Seng Center, Danny Stroud, 4/28/2011

Station: KRCX

Show: Seng Center

Guest: Danny Stroud


Date: 4/28/2011

Time: 0:03:00

Topics: Redistricting lawsuit, Denver Mayoral race.

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Sengenberger: Hear in studio with me I’m very pleased to welcome back to the show a friend of the program Danny Stroud.  He is the chairman for the Denver Republican Party, which I got to tell you can’t be a very easy role can it Danny?

Stroud: Depends on what you compared to.

Sengenberger: That’s a good point.  Well if you compared to say well water bordering how to come out?

Stroud: Well it is a difficult job but I have to tell you and I have known each other for a couple years now and you know that I really enjoy this because I feel invested in its emotionally.  The mission that we are on to save our republic essentially.  When you have that sort of inwardly emanating motivation it doesn’t seem nearly as hard as a probably would be if it was work.

Sengenberger: Yes I here that and of course you have ran for a very tough race for the state House of Representatives and I am very pleased to see that you have taken on the reins of the Denver Republican Party after the election and you said, you know what, I’m going to throw my hat into this position and you got it and it’s not easy job so kudos to you.  Do see any potential to…right now we got the Denver Mayoral race going on.  You have Chris Romer and some others other out there have you handicapped, do see any potential that we could get a decent Mayor and the city?

Stroud: Well that depends again on your perspective you know there are, for the most part, they are all Democrats with Democratic agendas and know what you are going to get. I think the idea that we have at the Denver GOP regarding the Mayoral race is to do our civic part to get the awareness up of the platforms of the habits and the agendas of each every one of the candidates.  Get it out there so that citizens can make a good choice. One of them is going to be the Mayor no doubt about that but we ought to get the one that is vetted if you want to mean.

Sengenberger: I know some of the Republicans in the state Senate, for example so there Greg Brophy and Nancy Spence have actually endorsed Chris Romer.  Would you make of Chris Romer of the state Representative…Senator…? I can’t recall.

Stroud: Yea Chris Romer was a state Senator from SD 32.

Sengenberger: What do you make of him?

Stroud: You know I like Chris Romer.  We always have a jovial conversation and I would not mind having him as my neighbor but I tell him the same thing but as he has got an agenda that doesn’t match with what I think needs to happen here in Denver.  So we differ considerably on policy

Sengenberger: Right. Would you make right now how Gov. Hickenlooper for has done in terms of his job performance so far?

Stroud: Well… you know I have been kind of heads down, you know. Sort of bailing my own boat here but he is done some things that surprised me. His approach to the budget and I think he is genuinely into it but you know they say leopard does not change the spots. So we will see how it goes over time.

Sengenberger: So the political climate here in Colorado has been very fascinating.  2010 elections we had a very mixed bag in terms of Secretary of State and Attorney General and the State Treasurer were all Republicans and of course we had we also had some congressional pickups. We had Scott Tipton, Corey Gardner for example and of course we had the loss of the governorship, which that was a whole debacle that can go back and replay if we want to but I don’t think that’s necessary. But we have a divided State House and State Senate. State House controlled by the Republicans state. State Senate controlled by Democrats.  What are we can make of this confusing mixed political climate Colorado right now?

Stroud: Well I can tell you what we’re making of it. We have got our eyes set on two objectives. 1. Is that we are not going to leave any race at any level uncontested if we can make that happen. We have four council candidates running in four different districts. I don’t know how long it’s been since you have that many in Denver. We’re going to contest the school board in the fall. So that’s the first thing we’re doing. We’re saying we’re not going to just sit here and take this beating if you will.  The second most important objective and if you look at the numbers over history and you look at Denver. Denver can change the outcome of Colorado by what we call move the needle 5 points/5 percent. If we can get 5 percent more votes on the conservative side of the ledger in 2012 we can do our part to ensure the 9 Electoral College votes in Colorado go to the Republican nominee and we get to be a red state in 2012.  So we have those two objectives and we are heads down on both them.

Sengenberger: What can the people do in the city of Denver, especially when we’re talking about college students, what can they do to get involved in the political process? Get active and help influence some of these local elections. Which, interestingly, most people don’t participate in the local elections despite the fact that they are the ones that most effect you.

Stroud: Yea all politics is local and most of policies that really affect your day-to-day life come from City Council and school boards and stuff like. One of the things that we’re doing in the Denver County GOP we’re trying to use a business phrase, “flatten the organization.” Make it so more people can get involved on small projects. So not everything is boiling the ocean.  We are empowering individuals who have a passion for something. We have one of the district captains whose really excited about leading the charge and having a good presence for the Republican Party at the Cinco De Mayo. We are changing the tactic to approach to whole thing.  Little projects… there are a bunch of people that say they can do better with new media and with web pages and that sort of communications and they are taking the ball and running with it. To answer your question directly- if somebody has something they like to do whether it would be write or do or something, they just have to let it be known. In my shop we’re taking all the help we can get on I call them micro projects. If someone wants to do it, then they can do it. We are working on batting average here. We are hoping to get a lot of things right so we don’t have to do everything right.

Sengenberger: We’re down here in studio and our guest Danny Stroud, of course, is the Denver County GOP chairman and we are also joined here down in studio by Tim Lewis, a sophomore here at Regis and a college Republican. One of use college Republican renegades. Do to any questions or comments here?

Lewis:  I actually do. We talk about the analogy of the batting average; I’m a baseball player. And some of these micro projects. What are some of the projects that the Republicans are trying to do because we hear about the national Republican agenda and the cuts that they were trying to get pushed through. What are some things that are getting done here in Denver by the Republican Party? Some of the micro level issues that you’re going after.

