Dan Caplis Show, George Brauchler, April 5, 2017

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Dan Caplis Show

Guests:  Brauchler

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

Date:      April 5, 2017


Click Here for Audio

HOST DAN CAPLIS:  Well, it’s going to be America First on Friday night, and Donald Trump will be partying then.  Talk about a big ‘W’!  A big ‘W’, not all wins and losses are created equal and Donald Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court getting confirmed on Friday, that’s a big-time postseason ‘W’.  So, we’ll be celebrating that together, and celebrating the fact that our friend George Brauchler is running for governor. This is great.  This is — Colorado–Casey, you’re too young to remember this, but Colorado used to be the land of giants, on both sides. You know, you’d have Bill Armstrong for the Republicans.  You’d have Tim Wirth on the other side. While I disagreed with Tim ideologically, he was a giant. And there are many other examples and we need to get back to those days.  And having George Brauchler enter the governor’s race is set is a really good step in that direction.  George, welcome back to 710 KNUS!

DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE 18TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF COLORADO, GEORGE BRAUCHLER:  Hey, thanks for having me on, Dan. This is great. And as I listen to you talk about that – I mean, candidly, if I go back 10 years or so in my mind — back when I was working for you – if I were going to be running for governor in the future, I imagine it would’ve been to follow you into office in some way.  So, [it’s] a little surreal.

CAPLIS:  [chuckles] Thank you for saying that. It’s funny how life works. And I’m so glad you’re going to be in this race.  And, you know, I respect Walker [Stapleton] and there may be other people I respect to get in the race, as well.  But to me, I’ve always believed that competition makes everybody better.  And you are a true five-tool player. I got to see that when we practiced law together. I’ve seen it now as you’ve had your political success. And Colorado will really benefit from that. And this GOP primary will really benefit from that.  And whoever emerges from the nominee — and I think, you know, somebody referred to you as the front runner this morning, and I think that that’s obviously true– you know, whoever emerges–

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah, for this minute.

CAPLIS:  What’s that? “For this minute”?

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah, for this minute.

CAPLIS:  Nah. I think whoever emerges is going to be better off, you know, for having had this high level — you know, because it’s going to take somebody really, really good to beat you, if somebody does beat you.  Everybody is going to be better for the high level this is going to operate at.

BRAUCHLER:  Well, I agree. And I think if — you know, that the race isn’t just the primary, either.  I mean, you look across the aisle and you see some big government, well-funded Democrats on the other side, waiting to take on whoever the Republican nominee is going to be.  Now, I hope it’s me, but I think we need to have the kind of vigorous primary you described, but one that isn’t based on the politics of destruction as much as it is on, “Look, let’s just make our distinctions between who we are, what we bring to the table, our policies, let the voters have their shot, and let’s go get this race!”

CAPLIS:  Yeah, and how do you do that, George? Because listen, you, Walker, maybe others in the race, you’re big-time people. You’re very competitive. There is absolutely no doubt in your minds you would be a great governor of Colorado. There’s no doubt in my mind you’d be a great governor of Colorado.

BRAUCHLER:  Thank you.

CAPLIS:  You fight to win. So, how do you win a primary like this without it turning into a circular firing squad?

BRAUCHLER:  Well, I think everybody starts off saying they want to do that. I think what you see over time though, especially with political consultants and the political establishment, is they get behind the scenes, they get their candidate in the room, and they say, “Look. Do you want to be the nice guy that lost to Brauchler?” or, “lost to fill-in-the-blank, or do you want a genuine shot at being this Party’s nominee?” And once they wrap their mind around the fact that winning is more important than anything else, then it makes the decision as to go dirty or to go negative that much easier. Now, I have every intention in the world of resisting that.  And, by the way, if I’m going to say something about somebody, I want my name on it. I want to be held accountable for what I say about them. I don’t want to be hiding behind some third-party effort or something like that. But I think that you and I have seen over the last –how many?– election cycles that the best intentions end up running out of steam at some point. And things just get really hypercompetitive. I really hope we don’t get there. But there’s so much at stake for Colorado, I think it’s going to happen. I think – but the good news for us is I think it’s going to happen on the other side of the aisle for the first time in over a decade, too.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. Yeah, that’s right.  And I don’t mean to be presumptuous, as long as our candidate comes out without being allowed to bled out by the opposition, I think our candidate is going to be governor because I think the other side has all sorts of trouble. So, to me, I’m just so focused on how is this primary is going to be run. And I know this example doesn’t appeal to people because we ended up losing the last governor’s race, but I was a big fan of how that race was won because I saw a lot of big time people run a tough race without ever getting to the point of dismembering the other Republicans. And I don’t think that’s why we ended up losing the general. I think there were other reasons we lost the general, but I thought the last gubernatorial primary was a pretty good example. What did you think of it?

