Ross Kaminsky Show, Jon Keyser, April 20, 2016

Station: KHOW, 630 AM

Show:     Ross Kaminsky Show

Guests:  Keyser


Date:      April 20, 2016


Click Here for Audio

HOST ROSS KAMINSKY:  Now, I am making an effort on this show to have every Republican candidate for U.S. Senate on the show.  And I have to say several of them have gotten in touch to be on with me again and I said I’m you have everybody on once before I have anybody on twice.  So continuing our conversations, I’m very pleased to have conversation today with John Kaiser Republican candidate for U.S. Senate John is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives from Jefferson County.  Good morning John thanks for being here!


KAMINSKY:  I’m good.  So the big the field right now is five of you guys:  one through the assembly and four of you who petitioned on. How are you feeling about this field and about your prospects?

KEYSER:  You know, we’re feeling great right now.  We’ve got an opportunity right here in Colorado to unseat Michael Bennet and take back our second Senate seat, here, for Republicans in 2016.  Michael Bennet has certainly been a disaster for Colorado and only I’m  going to hold him accountable for his failures in foreign policy and certainly on economic policy, as well.  And that’s really where my campaign is focued.   It’s focused on national security and on economic security. I think you can’t have one without the other.  And so,  I think as we traveled the state – thousands and thousands of miles that I’ve put on my truck so far, you know, it’s the message that we’re hearing from Coloradans and the message that I been taking to them is that, you know what, we don’t have to continue in this current trajectory, that we have been in a downward trajectory with a foreign policy that is this reckless, that’s dangerous, that is helping our enemies and alienating our friends.  We don’t have to continue with the same trajectory of having reckless runaway spending that’s going to load our kids and our grandkids with so much debt that we’ll never be able to recover.  We don’t have to live this way. We don’t have to live this way, and fortunately, in 2016, we get a choice.  And we can get rid of Michael Bennet who has voted with President Obama 98% of the time while he’s been in the Senate.  It’s really astounding.

KAMINSKY:  So, Jon, –and by the way, for those of you who maybe want to check John out, let me give you the spelling of his name because the website isto me the spelling of his name to the website is  [spells out Keyser’s name].  You can get more information about Jon.  Now, political races are primarily about two things.  One is differentiating yourself from other candidates, so let’s start with that.  How will you — what it what is your message to get Republican voters–let’s put aside the general election for a minute, put aside Bennet for a minute — how do  you get Republican voters to choose Jon Keyser over the four other gentlemen who are seeking the same nomination?

KEYSER:  Well, I think when you put us all together, you know, we all bring different strengths, different things to the table. We have some very significant policy differences between the four or five of us – whatever it might be.   But I think when you look at the kind of experience we need in Washington DC right now, it’s not more of the same.  It’s not someone who has tried and not been able to win elections.  We need someone who is going to be able to step up on the plate, and uh, who will be able to stand up next to Michael Bennet and show a very, very clear contrast – a clear contast in the Republican primary and also in the general election.  And I think that I represent that.  You know, I grew up on the Western Slope.  I’m a Colorado native, from a blue-collar family.  My dad was a construction worker and so I learned the value of hard work from a very young age.  My way up was through the military.  As you mentioned, I’m an Air Force Academy graduate, I’m a combat veteran.  I served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And so, when I’m talking about foreign policy, I’m talking about the crisis that we have right now in the Middle East.  When I’m talking about the crisis that we have on the Korean peninsula, when I’m talking about Russia, when I’m talking about South America – you know, it doesn’t really matter – these are all areas that I’ve studied, that I’ve lived, that I’ve learned because I’m a career intelligence officer.  And I still continue to serve in our reserves.  So, this is not something I read about in the foreign policy magazine.  You know, the enemy that we face right now in radical Islamic terrorists, these are people I have looked in the eye.  And they have killed my friends.  So, it’s very, very serious on national security.  And you know, of course, on foreign – on economic policy, rather, we’ve got some very, I think, clear differences on what we should do with taxes, what we ought to do to make sure we don’t get a justice liberal appointed to the Supreme Court, some very different views on education–.

KAMINSKY:  Well, let – Pause there!  Pause there for a second, Jon.  Okay, yeah.  Pause there for a second, because I’m a bit of an econ geek, myself.  And so I’m interested in – just give me your top couple of bullet points on your thoughts for tax policy, and where – and maybe where you think that differentiates you from any of the other Republican candidates.  But let’s focus on your tax policy, here.

KEYSER:  You bet!  So, let’s start with agreeing that we don’t need to raise taxes.  Okay?  I oppose raising taxes.

KAMINSKY:  Okay.  We agree.

