AM Colorado, Greg Brophy, October 16, 2013

Station:   KFKA, 1310 AM

Show:      AM Colorado

Guests:    Brophy


Date:       October 16, 2013

Topics:     Deferred Action, In-state Tuition, Illegal Immigrants, DREAM Act, Nathan Dunlap, Death Warrant, Death Penalty, Primary Election, November 2014, CEO, Legislature, Water Policy,  Dirty Dozen Fees, Northern Integrated Supply Plan (NISP), Oil and Gas Rules and Regulations, Bill Ritter, Gun Laws, Gun-Control, Gun Safety, Senate Bill 10-01, PERA, Solvency, Amendment 66, Income Tax Increase, Two-Tiered, Economics, Incentives, Small Business, Back Fill, General Fund, K-12 Education, Obamacare, Medicaid, School Finance Reform, Senate Bill 213, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Denver, Aurora Public Schools, Rural Schools, Two-Track Visa System, Citizenship, Work Visa

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CO-HOST TOM LUCERO:  Devon, we have got a guest in studio with us, State Senator Greg Brophy.  He is not only a state senator, he is one of four announced candidates for Republican – on the Republican side to hopefully be the standard bearer, and take the fight to Governor Hickenlooper in November.  Greg, how are you this morning?


CO-HOST DEVON LENTZ:  Okay, so, I’m going to dive right into everything.  There’s a number of candidates running on the Republican ticket right now for governor.

BROPHY:  There are.

LENTZ:  And you’ve decided to jump in.  Tell us what you’re hearing around the state, and what it is you’re going to do [if] elected as governor.

BROPHY:  Well, the people around Colorado are not at all happy with the legislature or our governor.  I’ve been all over the state – 33 counties already.  And of course, I’ve served the eastern plains for a decade, now, and so I’m in tune with what’s going on out there.  People are not happy with the direct ion that the state is going.  And they want a leader.  They want someone who is experienced in legislative matters.  And they want someone who is competent to run the state as the state’s CEO.  And that’s really why I’m running, and that’s what I bring to the race that nobody else brings:  a strong background in all of the issues in the legislature; you know, the big stuff like the budget and entitlement reform; and down to the important stuff that almost nobody else knows anything about, like water policy and the politics around water.  No one else in this race can probably even tell you what NISP stands for.  And I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Northern Integrated Supply Plan, and wanted to see those reservoirs get built as soon as possible.  And then, with that, I’ve been running my own small business for twenty-some-odd years, now.  I’m a farmer.  And I have successfully run a farm of my own on the eastern plains of Colorado, and managed big farms for other people for a long time before getting into politics.  So, I bring this package that nobody else brings.  And I’m telling you, the people of Colorado are ready for a new direction and a leader that they can count on, someone that they can trust.

LUCERO:  Greg, answer this question.  You talk about ten years of service in the state legislature. Talk about one, two, maybe three of your key legislative victories, your accomplishments that you can point to, that when you get out there and talk to the Republican base, you can say to them, “Look, I’ve got a proven track record.  This is what I am going to do as governor.”

BROPHY:  And I bring – what’s interesting is, you’ve got to remember, we’ve had a Democratic controlled legislature for almost my entire tenure down there, so most of what I’ve done is fight the good fight, knowing that I’m going to lose,  as I did on the gun control bills last year, and fighting against Bill Ritter’s onerous 0il and gas job-killing rules, from back in ’09.  Again, [I] led the fight on that because oil and gas is so important to eastern Colorado.  My district, my neighbors all work in the oil and gas industry.  Fighting against the Dirty Dozen tax increases. Again, leading the battle and doing most of the national news shows on all three of those issues.  And so, mostly what I’m doing from a conservative perspective, is standing up for our values  and making that case to the middle of Colorado that our plan for the state is better.  You know, we want more freedom, less government, lower taxes, and I’ve been standing up there making that case.  Now also, I think the middle of Colorado is looking for a leader who can actually solve real, identified problems.  And I’m the only one in this race who has a record of doing that.  I worked with the Democrats to solve the real problem that PERA faced of going into what they call the ‘death spiral’.  We were going to be insolvent, until we passed Senate Bill 01 in 2010.  Now, that didn’t solve the problem outright, but at least it put PERA on a path where  it might become solvent some day.  If we hadn’t passed that bill, we would have definitely been on the path to insolvency, without any question.  Everybody knows that now.  You can actually run – now, you can run the counter-factual, because the numbers are what they are, and PERA would have, everything else being equal that has happened since 2010, PERA would have been completely out of money here in about 20 years.  As it is now, they may or may not get back on the path to solvency.  So, I have this record of also working with people on issues like that on an air quality issue, where we had to either solve a air quality problem in Colorado, or let the federal government solve it for us.  And, you know, some of the Democrats hid under their desks and just threw bricks on the issue – voted ‘no’.  I tried to be the statesman and get involved and make the solution as palatable as possible.   So I have that record, of standing up for our conservative values, and also working with other people to solve problems  that truly have to be solved.

