Kelley & Kafer Show, Jon Keyser, March 16, 2016

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Kelley & Kafer Show

Guests:  Keyser


Date:      March 16, 2016

Topics:  Michael Bennet, U.S. Senate seat, Mark Udall, Cory Gardner, Military Intervention, Economic, Diplomatic, Iraq, Afghanisatan, War, Combat Veteran, Rubberstamp, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Candidates, Clown Car, Justice Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States, Advise and Consent, Senate Confirmation, Down-ticket Ballot, Presidential Race, Debate, Voting with Obama, United States Air Force Academy, Durango, Bayfield, Montrose, University of Denver Law School, House District 25, Colorado State House of Represetatives, Legislature, Congressman Tom Tancredo, Governor Bill Owens, Senator Hank Brown, endorsements, Great Dane,

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HOST KRISTA KAFER:  We’ve been talking about President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  You know, whatever happens this November with regard to the Presidency – and you know, it could go Cruz, could go Trump, could go Clinton. Either way, we have to — we absolutely have to keep control over the Senate, and that’s why I’ve said, “Hey, your vote is your responsibility. If you choose not to vote for president, you must, must, must vote those down-ticket, people!  You absolutely have to fill out your ballot.  I leave it up to you whoever you want to vote to, or not vote for in the top slot, but you’ve got to vote for the rest.  And the most important – while I say “the most important”, I think state House and state Senate are also equally important. But gaining — keeping the Senate, and in fact gaining some numbers there, are absolutely essential.  We actually have a Senate –a Senator that is ripe for the picking.  I’m talking about Sen. Bennett — Michael Bennet.  You know, lackluster — he kind of shows himself off to be a moderate, when in fact he is really, uh – well, he votes with President Obama like 98 or 99% of the time.  So, I’m getting some folks that want to run for that seat.  We’ve already had a couple on the air.  I want to bring on another candidate.  This is Jon Keyser.  Just to give you a little bit about him so he doesn’t have to blow his own horn, he is a Colorado native.  He is a United States Air Force Academy graduate, a decorated combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is also representative of the loud –of the largest house district, so he serves in the Colorado State House and I think he actually may be the district I grew up in, in Jefferson County.  Jon Keyser, welcome to the show.


KAFER:  I am doing great. Now, I am just dead set on us gaining a second Republican Senate seat.  I’m very happy that our friend Cory Gardner is sitting there where were Mark Udall once sat.  I would love to see you are or another candidate knock off Michael Bennet.  How are you going to do that?

KEYSER:  Well, I tell you what, I’m very excited to do the same thing.  And Michael Bennet has just been a partisan rubberstamp for Barack Obama and he is also of big supporter of Hillary Clinton.  So, I think you’re right when you mentioned earlier that this race is so important, because it really underscores the fact that, um, you know, Michael Bennet has been a rubberstamp 98% of the time for Barack Obama.  And there’s no reason to believe that he’d be anything different than that for — God forbid — if Hillary Clinton wins.  Now, whoever wins at the top of the ticket, –you’re exactly right — we have got to win the United States Senate.  And the way the map is drawn this year, there’s only two pick-up opportunities for Republicans in the entire United States. And one of them the Colorado.  The other one is Nevada.  And so, we’ve got to really drill down and focus on this.  And as a combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan, I will be that person who will certainly support and defend the Constitution, as I’ve sworn to do as a military officer, but I also understand the threats that we face, at home and abroad.  And I’m definitely willing to do what is necessary to keep Colorado safe, secure, and prosperous.

KAFER:  Now, you picked up some endorsements this week.  Who has endorsed you?

KEYSER:  That’s right.  So, we were honored this week to have a really broad spectrum of endorsements come in.  Congressman Tom Tancredo endorsed us.  Former Governor Bill Owens endorsed us.  And also, former United States Senator Hank Brown endorsed us.  So, I think what we’re seeing on our campaign is a broad appeal that is really starting to unite the party, because frankly, there’s a lot of people that are running for the United States Senate.  But in order to beat Michael Bennet, we’ve got to be laser focused.  And I’m focused on national security and economic security.  Also, certainly germane to your discussion here earlier, I’m very focused on preserving and protecting our constitutional rights, because I believe they hang in the balance right now with the unfortunate passing of Justice [Antonin] Scalia.

KAFER:  They certainly do hang in the balance. I like the fact that you’re drawing endorsements from both the grassroots and also from what some may call the establishment—although, I hate to use that word because it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.  But it is important.  Our Party is in kind of a difficult spot.  There are – there has been a lot of division, to have the support of both sides—I hate the fact that there even is a “both sides”.  There should be—it should be all of us seeking the same goal.  But to get both Tom Tancredo and also Bill Owens is – and Hank Brown! – is pretty impressive.  I want to ask you about foreign affairs.  And particularly, I’ve been struggling of late to get a sense of when it is a good idea to have military intervention.  And I been reading all kinds of books on it.  [I] just read — just finished Henry Kissinger by Neil Ferguson.  I’ve read some books by Paul. I just read The Looming Tower, really trying to grapple with when is it prudent to get involved.  Because there are times that we should intervene and other times we should not.  What is – well, I guess — what is your thinking on that?  What are your sort of first principles when it comes to whether or not we should invade, or respond militarily?

KEYSER:  Well, I think the most important thing is that we need to send somebody to the United States Senate has been to war, because let me tell you, I don’t know anyone that has been to war that wants to go to war.  But there are in fact times that it is appropriate to go to war.  And when we do that, we have to make sure that we have a strategy that will allow our United States military to go in and to succeed.  And then when we’ve accomplished our mission, we have got to be able to get out of there.  And the fact of the matter is that under Barack Obama we have had no strategy.  Al Qaeda is larger than it’s ever been.  Now we have ISIS that continues to grow in power, and continues to indoctrinate little kids in schools, teaching them how to cut heads off.  And it is absolutely terrible. I think it’s immoral what we’re doing right now.  So, I think that the way that we– the way that I would go about that thought process, of how we project power around the world — certainly the United States should not be the world’s police. But the way we project power really is in three ways.  Diplomatically is one.  Economically is another one.  And in my mine, militarily is the last resort is it should be the last resort.

KAFER:  It should be the last resort.  That’s for certain.  Uh, turning now to what you’ve done in the Colorado state House –.  Of course, it’s tough being in the minority. We do have the majority in the Senate, but we’re in the minority in the House.  What have you – what has been your top priorities as you’ve served in that seat?

KEYSER:  Well, you know, my representation in the House of Representatives – and I actually resigned my seat in the House of Representatives in order to be able to run full-time to beat Michael Bennet.  I’m a fiscal conservative, and you know, frankly, this isn’t Washington DC. I didn’t want to be missing votes and not giving everything that I had to my constituents in Jefferson County.  And so I, as a fiscal conservative, decided that it was best that we have a transition and there was a – my replacement was selected.  But things that I focused on while I was representing House District 25–which is 65% of Jefferson County– were things like repealing regulation, repealing laws that –which is sort of a novel concept.  I mean, you hear legislators all the time talk about, “Well, I passed so many laws.”  There were something like 700 new laws last year.  But I focused on ways that we could tear pages out of the statute books.

KAFER:  Nice.

KEYSER:  I focused on veterans’ issues. And I’m a fiscal conservative. I think one of the things that got to be a very big topic of discussion, particularly in the primary election here, is going to be the budget. And last year, the largest spending bill in Colorado history was proposed.  It was the largest year-over-year increase in Colorado history, and you know, I stood up and I voted against that budget.  Now, there were Republicans and Democrats that were united in furthering Gov. Hickenlooper’s agenda there, but I said, “You know what?  This isn’t the right thing to do.  We’ve got to be fiscally conservative, and that budget was not fiscally conservative.  So, those are the things that I focused on while I was in the legislature.

KAFER:  What I love about your background – sitting here looking at your website — is your roots are similar to mine.  I—when I grew up, my mom was a homemaker and my dad was a tire salesman.  And they set an amazing example for me in their work ethic and their level of this country.  Your roots are very similar.  Tell us about growing up in Colorado.

KEYSER:  Absolutely.  Well, I am a Colorado native.  I’m second generation Colorado native. I grew up on the Western Slope, and my dad was a construction worker. My mom worked odd jobs to help make ends meet.  And we lived for the first part of my life in the Four Corners area – so, Durango and Mayfield.  That’s where I grew up because my dad didn’t work in the oil and gas industry, but he – in the construction industry, he certainly supported the boom that was going on with Amoco and the shale boom that was going on in the Four Corners. But, you know, suddenly that the bubble burst, and we wound up moving up to Montrose, Colorado.  And I graduated from high school there, and was very fortunate, frankly, because my way up was through the military. I received an appointment to attend our United States Air Force Academy and had a lot of very fantastic opportunities there.  [I] really hadn’t been anywhere or done a whole lot, coming from a blue-collar, hard-working Colorado family. But certainly in the military and even while I was just at the Academy, I was a member of our Air Force parachuting team, and was a freefall instructor and a jump master.

KAFER:  That’s crazy!

KEYSER:  I got to travel the world!  You know, it really is.  It was my way up.  And I think that’s a stark contrast to Michael Bennet, where – you know, he is a third-generation Washington politician.  You know, and he grew up in Washington DC.  You know, his grandfather and his father both worked in Washington.  And so, you know, that’s really who he is and what he knows.  But, you know, I grew up in Colorado with a blue-collar family and I think Colorado common sense is something that was instilled in me at a very early age.

KAFER:  Well, I never could understand how somebody could jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  But, uh –.

KEYSER:  “I’ve never seen such a thing!”  That’s what we always like to say!  “There’s no such thing as ‘a perfectly good airplane.’”

KAFER:  [laughing] I, uh, I’m terrified of heights.  I have worked through my fear of spiders, but my fear of heights is such that I will never – well, you never say never, but I hope I never jump out of an airplane.  I think it would take a lot of Xanax for me to be able to pull that one off.   I want to ask you about a current – a current dilemma, um, and that is the Supreme Court.  Of course, Scalia – his passing [was] very sad, because he was a great Justice.  But right now, the Senate has linked arms.  The conservatives, the moderates, and the Republican senators are refusing to do any hearing.  Some say that’s the best strategy.  What do you think?

KEYSER:  Well, you know what?  I’ve been very consistent on this, and I think I’ve been the conservative leader this here in the Colorado Senate race.  Um, you know, I immediately said when I saw that Barack Obama called into the White House– as soon as he heard about the passing of Justice Scalia – when he called into the White House his political advisers so that our Divider in Chief could figure out how he could use the unfortunate death of a wonderful Justice – in Justice Scalia – how he could use that as a political opportunity to further divide this country and further score political points in a campaign season, I – you know, I said, “Look, we have got to allow the next Senate – and the next President —  to pick our Supreme Court Justice that would replace Justice Scalia.”  And, you know, when I’m in the United States Senate, I’m going to support someone who is in the vein of Justice Scalia, because we’ve got to have a Justice on the court like Justice Scalia, that does believe in the four corners of the written Constitution, that that truly is an originalist.  And that will protect our –for example, our Second Amendment rights.  I mean, Justice Scalia authored the Heller decision, which ensured the individual right to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens.  And that’s just absolutely critical.  So, this is a hyper- partisan environment that we’re in right now.  And I don’t think the Supreme Court should be hyper- partisan. I don’t even want it to be political. I think we need to look at the merits of the individual nominees.  But right now is not the time to do it. And so, I guess, in that regard I agree with Vice President Joe Biden, when he said – I think it was in the 90s –.

KAFER:  [chuckles]

KEYSER:  He said, “You know what?  We should never do this in the run up to an election.”   I just think that we need to make sure that we appoint the right person to replace Justice Scalia, and somebody who is a constitutional conservative.

KAFER:  So, Biden was right, at least once.  And that’s –

KEYSER:  At least once!

KAFER:  [laughing] You know, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn on occasion.  And one last question:  it appears that you are also a dog lover.

KEYSER:  Absolutely, I am!  My wife and I have — when we were in law school –we went to the University of Denver.  And when we were in law school we were studying for the Bar exam, and so we had actually a little bit of free time.  We were going to classes all day. And we wanted somebody to keep us company.  So, we did a lot of research, and we wound up getting a steel blue Great Dane.  His name is Duke, and he’s about 165 pounds, now. And my kids absolutely love him.  Great Danes are phenomenal dogs, for those who aren’t familiar with them.  And he is so patient, and he is just enormous!  But he is a fantastic member of our family.

KAFER:  Well, those big breeds — Great Danes and mastiffs, you know, Bernese mountain dogs, any of the big dogs – seem to be pretty darn good with kids.  Well, Jon Keyser, give us your website so folks can check you out.

KEYSER:  You bet.  Thanks a bunch, Krista.  I really appreciate you having me on.  My website is, and I spell it J-O-N-K-E-Y-S-E-R.  So,, and certainly we’re on social media and all that stuff:  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all those things.  So, I would love to have people come and communicate with us through social media or on the website.  I would love to earn your support.

KAFER:  That sounds great.  And when is there going to be another debate so people can see you live and in action?

KEYSER:  Uh, you know what?  I’m not sure when the next debate is, but I do know that NBC announced — I think yesterday –that there will be a live televised debate on April 5.  I think that’ll be on channel 20, at 7 p.m.

KAFER:  And they’ll crowd and all 35 of you –or however many there is – onstage?

KEYSER:  I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to show a very clear contrast between the candidates.  And we’ll be able to demonstrate, you know, who the person will be to carry the conservative mantle forward as we go ahead and beat Michael Bennet here in the fall.

KAFER:  Excellent!  Well, Jon, I don’t take sides in primaries but I think you’re off to a great start.  Actually, I do take – sometimes I do take sides in primaries. I take that back.  So don’t — people out there, don’t send me any emails. I do sometimes take sides, but not on this time.  I have sort of taken sides in the Presidential debate.  But in this Senate debate there are a lot of great people running.  We’ve got to – I’ve enjoyed showcasing them on the show.  Jon, thanks for coming on today.

KEYSER:  Krista, thanks so much!  I really appreciate it.  And thanks to all your listeners, as well.

KAFER:  Thanks!  Have a great day!

KEYSER:  You too!

KAFER:  Bye!