Dan Caplis Show, Ellen Roberts, June 2, 2015

Station:   KNUS, 710 AM

Show:      Dan Caplis Show

Guests:    Roberts

Link:        http://dancaplis.podbean.com/

Date:       June 2, 2015

Topics:     Pro-choice, Republican, Supreme Court Nominee, Roe v. Wade, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Durango, Law Practice, Univerisity of Colorado Law School, Parental Notification, Abortion, Underage, Catholic Hospital, Primary Election, General Election.

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CAPLIS:  And a real privilege to go to the VIP line and welcome Senator Ellen Roberts to the show.  Senator, welcome to 710 KNUS.

ROBERTS:  Good morning, Dan!

CAPLIS:  Good morning.  Hey, [I] appreciate the time today.  We’re making an effort to get in touch with everybody who has publicly expressed an interest in running for the seat, as you have.  And as we’ve been letting folks know, you haven’t committed to the race, yet, but you’ve said you’ve taken a good, hard look at it. So, [I] appreciate the chance to talk.  First, if you would, tell folks why you’re looking at the race and what your time table is.

ROBERTS:  Well, I’m looking at the race because I think Colorado needs a strong, Colorado-based Senator. And I know Senator Bennet.  I think he’s a nice man, but I think we could do better.  And so, I’ve been thinking about – and I do stress the word ‘thinking’ because obviously there’s a lot of triggers in that whole matter –but timeline-wise, [it’s] difficult to say.  Congressman Coffman is a friend, and he and I had talked, and I told him there is no way I would be in a primary against him.  I strongly supported him.

CAPLIS:  Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS:  But, now that he’s decidided not to run, I’ll have to continue thinking, and I’m guessing through the summer I’ll be talking to people and getting a better feel for it.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, and Dick Wadhams joined us a few minutes ago, and Dick was reminding us that that primary now, is in June, which I think is real smart, giving the nominee – whether it’s you or someone else – you know, a chance to build up a head of steam. But, what do you think that means for the front end of this? By when do you think you and most other candidates will have to decide, to have enough time to gear it up?

ROBERTS:  Well, the reality is most people are about to enjoy summer, and so after Labor Day I think is kind of a more of a realistic time.

CAPLIS:  And what do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?  Now, one obvious strength is you’re a graduate of the Harvard of the West – the CU Law School.

ROBERTS:  [chuckles]

CAPLIS:  But in addition to that, you know, what do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?

ROBERTS:  You know, I have been representing eight counties in southwest Colorado, but I also represent the whole state of Colorado up there at the state legislature.  I’ve been there nine years.  I had a small business of my own, a law practice.  My husband is in construction.

CAPLIS:  mm-hmm

ROBERTS:  I think we’re very ordinary Coloradoans– very middle class, very hard working. And I think that’s the kind of mindset I bring to the table.  And so, that’s what I think I offer.  I’ve got a strong history of getting things done at the Capitol.  My constituents over here have said, “We want people in Washington D.C. who [will] actually get things done.” And that would, again, be part of the mindset I would take with me.

CAPLIS:  Mm.  And Senator Ellen Roberts, our guest – senator from Durango.  Now, as you look at the race, I’m sure one thing that you’ve weighed heavily is whether– I think you are self-described pro-choice—and whether that position is going to be a plus or a minus for you, both in the primary and the general. How do you break that down?

ROBERTS:  , I’ve never called myself pro-choice as a politician. What I found out, early on, was I supported parental notification in the instance of an underage girl having an abortion. So, when I supported that, and I still support that, I found from those who are pro-choice advocates that no longer made me pro-choice. And I was surprised. I didn’t know that there were slices to what made a person one thing or another. My position has been that making abortion illegal, unfortunately– I don’t think– is not going to resolve the issue of unintended pregnancies. So, for me, it’s really more significant that we have women who have choice of a full array. And that includes having a child, and possibly putting the child up for adoption, or being supported by family, faith community. Many of us have had that kind of experience with family members and friends. So, I think there is a strong role for people to play in supporting a women in that situation. But I’m not that keen on government being right in the middle of it. So that’s kind of driven my thought process. It’s certainly been made a very big issue by the Democrats. Every time I have a primary, the Democrats play in my primary race by supporting my primary opponent. And I don’t think this would be any different. I think they like to use that as a wedge issue.  But, again, I’ve been through it before. Both of those primaries where that happened, I actually won. So, I think reaching out to people and letting them know what I am really going to focus on is,–and they start to recognize the wedge component to what the Democrats have been doing.

CAPLIS:  And I think the reason it’s a wedge issue is a lot of people care deeply about it. And my guess is, in considering a U.S. Senate candidate, — say, in the primary or in the general, the most specific focus, looking at the job of senator, would be confirming Supreme Court nominees. And so, along those lines, I think one question if you get into the race — and you’ve probably fielded it a million times before, anyway– is, but if you became a United States Senator would you vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who believed that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided, which of course, would then go to your opinion on whether — as a matter of Constitutional law, not policy making but Constitutional law — whether you believe Roe v. Wade was correctly decided.

ROBERTS:  Well, Dan, I guess I would say, I’ve got to go back to the point of, I’m just thinking about running. So that’s an excellent question, one that I’d be happy to try and answer in detail once I decided I was getting into the race. But I’m going to your point of, it is a wedge issue because people care deeply about that. And I have always been a strong defender of religious freedom. And I completely defend the right of anybody who says, ‘This is against my religion, my faith.’ And I had sat on a Catholic hospital board for seven years, and in fact, chaired it before I entered the Legislature. And felt very comfortable to support the mission of that hospital. So I think that’s the kind of thing I would ask people to consider:  look at my record in supporting religious freedom and protecting the rights of people to honor their faith.  And I would continue to carry that forward. I—I– It’s very difficult to speculate on right now the particular question you asked. But again, I’d be happy to, if I get in the race, I’d be happy to delve into that with you in the fall.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. No, [I] would love to have that conversation because I really do think that would be a central question in a senate race because that issue — whether Roe was correctly decided, whether it should be overturned — I think is central to this issue of legalized abortion in America. Because, as you know, until Roe is overturned, the issue really can’t be decided by the people. And once Roe is overturned, then it would go back to the people, and the people — state by state — would have the great debate and decide where those lines should be drawn. So, no, I look forward to that conversation if you get into the race, grateful for your time today. Anything else you want to pass along to people — anything you want people to know about you?

ROBERTS:  Um, I recognize that I am different than some in the Republican Party but I am very proud of the work that I have been able to do and my constituents have returned me –.  Actually, I’ve had primaries twice and two other races I had no opponent, either Democrat or Republican.   And I think that speaks to my commitment to serve the people of my district. So, I’m not trying to give you a complete sales job, here, but just saying that I take this job very seriously – the one I currently have.  And I’m proud to be in the Colorado legislature.  And I would encourage folks to think of public service.  It’s a difficult job, but if it’s in your heart and it’s something that really drives you forward, people ought to consider running for office.  We could always use some more good people out there.

CAPLIS:  Mm.  Well, Senator, [I] sure appreciate your time today and look forward to the next conversation.

ROBERTS:  Okay. Thank you, Dan.

CAPLIS:  Thank you much.  That is Senator Ellen Roberts.  303-696-1971.  We have calls out to other folks who have expressed an interest in potentially getting into the race.  The Senator has not decided, as you heard, whether or not to take that leap.  […]