LENTZ:  Okay, so let’s dive into PERA and Amendment 66.  This is a huge tax increase, and somebody –

LUCERO:  Income tax increase!

LENTZ: –yes, that decided that you’re considered rich in the state of Colorado if you make more than $75,000 you’re going to have a higher tax number than you are if you make less than that.  So, there’s still a 50/50 out there right now that could get passed.  Address how you feel about that if it does pass.

BROPHY:  Well, let’s hope it doesn’t pass.  I am adamantly opposed to Amendment 66 and have just written an op-ed to hopefully have it placed in The Denver Post and around the state, now that ballots are about to go out, laying out a clear position against Amendment 66.  It’s bad – it’s bad economics.  And it’s bad policy.  You know, everybody understands the economics of it, I think, if you know economics and incentives:  punishing, you know, two income families.  Because a lot of two income families make more than $75,000 a year.  They have a lot of expenses, too.  So, we’re going to punish them for that.  We’re going to punish small businesses for having a good year, making more than $75,000.  We’re going to punish you, and send a message to entrepreneurs across the country that Colorado doesn’t want you here, because if you grow your business to where you’re making more than $75,000 a year, we’re going to tax you punitively compared to other people who are making less than that.  So that’s bad from an economics perspective.  I think it’s bad for schools, because I see it as a new scheme that significantly favors Denver and Aurora over most of the rest of the state.  It sets a new baseline of funding that significantly favors Denver and Aurora at the expense of a lot of rural counties, like where I live, and Douglas County and Jefferson County, where they actually put a lot more money into the tax than their schools get back out of it.  And this new baseline that is set, will — the next time there is a recession, will end up harming the rural schools and Douglas County more than, say, Denver and Aurora.  Because I see this as a sugar high.  They’re promising this billion dollar tax increase, but the next time there’s a recession and revenues come in below what they had been before and we have to start making cuts, well, under the existing system, Amendment 23 mostly protects fudning for K-12.  Under this new scheme, it doesn’t protect funding for K-12 at all.  It says all that we’re guaranteed is forty-three percent of the General Fund.  In a normal resession, they get about 50-55% of General Fund.  And then this billion dollar tax increase that is supposed to go to education, well, actually, the legislature can use the money – this is in the language – for any reforms deemed necessary for the benefit of kids in K-12—or P-12 education.  So, what they’re going to do is when this next recession hits and they need money to pay for Obamacare, the legislature will just determine that health – that kids have to be healthy in order to learn, and so they will shift a tremendous amount of this money, I believe, into funding Medicaid or the expansion of Obamacare in Colorado.

LUCERO:  Or the teachers need to have their retirement back pay filled up PERA in order to create a conducive environment for kids to learn in the classroom, so shoring up PERA is important to teachers’ health, which translates into happy classrooms for kids and learning.

BROPHY:  And the legislature– all they have to do whenever they pass whatever bill related to spending is just determine that this is an important matter for the education of kids in Colorado and then anything below that is fine under Amendment 66.

LUCERO:  Joining us in studio right now, State Senator Greg Brophy […].  Okay, because I have two questions.  I want to get into the dynamics of the race. But I do want to talk about an issue that you have had a change in position on:  your vote on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and the evolution and the thought process that you went through in order to get to the point where you are.  […]

[after the commercial break]

LUCERO:  […] [We’re] going to switch this segment,[to] talk about the dynamics of the race, but want to finish up, we were talking about education [during] the last segment.  Senator Brophy has been in the state legislature ten years, and he has gone through an evolution process on this issue with in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and I’m sure on a number of issues that –.  I know I’ve gone through that process on a number of issues over my time when I was an elected official at the University of Colorado for twelve years, that we grow and go through processes.  Greg, why don’t you explain to our listeners that process that you went through to come to the decision you did on this year’s vote.