BRAUCHLER:  No, I agree with you. I don’t think we saw a lot of stabbing each other in the face, the way that we have. I know that there was some skepticism about the role that some of the third-party stuff played in winning the primary, but I never thought it really deteriorated into that disaster that was four years prior to that.  And that’s a good thing for everybody. And I agree with you. I think the loss in 2014 had more to do with probably how money was pushed around at the end, than it did with almost anything else. I mean, I — we could have won that race.  I was on Channel 7 doing some color commentary at the time, I think with former Sen. Morse.  And I left there at 11:00 [p.m.] and Bob was up.  And as were leaving, it was, “Who is left? What votes are missing?”  And someone said, “Boulder and Denver.” And I thought, “Well, that’s it! It’s over!”

CAPLIS:  Yeah.  Yeah, it’s –.  But yeah, I do think that primary was run much better than a lot of the other gubernatorial primaries we’ve seen here, in terms of the candidates showing self-control and showing, “You know what? There’s something more important than me, in terms of our nominee having the best chance to win”, while they all still wanted to be that guy. George Brauchler, our special guest, DA for the 18th judicial district who will now be in the governor’s race. So George, as we look ahead – I mean, there are so many reasons I think you’re going to be a dynamite candidate. One of those I hope you don’t lose in the course of the race, and that is your great sense of humor. I think it’s impossible — and Craig Silverman is great proof of this — it’s impossible to have a great sense of humor without occasionally going over the line.

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah! Exactly!

CAPLIS:  But I think you gain more by keeping that sense of humor in play because people like to laugh and I think it’s a great way to defuse tension. So, I hope that important piece of George Brauchler stays intact throughout this process.

BRAUCHLER:  Well, I sure hope so, too. I have thought about this—as you have, over the years — given thought to how you can better serve your community and your state. I know you have gone thought this analysis, too, but it’s at a much different level. And that is, I used to do fill-in work, you know, for you and Craig [Silverman] and some stuff on 850 [am, KOA].  And even that limited exposure to the radio, sometimes you have a good time, you say somethings. I am now waiting for whatever the opposition can drum up from 10 years ago to say, “Listen to what the crackpot said on the radio!” And say that part. But I don’t think I can change. I think this is for anyone that supportive of me –I think they have to have that in their mind: that this guy is trying to just say it the way he thinks it.  . And sometimes it’s funny. And every once in a while, it will be something that someone can take out of context. But that is just who I am. I can’t be managed. At least, not too much.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. I honestly don’t think, George – and this is something I think I’ve come to realize over the years –you know, the opposition which will include — I mean, most of the media leans left, as you know – the opposition will make a big deal out of this or that or this statement or that statement.  But I think to the folks out there who are going to decide the race, that doesn’t mean anything. I think what folks care about is, “Hey, who can make my life better? Who can create a better life for my kids in the future?” And if they believe the George Brauchler can do that better than anybody else — and I think there’s a lot of reason to believe that – then, that’s who they’re going to vote for. People don’t expect perfection. They don’t expect candidates, you know, to have been sent straight from heaven, you know, to the middle of Denver, Colorado for this gubernatorial race.  But tell people what — you know, why you’re running, and what your priorities will be as governor.

