting a Western Governors Association's resolution calling for a 20 percent improvement in the efficiency of electricity use by 2020, and creating a Clean Energy Fund to help transfer technology to the marketplace. For health care, Ritter set up a multistate drug purchasing pool to lower costs and provided more money for mental health services for people in jail.
He also set a 2008 goal for meeting federal benchmarks of immunizing 80 percent of Colorado children -- a goal the state had already met.
Still pending: To streamline the bureaucracy, put together a list of transportation priorities by December, compile a list of public education reforms due in November and get recommendations from a task force on ways to reduce the cost of higher education.
Ritter's only major first-term commitment concerns health insurance. A second term would run to 2014.