BROPHY:  You bet, and I wrote about this and it’s posted on my Facebook page under Greg Brophy, if you go back and want to refresh your memory on that.  But what – it occurred to me, that what we have here are some people living in Colorado who are going to stay in Colorado, they’re not going anywhere else.  In many cases, their younger siblings, whether you like the policy or not, are citizens,  and their parents, also in many cases, have, over the course of the ten or so years that they’ve been here, managed to gain legal residency status.  So, if you recognize that here are some kids who have gone all the way through our school system who are staying here, the next question is, is there is a problem that needs solved:  What do you do to allow them this path towards prosperity?  Do you want them to be permanently impoverished, or do you want them to be able to lift themselves up by their boot straps?  And the best way to do that in the United States of America is through an education.  And so, you have a number of kids here who have the ability, the capacity to go to college.  And if they go to college, they forge a new path that benefits them, and the community in which they live.  If they don’t get a chance to go to college, they still stay here, but they most likely stay on a path of dependency:  milking cows, or driving tractors, and working for ten to fifteen dollars an hour, instead of thirty dollars per hour.  And that’s a completely different path. One of those is better for Colorado than the other.  They’re both jobs that need to be done, for sure.  But one of those paths, the path with education, is a path that benefits the student and the rest of Colorado.  I think that’s a good conservative argument for supporting in-state tuition for these kids that have gone through our school system here, but who came to the country illegally.  And I ultimately arrived at that conclusion after thinking about it for four or five years and finally decided last January to vote to support that.  [I was] one of three Republicans that voted for that in the Senate.  It passed 23-12 in the Colorado State Senate.  So that’s why I ended up being there:  you have a problem that needed a solution.  And I’m willing to work with people to solve real problems.  Because there is a real problem that some kids in the state of Colorado are locked into permanent impoverishment when there is a better path for them.  So, you know the kids down here in Kersey, for instance, a kid named Everado who was the valedictorian of his class and a great football player and baseball player, had a scholarship to go to college but couldn’t get in-state tuition.  He is now milking cows instead of going to college.

LENTZ:  Okay.  I guess maybe the piece of it that I am missing and where I don’t think this was a good idea is the fact that we are in a sense rewarding those parents that brought their kids here illegally, that the kid is still illegal, but now you have given them – are they allowed to – are they a “cash only”?  Are they applying for federal funds?  And here’s the other thing.  When they get their college education, they can’t legally go out and get a job.  Am I missing a little piece of information in there?

BROPHY:  And Devon, there are good arguments against this, but the last two aren’t.

LENTZ:  Okay.

BROPHY:  They don’t qualify for any of the federal funds, number one.  Number two, they can legally work in the United States of America after they graduate as long as they don’t have a criminal record.  That’s federal policy that – I don’t like the way it was instituted, but it is what it is, and if they’re under 30 [years old] they can get a green card to work as long as they don’t have a criminal record.

LENTZ:  This is part of the DREAM Act, then.

BROPHY:  Actually, this is what’s called ‘Deferred Action’.  It’s not part of the DREAM Act.  It was something separate.  But, so the answer is ‘yes’ they can legally go to work, above the board, after they graduate.  So, they will indeed benefit from this education, and again, all of Colorado will benefit for them gaining this education.  As opposed to being on a path of permanent dependency, they’re on a path to independence.

LENTZ:  So, how are they funding their tuition, then?

BROPHY:  Just like every other poor family here, they have to work really hard to do it.  It’s not like it’s a free ride. They just get the exact same deal – well, not quite , not quite as good a deal as every other kid from Colorado gets going to CU, CSU, or UNC.

LUCERO:  […] So, Greg, let’s assume that you are governor of the state of Colorado right now, because we are at that intersection right now talking about this issue.  This really is the federal government’s responsibility to deal with education […] [correcting himself] deal with immigration reform.  There is an immigration bill in Congress right now, sitting over in the House, it has cleared the Senate.  As governor of the state of Colorado, what position would you be taking on that?

BROPHY:  I would oppose that bill.  I would say, you know, first and foremost, secure the borders.  Make sure that we stop, as much as possible, the inflow of people coming into the country illegally.  And then second, and almost immediately, put in place a two-track visa system where people that want to come here to become Americans have a path to do that, that they can actually see, that takes away the incentive to cheat.  And another path – a visa path – that let’s people come to this country to work.  And again, it’s a relatively easy path to see, to take away the incentive of coming here illegally.  I look at this like a problem to solve, a little bit like a police chief in a small town.  If you’re having a lot of trouble with kids late at night, you enforce the curfew.  The kids that are inclined to not cause problems, will be at home.  The ones that are going to be problematic, there won’t be nearly as many of them for you to watch.  So, if you have a visa system that actually works, that allows people a pretty clear path to get here, to become an American or to get here to work, then you don’t have to watch so many people trying to sneak in to the country illegally.   That solves that problem, and I would be pushing for that as governor.  I think that’s a—you know, that’s an American way of doing things.  We want people to come here.