KEYSER:  [laughing] All right!  So, you know the next thing, really, is that, you know, we need—I think we need fundamental tax reform in this country.  We need a fairer, flatter, simpler tax system.  And I think Republicans will have failed if we don’t tackle this issue.  You know, as I travel, again, thousands of miles, listened to thousands of Coloradans, not a single person has told me, “Hey, Jon, you know I really appreciate, you know, what you have to say on national security, what you have to say on repealing Obamacare, um, all these sorts of things – you know, I really like what you have to say on that but let’s lay off the tax code because I really like it.”  Nobody likes the tax system that we have. And that’s of course on the corporate side and certainly on the individual side, as well.   I think we also — part of that discussion is also the spending discussion.  I think that ultimately we need to allow Coloradans to be able to save money and you know, help their families – put food on the table and help families pay mortgages.  So, you know, we need to get spending under control and pursue a balanced budget. We have got to do that.

KAMINSKY:  So, let’s get a little specific here.  So, I mean, I think we all agree the tax code sucks. We all agree there is too much spending.  Give me a specific thing or two that you would change in the tax code and then we’ll get to the spending side in a moment.

KEYSER:  Well, as I said, you know, when we talk about specifically taxes I think there are a lot of proposals out there. I like some of them that are proposed by the presidential candidates.  I think where we need to go is fairer, flatter, and simpler. I think that it shouldn’t take a bunch of accountants and lawyers to be able to do your personal income taxes.  I don’t think you should have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get your taxes taken care of every year.  So, that’s my general framework of where I want to work with on the tax side.  Now, on the spending side, you know, we have a spending problem.  We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.  And I think, you know, we have to look at specific places where we cut.  Now, here is where I’d start.  Right now, the way we budget at the federal level, we have these omnibus budgets.  Right?  We fund the entire government with a bill that’s thousands and thousands of pages long, that’s chock-full of earmarks, and that, frankly, is exploited by special interest groups.  And they all sorts of handouts and subsidies and everything else in these large, large spending bills. And the way we do right now in Washington doesn’t make sense to me  because we have the leadership in Washington that will negotiate these huge spending bills and then drop the bill on the member’s [of Congress] desk, maybe the night before the vote, and say, “Hey, we need your vote on this.  Oh, and by the way, if you vote ‘no’, you’ll be voting to shut down our government, or you’ll be voting to not pay our military.”  You know, in Colorado, we know that’s a false choice.  That’s a false choice and we need to get away from doing that. We need to cut spending and I think the best way we can go about doing that is by separating that big budget out into twelve different budgets, that are all a budget for each department of the federal government.  I think that’s really the only way we’re going to be able to dial in as a Congress and be able to cut spending – be able to go line item by line item through budgets, through all the different regulatory agencies and figure out where exactly it is that we can cut.  Because, as it is right now, guys like Michael Bennet, their only answer is, “Hey, we need more regulations. We need more taxes.”  You know, they want to spend more money.  And it’s really interesting to me, too, you know, if you look back at 2010 when Michael Bennet was running for the Senate for the first time, Ross, he was saying things like, “You know, we have got to do something about our debt – that we’ve got to do something about our debt.  It’s immoral to pass this huge debt on to our future generations.”  And you know what?  He did do something about the debt.  He doubled it!

KAMINSKY:  Yeah, look – yeah, Michael Bennet’s is an absolute disaster, and it’s kind of appalling and embarrassing that he’s a United States Senator from Colorado. One of the other things, besides differentiating yourself from other candidates, that’s important in winning a political race is fundraising.  Recent reports showed you not doing as well on that aspect as a couple of your others.  How are you going to manage?  How do you think you’re going to be able to do in terms of raising enough money to —  really, it’s a name ID game, at this point, I think on the Republican side.  How are you going to get Republicans to know who you are?

KEYSER:  Yeah, you know, we did recently release our fundraising numbers. I was proud of the numbers that we had.  This is a — this is a tough time, right now.  Remember, we started out with a 17-way presidential primary. We started out with, I think, 13 or 14 people in the Senate race.  We’re down to just a couple of us, now.  And so, yeah, it’s been difficult raising money.  No question. So, I actually think we did very well.  We wound up with $400,000.  You know, we’re going to continue to have all the resources that we need.  I’m very confident in that.  And frankly, when assembly happened, then 1o or 9, or whatever, people fell off the ballot.  That really helped out a lot.  It helped create a lot more clarity for people.  Because you’re right, fundraising is very important.  But I think if this election cycle has taught us anything, Ross, it’s that all the money in the world can’t cover up for someone who people just don’t really like, they don’t really trust, they’re if there’s one thing f a lot more clarity or of being because you’re right on rating is very important but I think of this election cycle at all anything process that all the money in the world can’t cover up for someone who people just don’t really like, they don’t really trust, they are not confident that they will be the right person to do the job. And you know, we’ve met [inaudible]–.

KAMINSKY:  That’s true!  And you know –.

KEYSER:  –on the Republican primary side?

KAMINSKY:  Yeah.  Go ahead, Jon.  Finish your sentence.

KEYSER:  Yeah, we’re going to see it – I think in November, here.  I mean, Michael Bennet, there is no question, will have all of the backing of all the Washington DC special-interest groups that have backed his campaign.  You know, a large, large majority of his money – I think it’s something like 85% — has come from special interest groups and people outside of Colorado.  And that is no surprise.  I mean, Michael Bennet is a third-generation Washington politician.  And, you know, being a third-generation Washington politician, he’s got a lot of special interest pals that are going to make sure that he gets propped up and that they try to contribute to him so they can have him back in Washington DC, where he is right at home.

KAMINSKY:  Jon, one of the questions that I like asking the candidates – and it is a bit of a tough question—but, are there any skeletons in your closet that we’re going to find out about that maybe we should just know about now so we can think about it?

KEYSER:  [laughs] Hey, and you know what, that’s a really good question, because we want to find that stuff out now.  We don’t want to find that stuff out in, you know, October or November.  Here’s the fact of the matter.

KAMINSKY:  Like, you’re a secret [Oakland] Raiders fan, for example.

KEYSER:  [laughs]  That’s right.  Yeah! That’s right.  You know, I think there’s something that is really important to talk about.  I’m a career intelligence officer.  I’ve had a top secret security clearance my entire adult life.  So I think that says quite a bit about my past, about where I’ve been.  When I get polygraphed, you know, all these things happen where you get asked all kinds of different questions about every aspect of your life.  You know, the fact of the matter is that I’ve served our military.  I’ve served overseas.  And the time I’ve spent out of Colorado is time that I’ve spent fighting for our country, fighting for our constitutional rights, fighting for our way of life.  And there is no question that I’m vetted and that I’m battle tested, because I have served overseas and I know that I can continue to fight for our country, in a little bit different way, in the United States Senate.  And that’s exactly what I’ll do when I’m the next United States Senator from Colorado.

KAMINSKY:  […]  Jon, another thing I like to ask candidates is, what do you think the proper role is of so-called social issues in politics today and in Republican politics today?  And how much do you focus on what people broadly call social issues?

KEYSER:  Yeah. Look, they are important issues.  They’re important issues, not only in the Republican primary but they are important issues.  But my campaign is focused on national security and economic security.  That’s the kind of candidate that I am, that’s the candidate that I was, that’s the kind of representative that I was, when I represented 65% of Jefferson County in the House of Representatives.  That’s what I’ve really been focused on, is these big issues because we’ve got these massive, massive that are facing our country right now, namely things like the Iran deal that Michael Bennet voted for. We gave them $150 billion in sanctions relief, to the largest state-sponsor of terror.  We have, certainly, the clear path to a nuclear weapon that the Iran deal gave them.  But Michael Bennet supporting Barack Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo Bay—and of course, at the top of the list is bringing those ‘world’s most dangerous terrorists’ to Colorado.  You know, we cannot do this sort of thing.  We should have in place common sense measures to screen our refugees.  And that was a bipartisan effort that was supported in Colorado.  Jared Polis voted for it but Michael Bennet didn’t.  He doesn’t think that we should even screen refugees coming into the country, and this is at a time when overseas you’ve got the highest-ranking military officer in Europe saying, “You know what?  ISIS has infiltrated Europe using the refugee process.”  So, you know, these are not anecdotes. This is a strategy that radical Islamic terror has used.  And then I’m very focused also on the economic issues.  You know, I understand — growing up in a blue-collar family on the Western slope –that, you know, a lot of issues there are very important, but if you are mom or a dad and you’re struggling to make your mortgage or to pay your rent, or to put food on the table, or maybe to pay those fees so that your kids can play soccer or go to dance class, you know, those are real things that families face. And I know that. I know that because we had to deal with those sorts of things growing up.  And I think we need a United States senator that knows that Colorado is a lot bigger than the stretch of I-70 that goes from DIA to downtown Denver.  And I will represent all four corners of Colorado because I’m a Colorado native and I’ve lived all over our state.  This is a big state and I think that Colorado deserves the Senator that will keep us safe, secure, and economically prosperous.  And that is where I’m focused.

KAMINSKY:  Jon, we have to leave it there.  […]   And I guess if you’re looking for one of the many positive things one can say about Jon, just to be able to win as a Republican in the district that he represented says good things about somebody’s ability to win in a state like Colorado.  So, I thank you very much for your time, Jon.  I’m sure we’ll talk again.

KEYSER:  Thanks, Ross.  I really appreciate it.  Thanks to your listeners and I look forward to talking to you again soon.