Cory Gardner, Steffan Tubbs Show, February 12, 2019

Station:     KNUS, 710 am

Show:       Steffan Tubbs Show

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:       February 12, 2019

Topics:    Government Shutdown, Border Security, Wall Funding, Barrier, Fence, Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump, LWCF, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Amachi, CO, Japanese Internment Camp, National Park, VA Readiness Act, Safe Injection Sites, Supervised Injection Sites, Kim Jong Un, Russia, Philippines, Coddling Dictators, Softball Questions, Sanctions, State Sponsor of Terrorism, Civil Rights, Denver Teacher’s Strike, American Dream, Student Loan Debt, Artificial Intelligence,

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TUBBS:  I am happy to welcome in the senior Senator from – no, he’s a junior Senator.  Sorry.  Uh, “I, Cory Gardner.”  Repeat after me, my friend, “I, Cory Gardner…”


TUBBS:  Oh, this is, big time!  “I, Cory Gardner, do solemnly promise …”

GARDNER:  [laughs] What are we promising, here?

TUBBS:  [You’re promising] that you will not be a politician in the next two hours when you’re on the show with me. I’m kidding

GARDNER:  [laughs]

TUBBS:  [laughs] Welcome back, man! It’s good to have you!

GARDNER:  Hey, thank you for having me, very much. Thanks.

TUBBS:  You bet. Let’s talk about – how do you – when Donald Trump goes on the road, like last night – and certainly around the midterms, we saw the President in multiple different cities, in multiple different–.

GARDNER:  All over the place, that’s right.

TUBBS:  Yeah, he was all over. How closely do you pay attention to something like last night?

GARDNER:  You know, it depends. I mean, yesterday, I – we were engaged in legislation that we had on the floor today, so I was kind of glued to negotiating a big lands bill that we had today. But obviously, there is news that is made at these things, and so you need to pay attention because you’re going to get asked about it.

TUBBS:  Yeah. Do – Cory Gardner, you solemnly swore, [chuckles] even though it was me who made you.  Do you – and a lot of people want to know, do you like Donald Trump?

GARDNER:  Well, look, I’m going to agree with Donald Trump.  I’m going to disagree with Donald Trump. But I like the President, and we have got to make sure that we have an opportunity for the American people to get to like the President. And I think they like his policies. I think they do!

TUBBS:  Do you think that — do you think that he wins in 2020?

GARDNER:  [chuckles] I think he does. It’s going to be a tough fight. But look at what is happening now on the left. I mean, look at what is going on!  You’ve got Cory Booker who is saying we have to eat less meat today. You’ve got this Green New Deal that is – ‘cap-and-trade and carbon tax are just the little, tiny parts of the bill because it has ‘massive socialism’ written all over it!  So, I think the American people are really taken aback by this incredible far-left agenda that’s coming out.

TUBBS:  […] We’re going to talk about the two things that I know you’re working on. And one of the things that I know you and I are in lock step on is what to do about our veterans and specifically, the VA. We’ve talked a lot about that. And you mentioned the lands deal – if I may call it that.  We’ll talk about that in just a moment. You know, I don’t know how much you’re able to try to do your job and to focus on your re-election bid. We’ve got to have you keep your seat.  You know, now – it’s weird, because when I was at the other station I would have never said that. Now I get paid to give an opinion.

GARDNER:  [laughs]

TUBBS:  You know I’ve voted for you in the past, and I’ll vote for you again. We’ve got to have you keep this seat.  You’ve got the likes of Michael Johnston, you’ve got Andrew Romanoff, now, that have come out.  They say that they are going to challenge you.  Where are you right now with re-election plans?

GARDNER:  Look, we’re talking to a lot of people across the state of Colorado, about the good things that we have done over the past four years and the great things that we are going to do over the next two years and beyond. There is going to be a lot of people who run. They feel empowered. But if you look at what they are running on, they’re running on socialized medicine, taking away people’s private insurance. They’re running on a plan to increase taxes, to raise regulations, to darken opportunity for our future. That’s their plan! And I’m going to be about optimism. I’m going to be about making sure that we lift up all four corners of Colorado, that we continue to get government out of the way, that we allow people to have the opportunities in their life to better themselves, not because government did it for them but because we create a fair playing field for them to empower themselves.  And that’s really what this is about. So, I’m excited to take our record of accomplishment on the road and talk to the people of Colorado about it.

TUBBS:  […] I want to read a text, and you both – we both – in your line of work, in this line of work, you have got to put your big boy pants on every day.  You’ve got to have broad shoulders because you’re going to get the criticism.


TUBBS:  I want to read to you a text that we got from one of our listeners via Twitter earlier today when I had announced this afternoon that you were going to be joining me.  Um, this is a slam to both you and me.

GARDNER:  [laughs]

TUBBS:  Yeah! And this comes with the territory, I think you’ll agree.  “Tossing the biggest liar in #copolitics history some slow pitch softballs, no doubt. I’ll eat my hat if Tubbs asks him why he coddles dictators and fails to represent a majority of his constituents.” And it goes on from there.  How do you combat that guy when you need to be re-elected next year?