BRAUCHLER:  I think that’s a good question. And I hope you’re right about that, too, because as you know, man is fallible. I’m no different.  I mean, I am not squeaky clean in every decision I’ve ever made and every thought I’ve ever had. I mean, I’m as fallible as anybody else.  But, at the end of the day, what I think I bring to this race is genuine leadership. And not just as a talking point, but as something that I have demonstrated in the only office that I’ve ever held is the one that I’ve run for and the one I’ve got right now, as DA.  Leadership matters for Colorado, moving forward. And I think what we’ve seen over the past 6+ years, is something more akin to affability, or affable management.  But affability is not a substitute for leadership.  And when you’ve got affable management going on, you see a state brought to the brink of, “What the heck are we going to do now with our roads? I guess we’ll just have to raise sales taxes by 21% on every Coloradan out there!”  We didn’t ever need to be in this position, and yet here we are. We didn’t need to blow up the number of people the taxpayers fund their healthcare for to a tripling of Obamacare and the doubling of the number Coloradans being paid for by us. We didn’t need to get there.  And because were there, we now see pressure that keeps us from spending money on public education and for roads. And I think that’s where genuine leadership — and someone willing to force government to prioritize things [such as] transportation and education, and honestly standing up to Washington DC when they try to visit upon us their values and their sense of how we ought to be spending taxpayer dollars, instead of Colorado. We know this. Colorado is special!  I mean, that is why so many people come to Colorado to live. It’s special. It’s different. And that’s the way we ought to be running our affairs, not looking to the East Coast to figure out how they’re doing business. But we ought to be the example for them.

CAPLIS:  No, I think that’s absolutely right.  And when it comes to education — no question about it!  I mean, education is near or at the top the list for almost every Colorado voter.  The question is, what would you do differently in that arena?

BRAUCHLER:  I think, first and foremost, we have got to figure out a way to get this Medicaid expansion — this Obamacare expansion — under control. What a lot of folks don’t know is that in over a short period of time we have doubled the number of people — which include, by the way, 44% of the people that are being serviced by Obamacare are working age, able-bodied people. Now, I’m not looking to just kick people to the curb. But there ought to be things that we can do with those taxpayer dollars that allow us to stretch them out to provide coverage without bankrupting us. The biggest chunk of our state budget comes from the federal government. And it comes with ridiculous strings attached to it that make every state act alike, despite our differences.  And that crowds out education funding.  We need to figure out a way to get those dollars freed up from having to spend them on Obamacare, and put them back into education on a student-centric – not establishment-, or building-centric — model, but something that focuses on students. And I think we need to do that. And I’d be willing to prioritize education above Obamacare.

CAPLIS:  George Brauchler, our special guest. George now officially in the governor’s race. I think which is very good thing for the state of Colorado. Now, George, when it comes to education, I don’t think you and I have ever really sat down and talked about school choice.  I am a big believer that without even increasing the budget, you know, kids would be benefited immediately by healthy education competition and by empowering those poor and middle income parents, you know, with true purchasing power in education through vouchers, etc. Where do you come down on school choice?

BRAUCHLER:  [I] One hundred percent agree with you.  And everyplace – specifically, inner-city and socioeconomically depressed areas – every place you offer parents the opportunity at a charter school, or choice, you see a mad scramble to be part of that successful system.

CAPLIS:  Right, right.

BRAUCHLER:  And our family is no different. I have got for kids: [ages] 14, 12, 9, and 7. They’re all in public school. They’ve all gone through charter grade schools. Two of them are still there. I’m a big believer in choice, and they’re figuring out a way to put a better product on the field and turn out students with better education, better scores than the big establishment system. That’s not an indictment of the entire big establishment system.  That is a challenge. That is that kind of competition that you and I have talked about. They give you a better product. I’m a big believer in choice.