LUCERO:  […]  Let’s jump into the campaign.  How are things going right now?  And how can our listeners get involved with you if they want to?

BROPHY:  Things are going really, really well right now.  The people around the state of Colorado like the message that I give them, about being a proven conservative with the experience to lead.  You can check me out on the web at  Check us out on Facebook.  I have a “Greg Brophy for Governor” Facebook page with a lot of ‘likes’ and a lot of interaction on there.  You can always follow me on Twitter; I’m @SenatorBrophy.  We have been all over, up and down the Western Slope of Colorado meeting with people who feel like the Denver Governor doesn’t pay any attention to them.  And they are kind of shocked when I roll into Silverton, Colorado, for instance, and understand off-highway vehicle issues that are, you know, only a big deal in that part of the state.  And they’re just looking at me like, “How do you know this?” And I say, “This is what I do.  I actually like this.  I’m interested in all of the state of Colorado – not just Denver and the Boulder area.  But instead, I think it’s time to have a governor with Colorado values who likes the whole state and not just the Boulder-Denver corridor.

LUCERO:  Devon?

LENTZ:  What?  He answered my questions.

LUCERO:  Okay.

LENTZ:  I will respectfully disagree with the in-state tuition.  I just – I can’t.  I can’t agree with it.

BROPHY:  No, I understand.  There are credible arguments against it.  The notion that you are rewarding somebody for illegally behavior, is a good, credible argument.  It’s just that you have a problem that needs a real solution.

LENTZ:  And I agree.  It does.

BROPHY:  And I think you can be a border hawk, as I am, want a secure and closed border, but still recognize that we have a certain number of people in this state, who are always going to be here.  And so the next question is, “What’s best for the state of Colorado and [what’s best] for them?” And I think an education is an important step towards picking yourself up by your own boot straps and breaking that cycle of dependency and becoming a, you know, an independent –  fiercely independent Coloradoan.

LENTZ:  Absolutely.  You know, I do have one more question before we head out.  What are you going to do with Nathan Dunlap?

BROPHY:  What I’ll do — exactly what the governor should have done.  I would sign that death warrant on day one.  It’s not something I relish.  It’s just a job that has to be done.   And the fact that the governor punted on that was very disrespectful to the jury, to the people of Colorado who said they support the death penalty.  And by the way, the governor, when he ran for office, said he supported the death penalty.  And the only time that question comes up, it turns out that he doesn’t.  He misled us.  You know, something that’s nice about me, is that whether you agree with me on every issue or not, you know you can trust me.  I will not tell you one thing while I’m running for office and do something completely different down the road.  I’m a guy that you can trust, even if you don’t agree with me on every issue.  You know that I bring the experience to run the Capitol, and you know that I bring the experience as a businessman to be the CEO of the state of Colorado.  You don’t see that in anybody else that’s running for office, and I think that’s why the people in the state of Colorado, come next November, will be voting for me.  And we will put our state back on the path that we ought to be on, and not veering off to the left as Governor Hickenlooper has led us.

LUCERO:  […] Couple final thoughts, Greg.  You’ve always got a standing invitation, whenever you’re in Weld County, feel free to give us a heads up, come by the radio station.  One of the things we appreciate early on in the election cycle, is everybody wants to come on the radio and talk and be challenged.  We’re hoping that as we get into closer to the primary season, you’re still going to come on air with us.  And the last piece is, if and when you win in November, we’re calling out all the candidates running for governor, saying 1310 KFKA has got to be your first interview, with us, that morning – the morning after.

BROPHY:  I’ll be on.

LUCERO:  All right.  Excellent.  Greg, appreciate the time, and good luck with everything.  We’ll get your campaign information posted on the AM Colorado Facebook page, so if our listeners want to reach out, ask you questions, get involved with the campaign, they’ll know how to do that.  Good luck today, Greg.  Thanks.

BROPHY:  Thank you.

LENTZ:  Thank you.

LUCERO:  Now over to Troy with a look at sports.