GARDNER:  Well, look, “coddles dictators?” I put mandatory –.

TUBBS:  Yeah! This is the dictator that made fun of you, with no hair – or, a lot of hair. I can’t remember.

GARDNER:  Right! I put mandatory sanctions on Kim Jong Un – the first time ever for this country. I restricted funding that goes to the Philippines for their violations of human rights. I want Russia to be named a state sponsor of terror. So, what I would encourage people to do is to drop their partisan lenses and look at what is happening and the work that we do.
And step away from the TV shows that only show one side of the story, and look at really what we’ve been able to accomplish.

TUBBS:  What are you hearing from constituents that is the most pressing issue to them, within the borders of the great state of Colorado?  What do you hear about, maybe the majority of the time, or does it ebb and flow? For example, I mean, the Denver teachers are on strike right now. Do you – do you get emails about that? Or is it a news cycle – that kind of thing? If safe injection sites are in the news, do you get a lot of feedback — or whatever — from your constituents?  How does that work?

GARDNER:  That’s a great question. I think a lot of our contacts to the office –emails to me, phone calls to me – are driven sort of by what is in the news at the moment. And so we certainly hear those topical things that are the focus of people’s minds, whether it’s on TV at night or the front page of the newspapers in the morning.  But sort of what we hear overall is people [are] just worried about the future; people worried that they’re going to have the ability to continue living their American dream, that their kids are going to have a shot at the American dream.  That’s what they worry about, you know, what impact a truck driver sees when it comes to artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, what does the future of an oil worker in Weld County look like when you have a political party that wants to wipe out their job. They’re very concerned about it, you know?  How are kids going to afford college when the average student loan debt is now $40- or $50,000? And so, that’s what I hear about. And they want to make sure that everything is going to be just as bright as it always has been in this country.  And that’s why I am confident in our vision, our message, because we’re fighting each and every day for that bright future.

TUBBS:  We are three days away from another potential government shutdown. The President tweeted out just a couple of hours ago, he has looked at the border funding agreement. Where are we with that?  How have you been following that?

GARDNER:  Yeah, so, I think there may have been recent developments. I believe the President may have even made a statement or put out some kind of a comment that he is looking at the deal that Senator Shelby had negotiated, and it sounded positive – that he liked what he saw.  I don’t want to – obviously – misinterpret something that I haven’t put in context or seen in context yet. So, I think that ultimately a deal will be reached.  It will avoid a shutdown. I think it will include funding for border security. And we’ll see what happens over the next 24 hours. I think that will be critical.

TUBBS:  How do you feel, Senator, about border walls – like literally, the steel slates or a concrete barrier?  Do you think we need them?

GARDNER:  Well, I – the professionals, the experts say that we do. And when you talk to the border security officials, they say you need barriers – walls – in certain places along the border. And so, you know, and especially around – I think — the area of McAllen, TX, where this 200 mile stretch has a lot of people coming in and going through illegally. And so, they think one of the best ways to stop it is to build that barrier. And so, I think if the experts are saying we need it, then they need it.

TUBBS:  You know where they’re coming –. And all the stuff, man!  You know, the fentanyl bust a couple of weeks ago – enough to kill like 50 million people or something like that? You know that that pipeline is so easily and readily available, coming right through our state!

GARDNER:  Well, and that’s why I voted for the border security measures that the President had requested. And that’s why I’ll continue to support an effort to make sure that we have a secure border. I think – you know, and it wasn’t that long ago that Democrats and Republicans supported this kind of border security. So, I don’t understand why all of a sudden people have changed their mind, unless it’s the convenience of partisan politics. And that’s too bad!

TUBBS:  Right. I want to get to the other two issues, with the land deal and VA Readiness. Before we do that, though, I’ve got to ask you – and this is where I want you to solemnly swear. I really want to know, because I’ve known you for at least a decade. I know you’ve got a great family, and you’ve got kids. This supervised injection site story in the city of Denver, that the state legislature –. I know you’re at the federal level, but you’ve got to have an opinion. You’ve got to! — as a father – about supervised injection sites. Can you give me –?

GARDNER:  Well, this is a bad idea. It’s a bad idea. Look, I can’t imagine something that could potentially do more harm. And, I just, you know, – if I had to vote on that today as a federal legislator, I would be voting ‘no.’  I certainly don’t support it.

TUBBS:  Man! You took that swear seriously!

GARDNER:  [laughs]

TUBBS:  That’s why I have you on the program, Senator Cory Gardner!

GARDNER:  No swearing on the air!

TUBBS:  That’s right! I want to talk to you about your willingness to understand – and you know, every politician will say that they feel this way about our veterans, and getting ready for the transition out of the military career into civilian life and all of that. And I’m telling our audience right now, this guy that is on the air has been there. He has tried to help veterans whenever he can. Tell me about the VA Readiness Initiative.

GARDNER:  Well, exactly. And you know, Steffan, I want to start with a story that began in April of last year. I had the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan to see members from Ft. Carson – the Second Brigade Combat Team. And we talked about their work in Afghanistan, in Kandahar, and what they are doing for this country – incredible work. And they made a deal with me: that when they returned to Colorado Springs, that I would have a beer with them. And we – I fulfilled that promise on Friday.

TUBBS:  Right! You did it this past weekend, right?

GARDNER:  Just this past weekend – you got it! And one of the – the Sergeant Major that was with us, and he was with me on Friday, is going to be retiring after over two decades of service to this great country. And, you know, he is going to be entering life as a civilian after this. That’s just one example of why we have to be — the VA system has to be ready to treat and provide service to our veterans at a level that they deserve and have earned. And over the past decade, sometimes, I don’t think that readiness has been there.

TUBBS:  No way!

GARDNER:  Look at what happened to the Aurora Replacement Facility. Look at the GI Bill benefits, when GI Bill benefits are not being paid as promised. And so, we’re embarking on this VA – Veterans — Veterans Readiness Act – the VA Readiness Initiative – the Veterans Readiness – the VA Readiness Initiative. That focuses on four things: basically, expanding access to service for veterans; encouraging innovation using data, trying to use artificial intelligence to crunch numbers and data to find better ways for treatment; improve access to care; and VA accountability. You know, basically making sure that the providers do what they’re supposed to do, that we get efficiency into the system and transparency into the system, and that we empower – what you just said – transitioning service members, and whether that is supporting veterans in STEM careers, or making sure that license follows the service to the private sector. That’s a Readiness Initiative that I think we can all get behind!

TUBBS:  Amen!  Let’s talk about – in the time we have left – […] It sounds like, by the way, you gave Siciliano a promotion, by the way. That guy has been my right hand man to get to you for a long time.

GARDNER:  You know, we’re excited about him. He’s now moved up to Deputy Chief in the office, so we’re pretty excited about his work.

TUBBS:  Nice! Nice.  And a new dad at that. So, Alex, if you’re listening, thank you for everything over the years. Let’s talk about this, Senator — the public lands package. Was there a vote today?

GARDNER:  There was. And it passed 92 to 8.

TUBBS:  Ninety-two to eight!  What does it mean?

GARDNER:  Ninety-two to eight!

TUBBS:  [joking]  I like those odds!

GARDNER:  Yeah, you don’t see many votes that pass — on — you don’t see many votes like that on a major piece of legislation.  Ninety-two to eight! This had a little bit of everything across the country.  It was really remarkable to see the level of support for it that we did.

And kind of just explain. I mean, this is – it includes has permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I’ve got to say that that is a snoozer for a lot of people listening.

GARDNER:  [laughs]

TUBBS:  But listen, you’re an eastern Colorado guy.


TUBBS:  You and I, you know, we have talked many times over the years about the importance of farmers and ranchers and water, right here in this state. So, I know you feel the same way.

GARDNER:  That’s right. And absolutely! The Land and Water Conservation Fund has resulted in over $260 million of revenue coming back to Colorado. And this is not taxpayer money. I mean this is money that is generated from oil and gas revenues that comes back to the state for some incredible recreation and conservation purposes. The bill also includes a study that looks at whether or not Amachi, Colorado will be included in the National Park system. Amachi is in southeastern Colorado, out where you and I participated in a watermelon seed spitting contest years ago.

TUBBS:  Yes! That’s right! I won.

GARDNER:  And you know, this is out towards that southeastern Colorado area. This was a Japanese American internment site, home to one of the darkest periods of civil rights in our country.  And you know, this is a chance for eastern Colorado to say, “Hey, we should never do this again.” But, we have a proud history with Governor Ralph Carr and the work that he did to try and stand up against it.

TUBBS:  Right. Amen!  Just real quick, on that, was the 92-8 vote, was that a final? And now does it go to the President?

GARDNER:  It’s a final vote in the Senate. It has to go to the House.

TUBBS:  Gotcha!

GARDNER:  And we believe that the House will move it by suspension – put it on their expedited calendar for two weeks, and then the President will sign it.

TUBBS:  You’re always great to have on. To the one tweeter, I hope he is eating his hat, Senator Gardner, as we speak.

GARDNER:  [laughs] Well, thank you very – just use some salt with it!

TUBBS:  Yeah! I’m going to be out in D.C. the first week of March. I will kind of hit you offline and see if maybe we can connect. I’m going out for the big TAPS gala – the national event, and again I thank you–.

GARDNER:  Oh! Thank you for your support of that.

TUBBS:  Yeah, and I thank you for the support of our veterans. Without them, this country is nothing. We’ll talk to you soon! Thanks so much!

GARDNER: Thanks, Steffan!  Take care!

TUBBS:  Bye! Senator Cory Gardner. What was that from “Silence of the Lambs”?  [affecting creepy voice] “A nice Chianti and some fava beans.”  I hope, you Twitter troll, you’re eating your hat and it tastes like crap!