Colorado’s Morning News, Doug Robinson, May 22, 2018

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Guests:    Robinson


Date:        May 22, 2018

Topics:     Walker Stapleton, Ballot Qualification, Petition Circulator, Signature Gathering, CO Secretary of State, Education, Transportation, Immigration, Smart Growth, Infrastructure, Broadband, Rural, Schools, Water, Messaging, Businessman, Legislation, Red Flag Bill, Armed School Employee, Pragmatic Conservative, Working Together, PERA (Public Employees’ Retirement Association), Mental Health, Marijuana, Responsible Growth, Money to the Classroom, Investment,  Funding & Fundraising

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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: [00:00:00] Just five weeks away from the June 26 primary for governor, and there are eight remaining candidates — four Republicans and four Democrats. Political analysts are calling this the most expensive state election in Colorado history. Over the next month we will be checking in with all eight of those candidates, and our first one — [to guest, Doug Robinson] you’re the very first one to talk to us since we know how this is all shaking out.


ZESBAUGH: [00:00:19] That voice: Doug Robinson, Republican candidate for governor. Are you sick of kissing babies and shaking hands yet?

ROBINSON: [00:01:16] No, that’s the part I love, actually. [laughs].

ZESBAUGH: [00:01:16] And you’ll do more of it this weekend, right? Memorial Day?

ROBINSON: [00:01:16] I’m going to be in a parade in Commerce City this weekend. But yeah, so, we’ve been all over the state. And that’s part of it. And I really enjoy that. There are tremendous people in this state — not as many babies as I’d like!

HOST MARTY LENTZ: [00:01:16] [hearty laughter]. Babies that can vote!

ROBINSON: [00:01:16] Babies who can vote.

LENTZ: [00:01:16] I was — before we get more into the details of things, I’m wondering — with the field winnowing down, does your message change at all? Do you become more broad as the field gets more narrow, with what you want to do?

ROBINSON: [00:01:16] No, I think, you know, for us, we just stick with it, from the beginning, And you know, I’m a businessman, been involved in lots of community activities, really made a difference — in terms of somebody from outside the system — over 15 pieces of legislation that I kind of pushed through that are now law, We’re sticking with that message, somebody that can get things done, can fix our urgent and long-term problems in Colorado. So, we’re saying the same thing we’ve said all along.

ZESBAUGH: [00:01:16] The same thing: education, transportation, and health care. Those are your three tenets, anyway, on your website where you call yourself a pragmatic conservative. What is that?

ROBINSON: [00:01:23] That means somebody — I’m conservative in terms of the way I’ve lived my life, in terms of my values, and so on. But I want to solve problems. And I think sometimes we get into ideological positions and that doesn’t allow us to really have conversations with people, work together in order to get a solution. And that’s what people want in Colorado. And so, both of those things are absolutely accurate about me.

LENTZ: [00:01:44] On the macro level though, why is it such an anathema to not work together? It seems like if you do, everybody thinks you’re giving up something, you’re conceding a little bit of turf.

ROBINSON: [00:01:52] Yeah. So, I think that — I mean, that’s the perception out there, is that, you know, if you’re not strong — you’re strong if you don’t concede, and so on. I don’t think that really is [the case]. I think strong people are able to listen to others, bring people to other–. You know, you don’t give up stuff that really matters at your core. But you can talk and work with people in order to solve problems. I think we saw some of that in the Legislature this session, where we actually came together — I was really impressed! And we did get some money for roads. We did solve PERA. Are those solutions perfect? No, but they are a step in the right direction.

ZESBAUGH: [00:02:25] Let’s talk about the weird balloting process this year — good people getting kicked off the ballot, because of signatures and how they were gathered. How concerned were you just a few weeks ago, when you almost weren’t going to be on the ballot because of petitions in one district — I think — we’re short by 22 signatures.

ROBINSON: [00:02:40] Yeah, so, uh, this was a new experience for me. But we felt good about it from the beginning. You know, the facts were — basically, we accidentally discovered that Walker Stapleton’s team was not gathering the right way, and committing fraud in that process. We, uh — Walker turned in his petitions, anyways. We turned ours in. The Secretary of State approved Walker’s signatures. Walker admitted that some of his were fraudulently collected. Secretary of State said that we were barely short, as as you said. We demonstrated that that was not the case. And the Secretary of State said that if we would agree not to pursue the Walker [Stapleton] signatures, they would go with us in front of a judge and we’d be okay. We agreed. We went in front of the judge. It was a 10 minute conversation. We were on the ballot. So, this whole thing has been kind of a crazy process. But that’s what happened. Those are the facts.

ZESBAUGH: [00:03:31] Does it need to change?

ROBINSON: [00:03:33] It does need a change.

ZESBAUGH: [00:03:34] Yeah.

ROBINSON: [00:03:34] Yeah. And I would lead that effort, so that it gets cleaned up and so we have real rules that are enforceable, so that we don’t go through this again.

LENTZ: [00:03:43] Of the issues at hand, — you’ve shared them, April shared them about education, immigration, mental health, homelessness, marijuana, quality of life. That all stems from the first one, which is growth. How do you — how do you grow responsibly, and do it in a way that you can preserve the other things that you’re talking about?

ROBINSON: [00:04:00] That is the number one question. That’s what you hear all over. And, um, we need a statewide plan so we can have smart growth. And what does that include? Really, just a few things: one, more investment in infrastructure — that means roads, water, broadband in the rural parts of the state, improving our schools. So many of the employers say that they can’t find the kids in-state, so they recruit out-of-state, to bring people here. If we can get our kids ready for the jobs here, we’ll have more people being hired from the schools in Colorado rather than recruiting in from outside. And we have to solve our housing challenges. We need more housing of all types. It’s private sector solutions, I think, not more government.

ZESBAUGH: [00:04:39] We mentioned just how expensive this race is going to be, just getting up to the primary on both sides. A lot of it is getting out the vote, reaching voters, advertising, at this point. How’s your funding, do you feel?

ROBINSON: [00:04:50] I think it’s coming really well. So, we’ve been able to raise a lot of money. Not nearly as much so much said Jared Polis and others on the other side in terms of that, but we’ve got enough money to really have a sustained advertising campaign, really a very strong ‘get out the vote’ effort with volunteers across the state. We’ve been going all around the state. We’ve been really making an effort to go to the rural parts of Colorado. We’ve got supporters all over the state. We’re going to turn them out. They’re excited about my message. I’m really excited about the next few weeks.

LENTZ: [00:05:19] What are voters telling you — what are constituents telling you? What are the problems with Colo–what are they maybe proud of that’s working so far in our state, but what are something[s] that they worry about, that maybe needs some help?

ROBINSON: [00:05:23] People love Colorado. So, they love the beauty and the outdoors. They love the friendliness of the people here. They love the Broncos, wherever you go. So, it really is an amazing place to live. And people want to keep it this special place. And so, they’re concerned about growth and roads and so on. They’re concerned about education. Our kids — we have this wonderful state, yet our kids are near the bottom in terms of school performance across the state. We’ve got to do better. They’re concerned about health care, and the high cost of health care that is hurting family budgets — you know, businesses, county, and state budgets. We’ve got to do something about all of those things. So those are the issues that I’m hearing as I’m out there.

ZESBAUGH: [00:06:04] Back to education: what do you think about what the state legislature did with education funding, and dealing — I guess — with the teacher protests?

ROBINSON: [00:06:10] Yeah, so I think they actually did the right thing, which was to put significant money — over $250 million — into the education system, to buy it down. But we have a fundamental problem in our education system that I don’t hear other people talking about. That is the growth has been in the administrative side, not money in the classroom. We absolutely need more money in the classroom. And so, I have put an idea out there: challenge our districts around the state for every dollar they take from administration and put into the classroom — that means teacher pay, it means supplies, computers, things that are making a difference for kids — the state will match them dollar for dollar. Let’s move money from administration into the classroom, where it makes a difference.

LENTZ: [00:06:51] Since we’re talking about schools, I’m going to bring up school shootings. What do we do to keep the school safe, or is there an approach that we’re not doing, that isn’t working, or do we have to have more of an all-[of]-[the]-above kind of approach?

ROBINSON: [00:07:00] So, first of all, we have to feel for these families. I mean, this is just absolutely tragic. And we absolutely don’t want this to happen. And I think it’s up for Republicans to lead on this issue. We’ve seen the Democrats’ plan. That’s to take away guns. That’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen in Colorado. So Republicans have to lead. And we have to do, really, three things: one, harden our schools. There’s a ‘360 Degree Toolkit’ that’s out there, that looks at such things as which doors are open, how you come in, access, all that sort of stuff. Two, put in place a Red Flag law, that has sufficient due process protections.

LENTZ: [00:07:35] Isn’t that Red Flag — sorry, i don’t mean to interrupt you — they tried to pass that. And didn’t that get quashed?

ROBINSON: [00:07:39] It did.

LENTZ: [00:07:40] Okay.

ROBINSON: [00:07:40] And we can talk about that in a second. And the third is the last line of defense, is an armed person: resource officer, or — in the school districts, if they decide — I believe it’s an armed guard or an administrator. Let the school district decide. That’s the last line of defense. We can do some things. Republicans can lead on this issue.

ZESBAUGH: [00:07:58] In wrapping up with you, if you win the primary, who would you most like to face — which Democrat — in the general?

ROBINSON: [00:08:03] I’ll take any of them on. But the one that I think presents the best opportunity for me is Jared Polis, just because of the differences, you know? I think he is too left for Colorado, in terms of — look at just some of the policies coming out of Boulder. Do we want Boulder in the rest of the state? I mean, Boulder is a great place. You’re going to be running there this weekend.

LENTZ: [00:08:23] Maybe! [laughs].

ROBINSON: [00:08:24] I love the sports teams there. But I don’t think all of those policies are right for Colorado. And we’ll be able to really talk about, “What do we want Colorado to look like 10 [or] 20 years from now.

LENTZ: [00:08:31] Republican candidate for governor, Doug Robinson. Thank you so much for your time.

ROBINSON: [00:08:37] Thank you so much.

ZESBAUGH: [00:08:38] Best website, if people want info?

ROBINSON: [00:08:39] Yeah, please go to I need your support. I need you to tell others this is really going to be an important race, in terms of the direction of Colorado. Thank you, April and Marty.