CAPLIS:  Well, I’m glad to hear that, because I also think –and I’ve always believed, and I think you have, too– that doing the right thing is the best politics. It may be uncomfortable at the moment. You may take a lot of flak. But ultimately, doing the right thing is the best politics. And here, I think nothing could be further from — nothing could be more true, rather.  And the reason is that, you know, you look at Latino community, you look at the African-American community, and you look how many votes from that community end up going reflexively, I think, to Democrats cycle after cycle after cycle, when Dems turn around and kick folks in the crotch, and worse, kick their kids in the crotch and keep them in underperforming public schools. And I think one of the best ways to cut through that habit is to say, “Wait a second. We bring true opportunity for your children, whereas the Democrats have kept them down educationally.” So I would love to see you pursue that hard. I think it would really help break through.

BRAUCHLER:  I agree. I also think, though, that the reality for us is, as much as we’re – you know, Colorado is kind of the tip of the spear on a lot of school choice, a lot of charters, and certain homeschooling.  And those things have to be continued to be developed. But at the end of the day, we’re still going to produce 70% of our students through the regular public school system. And I think our obligation is not to just continue to throw money after a system struggles to prove it can do better than these alternatives, but to figure out a way to spend dollars in a smart way that gives us a better product. And I think partly, big time public school system – which I’m a product of, my wife is a product of it, my kids are going to be products of it — has got to look internally but also externally at a better way to do what they’re doing. I don’t think that we need to have testing every single week. But there has to be some standard by which we can measure the performance of students, teachers and schools. And we need to look at how we’re doing that.

CAPLIS:  Well, and I think as we’re looking at education, we have to talk about another big issue out there, which is legalized pot.  Because I’m a firm believer — and I think the facts back it up – that legalized pot is undermining all schools, public schools, and private schools. And it harms Colorado in lots of different ways. I know that you as a prosecutor have done tremendous work, you know, combating, you know, the problems caused by marijuana, prosecuting those who violate the law, etc. But where do you come down on Amendment 64? And what would your approach be?

BRAUCHLER:  Dan, I was opposed to it, just like you were.  I didn’t think it was the right thing to do.  And certainly, even if it was something that Coloradans wanted, I really resisted putting it in the Constitution where it would be difficult to manage and fix to make it workable for Coloradans. But at the end of the day, we did it. And we did it by a big margin. I mean, 55-45 is telling. That’s bigger than a lot of issues get decided on. So, while I’m opposed to it, it’s a law of the land. And I think our obligation now is to fulfill that promise that all those promoters of 64 put out there on TV, and in our mailbox, and on the radio, as to what this is really about, and make sure that the law works for Coloradans. And right now it doesn’t. And it doesn’t because our regulatory structure, although it has some promise, is not effective. We have a huge black market. I mean, one of the cases our office just filed was an indictment of 16 separate individuals who were growing enormous quantities of marijuana to ship outside the state of Colorado.  There was really no intention of ever complying with the regulations of the state that we can tell. And they’re presumed innocent, and they will have the opportunity to try that in court. But that’s not an isolated incident. That stuff is going on in jurisdictions all over the state. And we need to tackle this. Let me throw a shout out for a bill that Cole Wist is a sponsor on, that’s making its way through — I think it’s finally gotten to the House and the Senate. But it gives at least the opportunity for law enforcement to get back in the game on these home grows. You know, we had a situation, prior to this bill – the one that exists now – where you would get these 99 plant prescriptions. I mean, there isn’t a glaucoma in the world that could justify having that many plants for marijuana, and yet they’re getting 99 plants. They’re becoming quote-unquote caregivers, and turning the intereriors of nice homes in decent communities into Jurassic Park!

CAPLIS:  Yeah! [chuckles]

BRAUCHLER:  And I think Cole Wist’s bill, once it’s signed, is going to go great lengths to allow law enforcement to nip that in the bud.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. George Brauchler our special guest. [I’m] very happy to hear he’s in the race for governor.  Now, and George, this is question I’m going to pose to all the candidates and I don’t know if you have formed a position on it yet.  But I am in favor of repealing [Amendment] 64 and I believe that, you know, just as marijuana was put to the people multiple times before 64 passed, and was defeated by the people multiple times before 64 passed, that the people should have a right to vote on it again now that the people of had a chance to live with it and, from my point of view, see the many downsides. So, whether it’s going to be on the ballot in ‘18 or ‘20 is still up in the air, based upon – this is going to take a lot of money! It’s going to take a lot of money to defeat the drug dealers and all of their money, etc. Part of it is whether we can get the money.  Part of it is whether the timing is just right. But have you formed a position yet on if repeal is on the ballot in ’18, what position you would take on it?

