Editor’s note: this is one in a series of guest op-eds by candidates for Colorado Governor written for CompleteColorado.com.
Voters are interviewing candidates now for the job of Colorado’s chief executive. They want to know what I’ll do to make life better for their families, how I will do it, and why I am the one who can get things done.
For example, our four-year high school graduation rate in 2013 was 78%, and among Hispanic males it was only 65%. A life-changing decision to drop-out of high school is tragic for a teenager – and costly in many ways for taxpayers. Part of the problem is a school model based on a 55-year old formula; our public education system is a commodity designed for the masses, rather than tailored for the individual. My plan provides more individualized teaching with on-line learning and global classrooms and is phased in over one, three and five years.
We don’t need John Hickenlooper’s $1 billion a year tax hike to fix our schools. We can pay for a new approach to education by leveraging our energy resources. Every time a well is drilled, it generates $500,000 in taxes to Colorado in the first year. Half of that goes to education in the county and the rest goes to the state. Yet, executives at some energy companies tell me they’d rather risk doing business in a politically unstable country like Mozambique than deal with Colorado regulations that foster an uncertain business climate. Streamlining government by reducing regulatory burdens on business would increase productivity, reduce taxes, and allow us to innovate our education system for higher graduation rates and happier families. It’s all related.
Colorado is blessed with many natural advantages. We have a strong and sustainable agricultural industry and an abundance of diverse energy resources balanced by tourism to protect our environment. We have advanced biotech, aerospace, telecom and healthcare sectors. Our prominent military bases and installations have promoted Colorado as a new home for technologically-savvy veterans and retirees. Most important, we have a commitment to education and a highly educated workforce.
So why isn’t Colorado doing better for its people?
We have what we need to do well, but the same old kick-the-can-down-the-road strategies aren’t working.
Voters in the country’s top performing states have chosen a conservative businessman as their governor: Energy-leading North Dakota twice-elected conservative businessmen. Job-booming Florida elected a health care executive. Manufacturing hub Michigan hired a conservative businessman and became a Right to Work state. Massachusetts and Indiana are similar, compelling examples.
I am not a career politician; I come from the business world where we get things done, not just talk about it. My background includes 30 years in the healthcare industry as an engineer, sales professional, executive and consultant. I’ve earned a reputation as an innovator (that was my actual job title) building teams of bright, creative people to get things done. I’ve managed hundreds of people and operating budgets of hundreds of millions and closed technology transactions valued at billions of dollars. I may be the only candidate for governor who has actually read the entire Obamacare legislation, and I have a plan to fix that, too.
Success in business relies on all parties feeling they benefit. I know we can adopt best business practices for a cost-efficient government that truly serves our people.
I am not naive about how public finance or politics works. Aside from years in business interacting with government to build entities that created good jobs, I spent a session as an aide to a member of the Joint Budget Committee working with Republicans and Democrats to get things done for Coloradans. Currently, I serve as chairman for the Adams County Republicans.
People have lost trust in our government, and even worse, they believe politicians don’t trust them. I believe that people who can lead have a duty to offer their skills and expertise to build trust and a better society. That’s why I want to serve.
I ask for your vote as you make your choice in the Primary Election on June 24. Learn more at SteveHouseforGovernor.com.
Steve House is a Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado.