Jimmy Sengenberger Show, Mike Kopp, April 9, 2014

Station:   Velocityradio.fm

Show:      Jimmy Sengenberger Show

Guests:    Kopp

Link:        http://www.velocityradio.fm/category/the-jimmy-sengenberger-show/

Date:       April 9, 2014

Topics:            Former Minority Leader, State Senator, Entrepreneur, Rhode Island Congressman, Steve Laffey, The Denver Post,  John Hickenlooper, Amendment S, Employment, Household Income, Mark Ferrandino, Economy, Lower Taxes, Spending, Business Personal Property Tax, Developing Energy Resources, Energy Sector, Renewable Energy, Veto, Medicaid, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Welfare, Opportunity, Private Sector, Legislature, School Boards, Elections, Amendment 66, Blueprint for Leaner Government, Transportation, Douglas County, Local Control, Bully Pulpit, Standards, Accountability, School Financing, Jefferson County, School Choice, Competition, Vouchers, Failing Schools, education, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Quality, Teachers Unions, General Assembly, Steve House, Tom Tancredo, Scott Gessler, Campaign

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[The following represents notes and transcribed portions from an interview.  All portions, except where identified as transcribed sections, are paraphrased from the questions and responses between the host and the guest.]

HOST JIMMY SENGENBERGER:  Did you see the story in the Post this morning about Hick’s personnel overhaul costing millions?


  • Thanks for bringing to my attention
  • Usually I read WSJ and Denver Post
  • But this morning had to get kids to school

SENGENBERGER:  Candidates are still working, dealing with family.

Governor hired more than 300 at-will employees between November ’12 and January of this year costing $21M in what was supposed to be a revenue neutral move.  Also claims of contributors getting positions in increased staff.  Surprising that Denver Post is reporting it.  What do you react?


  • Not new
  • Not surprising
  • What Ritter did
  • Hickenlooper has done it too
  • Past 3 years since Hick took office
    • Government growth in double digits
    • Employment growth continues to falter
    • Household income is down $6,000 on avg per family
    • 87,000 more on food stamps,
    • My feeling about it
      • Government function in society is limited
      • Consent of the people to govern.
      • People are feeling like the servant to the Government master.
        • Wants more
        • Taking more
        • Making itself bigger
        • Costs going up
        • Regulations and entanglements are becoming more compounding and more encompassing.
      • While traveling around the state, I ask, “do you feel more empowered, more free, in your personal lives since Ritter/Hick, or less so?
        • Surprisingly powerful response
        • The response is revulsion almost – people are feeling this
        • When government grows, it is doing what Jefferson predicted it would do
      • Only way to get this under control:
        • Clear eyed leadership
        • And a plan that can push it back
        • That’s what I propose and have planned to do since entering the race
          • It what I did while in the senate

SENGENBERGER:  Household income down $6000, but salaries jumped 91% over total at will salaries in 2012… (from $31M to $59.5M) –dramatic increase in salaries and hiring in state gov., while the hiring is stagnant in the rest of the state.  What does that tell you about Hick’s direction following Ritter, and government tendencies.


  • I sat in the chamber when governor made first state of the state address, and during inauguration,
    • He said he’d streamline government
    • Make it more efficient
    • My concern:  employers growing, making it easier to hire
    • He said, “I’m not partisan, I’m middle of the road, I’m not a politician”
  • Yet this administration has more liberal, more progressive, and bigger government agenda than his predecessor, Ritter
    • And Ritter didn’t make those extravagant claims like hick did
    • If you don’t have a leader that casts a clear vision and clear agenda
    • Natural tendencies of bureaucracies

SENGENBERGER:  Can you call us back?  Bad connection.

This is a governor who repeats over and over that he is bipartisan, doesn’t want to be hard-left, wants to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, just like Obama, and then the way they govern is full of patronage, bias, political partisanship

And a whole swath of issues, difficulties and challenges that we now face as a state and as a people as a result of these decisions of government … from ppl who claim to be not partisan

[commercial break]

SENGENBERGER:  There is a bill that has been attempted several times, pushed by Renfroe, to make illegal red light cameras. Banishing them in Colorado, now it’s gaining tractions, after a bipartisan group is endorsing it.  Mark Ferrandino, speaker of the House, says these cameras just create revenue for cities and don’t improve safety.  I’m on board

Mike– last thing you mentioned, Governor needs to have clear and consistent vision for CO, both short and long term.  What’s yours?


  • Excellent question
  • Leadership quote:  in the absence of great dreams, pettiness prevails.
    • Need to animate people with your vision which informs and directs
      • Cabinet
      • Agencies
      • legislature
      • What we have is typical.
        • Agency heads are growing their departments
        • Things appear to be running fairly unchecked
        • You need to have guiding vision on day one
          • b/c you’re going to have challenges from the outset
  • We need a governor who will empower people and not the government
    • Specific action steps – 4 critical pieces
      • Grow economy based on lowering taxes and low spending
      • Lead with the veto pen
        • Tell legislature on day one
        • Some of you may like, some won’t
        • If you send me bills that don’t allow for rebate to taxpayers, I’m putting your bill in the veto pile

SENGENBERGER:  [sarcastically] Governors can veto bills????


  • It’s actually spelled [spells the word]
  • We ought to unearth it here
  • I’ve heard opponents in the race say that CO has a fairly weak role for governor
    • Not true
    • Demonstrates a misunderstanding of the powers vested in the office of governor in the state constitution

SENGENBERGER:  Vetoes haven’t happened with this governor – even in this session, where Dems are trying to moderate themselves.  Why doesn’t the gov use his veto pen?


  • Underscoring the point:  if you don’t draw the terms of the debate going forward, you have no public accountability
    • Not leadership
    • You take things on as they come
    • Reactive
    • Going along to get along
    • Finding shades of gray so you can finesse issues as they come your way
  • My clear, compelling, guiding agenda will create more opportunity, more freedom, more individual empowerment, and you can do that pretty powerfully through the veto pen
  • We need a governor who will go on beyond saying ‘no’ Think about the overreach that has happened in last two administrations.
    • Build coalitions within agencies and in the legislature
    • In order to undo, unwind these infringements and restrictions placed on the people.
    • People feel less empowered
      • Their resigned to big gov. they’ve truly embraced this notion
      • Unless someone presents clear compelling approach to fighting back
  • That means we need to:
    • Eliminate the business personal property tax — we need to create a plan to get rid of it and get rid of it
      • A tax on equipment biz uses to make money
      • Guiding the conversation around energy
        • Put people in agency head positions  who are in favor of developing energy resources  — not people who want more strictures
        • Tell the legislature, if you cook up these backroom deals, these crony capitalism deals, that favor one energy sector (renewable) at the expense of rate payers in the state, I’ll veto that bill
      • Secondly, we need a governor who has a plan on day one that can cut government down to size… in two areas
        • We’ve got a regulatory burden being placed on our businesses that is growing and growing
          • Like a mummy, covered in red tape from Hick
          • Hick said he’d cut red tape,,, but in 2012 there were 14,000 pages of new regulations.
          • Regulations are lost opportunities
            •  No pay raises
            • Killed jobs
            • Business that aren’t going to expand and invest and create opportunities and jobs here in CO
            • That hurts kids,
            • That hurts 200,000 trying to find meaningful work and get off welfare rolls,
      • My Plan:  Blueprint for a Leaner Government
        • Multi-disciplinary process in period of two years, review every regulation
        • With goal of driving down the cost of being a regulated business in 2 years

SENGENBERGER:  How do you calculate/ measure the cost of regulation?


  • One problem with regulation, there are no real measures.
  • You have to create measures
  • The only real way to do it, is for each industry to understand what their cost of compliance is.
    • They’re the ones guiding the conversation with the government
    • Instead of legislation crafting law that agencies implement,
      • Saying:  1 page of legislation creates 10 pages of regulation
      • Our biz environment and  freedom is being harmed by this tidal wave or regulations year after year after year
      • What if we bring businesses in and ask them to help us understand where we are regulating you poorly —
        • Where we can drive down cost of your compliance burden
        • Goal:  do that by 25%
        • Everyone knows that we’ll keep certain regulations in place,
          • For instance, we in CO protect the environment
          • But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to shut down operation sfor oil and gas, like so many in Dem party wants to do
          • I’m the only one in the race who is willing to create a measure –25%
          • And so my success will be measured by that