BRAUCHLER:  Boy, that’s tough. In the short-term, I don’t think we would have the support statewide. I think we’re still in sort of that euphoric haze where we think that this is all sweetness and light because we had, you know, a hundred million dollars in tax revenue, and we don’t get a ton of focus on all the bad parts that have grown out of the failure to properly regulate it [inaudible] laws we have now. What I see, though, in this – what I think is probably a more likely successful approach, is we do what the voters asked us to do. And that is, we legalize it. We need to limit it. We need to try to regulate it. Then we need to do an assessment and see. Look, even with doing it the way it should be done — and I don’t think we know what that is, yet, and I’d like other states to wait until we figure that out – is, “Does this make sense for Colorado?” And I I support the idea that Coloradans should be able to go back and take a look and say, “You know what? We were wrong. We made a mistake. We gave it the college try. We put as much effort as we’ve put into this thing. This is bad for our kids. We can’t keep it out of their hands. This is bad for the state, and we want to undo it.” I don’t think that’s going to be 2018. I don’t think that’s going to be 2020. I still want the opportunity to try to make the will of the people from the last election cycle work — the last couple work. And if it doesn’t, then you’re going to see me at the front of the line saying, “Let’s pull this thing off of the books.

CAPLIS:  Well, George, I’m excited. I’m excited that you’re in the race. I think you bring a tremendous amount to it. I think you’re going to have an absolute blast traveling the state and meeting people and they’re going to enjoy you.  And I just hope it’s a very happy journey. And I know you never duck anything, so I know you’ll be on air with us a bunch.


CAPLIS:  We’ll do the ususal debate-type stuff, and just enjoy the journey.

BRAUCHLER:  Well, — I will. And I know you would like this part, too: the getting out and about and meeting regular people, and pressing the flesh, and having those conversations. It’s not only eye-opening. It’s meaningful. You see, like, this is really what it’s about. I cant do it from the TV. I can’t do it from the mailbox. It’s got to be in person. And I’m looking forward to that.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. Well, enjoy it and I look forward to many more conversations. Best to you! And we’ll catch you down the road!

BRAUCHLER:  Hey, thank you for having me on, Dan! Good luck! I’ll talk to you soon.

CAPLIS:  Thanks, George! Take care! That is George Brauchler, in the race. That is a very good thing for Colorado, very good thing for Colorado, because now you’re talking about –.  And again, you know, as I’ve said about Walker –Walker Stapleton—a very talented guy and we’ll have conversations on this show, as well. But I want to get back to the day where Colorado was the land of giants politically, no matter which side they were on.  And a lot of people, Casey, are so new to the state, you know, they just don’t remember those days. And there are always going to be those ideological differences, and I think it’s very, very important that our side wins — our side wins those battles –because there is such a clear difference between the conservative approach and the liberal approach, which has been proven to not work. But let’s get back to the day where you have giants. We have giants on both sides. And George fits that bill, in my mind. And I know him well. And Walker — Walker Stapleton — is another guy who fits that bill, and we look forward to having Walker on the show as soon as he formally announces. And then, one of the things about these races, when you have an open seat like this, which doesn’t come around that often, is you never know who else may get into the race. You hear all sorts of rumors and everything else, but I just think one way or another, it’s going to be very, very good that George is in this race.  And we’ll follow it closely.  […] Because it is so important to win the governor’s office, so important in so many ways.  And we’ll hear all this chatter about redistricting, and that causes eyes to glaze over. But as we all know it’s very, very important because this governor will have a major hand in redistricting, which will have a big impact on who wins and loses future races.