GREELEY — Republican Gubernatorial candidates Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson gave a couple dozen Greeley women an up close and personal view of their stances on topics affecting Coloradans and what they will do if elected governor.
Mitchell and Robinson along with Cynthia Coffman were invited to speak to the Republican Women of Greeley, Coffman had to cancel.
The two men took advantage of the small group in advance of a debate scheduled for Monday evening at the University of Northern Colorado. Robinson was scheduled to attend the debate but Mitchell was not.
Although they both confirmed they are prolife, less government, want to focus on improving K-12 education and fixing the health care system, they focused on different topics for the most part.
Mitchell called himself the only true businessman and outsider in the race, answering questions about rumors he did not vote for Donald Trump.
“That is true,” he said. “I voted for a third-party candidate. It wasn’t anything to do with Trump’s agenda, I completely support the president. It was about his leadership style. I just couldn’t get past his leadership style.”
He said he’s never hidden who he voted for but finds irony in who keeps bringing it up.
“My opponents love to bang me over the head about that,” Mitchell said. “I guess I have to be George Bush’s cousin or Mitt Romney’s nephew to run for governor. They are all quick to tell me how I didn’t vote for Trump, when their families were all part of the “Never Trump” movement. I think it’s kind of ironic.”
Robinson is the nephew of former Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Walker Stapleton is cousin to President George W. Bush.
Mitchell, who initially pumped $3 million of his own funds into his campaign, calls himself an independent thinking conservative, pledging not to take money from special-interest groups. He outlined several of his main ideas.
“You can’t make this stuff up, but Hickenlooper has created more than 120,000 pages of rules and regulations,” Mitchell said. “Most of it is adversely affecting small businesses.”
Mitchell pledged to review those regulations and wants to roll back at least 100,000 pages.
“If a regulation truly is not about public safety, it’s gone,” he said.
He’s also against incentives to businesses like Amazon. He said he would give incentive money to economically challenged communities.
Mitchell wants to invest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology programs and close the gap between rural and urban school districts.
He also plans to dismantle the Colorado Health Exchange and divert the $600 million in state costs to block grants for nurse practitioner and physician assistant clinics.
“We now have 3 percent unemployment in Colorado and 26 percent of Coloradans are on Medicaid,” he said. “That’s more than 1-in-4 Coloradans on Medicaid. “Basically, any Coloradan, urban or rural, rich or poor could access high quality primary care without the need for insurance in an affordable and accessible way.”
Mitchell promised to cut off state funding to any city that became a sanctuary city and refused to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. He wants legislation to hold elected officials liable if they don’t cooperate with ICE.
“We can’t be a state where we only enforce the laws we like and disregard the laws we don’t like,” he said.
On gun control, Mitchell said although he supports the rights of the kids to protest, he doesn’t support gun control, and will support a full repeal on magazine limits, adding the real problem with school shootings is being overlooked.
“I think they are misguided, but I think they are courageous kids,” he said. “I would create a task force of non-politicians, of the experts on mental health, behavioral therapists, FBI profilers. Let’s look at privacy laws. Let’s put everything on the plate. A shooting should be stopped before they ever happen. Let’s strengthen our schools so that they are no longer soft targets.”
Robinson, who was celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary, joked with the crowd about stumping on the big day.
“I get to spend it with you,” he said with a laugh.
He laid out problems with the Democrats’ platform as well as his three priorities if elected.
He said he recently watched the movie “Darkest Hour” about Winston Churchill and World War II and realized its theme is relevant today.
“It’s really more about leadership and courage” he said. “It’s remarkably relevant. (Democrats) are not happy with sanctuary cities, they want Colorado to be a sanctuary state. They are not happy with the energy industry and the way it is. They want to have all renewables in Colorado in 20 years. There is no way you can do that without a massive dislocation of our economy at a high cost to families.”
“They think TABOR is a problem, that we cannot solve our problems in Colorado without blowing up TABOR and raising our taxes. This is what they believe, and they are just dead wrong on these issues.”
He said it takes courage to stand up to them. If elected, he promised to continue those fights and focus on three other major issues.
“And hold me accountable for these if I become governor,” he said.
Robinson said he would fix the roads, widening Interstate 25 and I-70 using $250 million a year in debt service.
“There is over $100 million in current bonds used for Fast Tracks that ends this year,” he said. “As well as opportunities to find savings. We can use public/private initiatives to be more effective in how we operate the [Colorado Department of Transportation]. I’ve heard what the people want, and it’s four lanes in both directions from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins with no tolls and no new taxes.”
He also pledged to fix what he called a broken education system.
“We need to do better at teaching our kids and getting them ready for the jobs of the future,” Robinson said. “We can integrate our schools with our universities and our employers.”
He also said he’d focus on smaller government.
“We have to make government work for us,” Robinson said. “Colorado state government is now the largest in the history in Colorado, almost $30 billion this year. It is about being more efficient and more effective in making government work, and I believe I have that experience to come in and solve those problems.”