SENGENBERGER:  Cutting government waste. Scaling back spending….  Education and Medicaid suck up so many resources.  Little room for other areas.  Cuts have to happen.  What would you do to cut spending and eliminate waste


  • Glad you asked
  • Second part of my Blueprint
    • Half deals with regulatory burden to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit, put more money on the bottom line of businesses that want to hire people
      • Getting people of welfare rolls
      • Giving wealth and opportunity
      • Other half is huge:  deals with the state’s bureaucracy
        • Blueprint drafted in 2010
        • Go through every single function of government in two years
        • We compare that function against a set of values.
          • And ask
            • Has this program run its course?
            • Is this something that gov should be involved in?
          • Do it in an open public setting
            • So that these programs have to stand up to public scrutiny
            • When you expose these things to light of day they simply are not justifiable
              • But there’s no mechanism to expose to light of day
              • We need to examine them
              • Keep some that are valuable
              • Fix the ones that are broken
              • And get rid of the rest
      • Another question that needs to be asked:  is this something that is done by another branch of government (redundant), or something that the non-profit sector could do?  Or something the Private sector could do?
        • If yes, — you’ve Created a road map for yourselves
        • That can stand the light of scrutiny
        • That can get support in legislature irrespective of the make up
        • You proceed with driving down the cost-size complexity of government
        • I don’t want to stream line
          • I want something much more transformative than that.
          • Because our gov. is too big and it isn’t just a Republican talking point, it is a road map to creating more freedom and more opportunity
  • You can’t do these things without a plan
    • I have a plan
    • It will work
    • I need people’s help
      • To get on ballot, first of all
      • And so I can execute
  • It’s time that we get ‘er done,
  • We can do this work

SENGENBERGER:  I want to ask you about education, because I think it’s a huge winning issue for Republicans based on the reform outcomes we had on school boards in last elections and the defeat of Amendment 66.  (2 to 1).  What do you think needs to be done to improve education and increase efficiencies and cost in education?


  • Cost:  the purpose for doing the Blueprint for Leaner Government
    • Is to make huge significant structural changes in how we govern ourselves
      • Drive down costs
      • Back to core functions, get rid of those parts of government that we never should have been involved in.
        • They’re costing taxpayers money
        • More importantly, they cost people freedom
      • Then you have lean, pared down government that can focus exclusively on the government’s tasks
        • Education
        • Transportation
        • Before you even contemplate adding additional revenue through taxation, which I am adamantly opposed to, you would have to, in good faith, go through a process like I’m talking about (auditing agencies)
  • Education
    • I am a champion of what is happening in Douglas County and Jefferson County
    • Local control matters, it makes a big difference
    • As governor, if you’re using the bully pulpit to set the agenda and push decisions about standards and student learning and accountability and financing and you push them to local communities
      • No one cares more than parents
      • If there is a meaningful opportunity to be involved, they will move the dial out of concern for their children
      • All my kids went through Jeffco
        • 3 have gone through what is historically been one of the top 25 high schools in the country
      • Local control matters
      • Choice and competition matter terrifically
      • I’m a supporter of going down the road of vouchers, especially for kids in failing schools, they need to get out of those schools as quickly as possible
      • And I’ll say another general point about my outlook on education.  You know there is no single factor that impacts the learning of our kids more than the teacher and the quality of that teacher.  We should be able to pay great teachers more money, but the unions won’t let us do it.
      • Making a change like that would make a dramatic difference

SENGENBERGER:  Politics of this Saturday, and the General Assembly.  Steve House reported that Tancredo IS actually going through Assembly – even though he said he was petitioning on, and wouldn’t go through assembly, I’d heard that there was a front runner in Gessler and 5 people at least going thru assembly process.  What do you think will happen?  What are your chances of making the ballot?


  • I tell you, [laughing] I don’t know if Tom will go to Assembly
  • My campaign has been surging for months now
  • I feel very good about our prospects on Saturday
  • I think we’re going to show very well
  • Our direct calls and direct voter contact have been going exceptionally well.
  • [pitch to delegates who might be listening]
  • ColoradoforKopp.com