Stroud: The party in Denver, none of us are elected to the Legislature so we have no governing authority. We are the machine that helps the Republican Party function so some of the things we do may not be so glamorous but like neighborhood flier campaigns for example. If you got a good relationship in your neighborhood. You probably live in the dorm or something but if you were little bit older living off campus you might host a beer popcorn thing on Friday night and we would invite somebody from the Legislature or somebody that’s an opinion leader in come talk to people. That something you can do, it’s really easy to do; it doesn’t take a lot of money. The other thing is we like to find people who have connections to specific people or organizations like this one here where we can get a platform and so everybody knows somebody. So to get involved in making those connections, that’s another thing that can get done.

Sengenberger: Tim let me ask you this question that might be helpful to the local Republican Party. Really any level Republican Party is engaging young voters in the political process, especially young conservatives and young Republicans. What do you think the parties can do to motivate that type of action amongst young folks?

Lewis: Well its difficult. I’m actually not from the Denver area. I’m from Lake Tahoe, California. There, obviously, Republicans are very, very scarce. But that’s just one thing. Getting out and trying to get people to vote. That’s what I’ve done in the past since I was 18. My parents told me they’ve committed to me how important voting is. But I have a lot of friends who don’t and I feel like if we communicate how important voting is and how important our roles can be in the community and how we can stand up that things could be better. We could get more votes out there and do certain things that allow us to be able to get out there and make a difference because I feel that as a young college Republican there is not so much that we can do and that’s not really the truth all the time.

Sengenberger: Danny, do you have any thoughts on this?

Stroud: That was like a softball question just today we were teaching a class at one of the high schools here in Denver at the request of a teacher to come and talk to their 17 and 18-year-olds, seniors mostly. They wanted someone to explain to them how the election process works, how campaigns work, sort of how the politics work in general and it was very enlightening. I wasn’t in the class but I got feedback from people I think we can benefit from having young people talk to other young people in classes. Today a light bulb went on today for me and what you just said made it a little brighter for me is I think it should start to have mentoring programs maybe or something like where folks like you are looking for an outlet will marry up with one.

Sengenberger: Tim, any additional thoughts on this? I mean one thing that I’ve noticed about young people… college students, there tends to be a substantial amount of apathy. Is it just because they don’t think they can influence the process or is there more to it than that in your mind?

Lewis: I to have to say that to the young people I feel a its just because they feel like they wont be directly affected by the decisions and a lot of times that might be one of the reasons why a young person might not go out and vote. They feel that it’s more decision that might affect their parents and so the young person.

Sengenberger: You know Danny I think that when I hear that sort of argument I think you’re right. Most college students really do think that this doesn’t affect them. This is something my parents should worry about. College tuition costs have been skyrocketing and what is the state government looking at cutting- higher education. Now that wouldn’t have the much effect on Regis we are a private institution but for CU, CSU, metro- all these other states institutions, they’re the ones are going to be hit by this. So it really does directly affect college students across the board.

Stroud: Well like I always tell my kids, I have two kids in college and I was tell them if I don’t have money you don’t have money. And they get that. When it starts hitting their pocket book on the trickle-down effect of the parents picking up airplane tickets for Easter weekend and things that that, when that starts going away they do start to feel that. You know, times are tough for everybody.

Sengenberger: It all ties really to politics and the political process. Do we raise taxes? Do we raise spending? Do we cut spending? What do we do? And these all really do have direct impacts on every one of us.

Stroud: Well you act like it’s a dilemma.

Sengenberger: I think it is a dilemma!

Stroud: No it isn’t. We just cut spending, it really simple.

Sengenberger: I think the dilemma comes in when the politics are involved and the politicians become unwilling to take that sort of action and then we end up getting in a deeper and deeper hole.

Stroud: Yea you’re right and I do not want to simplify it.  If you sit down and do the math, which you watch Fox News and whatever. There is always somebody who’s doing the math and you translate that to what you do with your own budget. This is just imponderable! It’s unsustainable. It becomes really clear in your own budget. When you run out of money, what do you do? You stop spending it because you don’t have it. It’s easy.

Sengenberger: If only Washington D.C. and Denver is kind of getting it but I don’t think quite there at the capital. If only Washington D.C. most certainly would get it we would be on the right track. We’re going to take quick break on Singh Center. Our guest Danny Stroud, Chairman of the Denver County Republicans

Sengenberger: Down in the studio once more for a few more minutes with their guests Danny Stroud Denver County Republican Party chairman. You’re really braving some stuff taking on that position my friend. And Tim Lewis, a sophomore at Regis where he is also a college Republicans. We were just talking about some of the struggles dealing with the debt, government spending, with things that this country is facing that the state is facing. A striking article last week in USC today really put some of this into perspective for me. Reliance on Uncle Sam hits a record. USA Today reports that Americans depend more on government assistance in 2010 than at anytime in the nation’s history. A USA today analysis of federal data finds the trend shows few signs of easing, even though the economic recovery is nearly two years old. A record 18.3 percent of the nation’s total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs. In 2010 wages accounted for the lowest share of income- 51 percent since the government began keeping track in 1929. More people are reliant, Danny, on the government right now, good old Uncle Sam, then they were throughout the great Depression. What does that tell us about what is going on in our climate right now?

Stroud: Well, I could be cynical and say that people are figure out when you can vote benefits to yourself that’s kind of where we are at. That is a cynical approach but probably more reasoned and friendly approach is to say it’s complicated right now. The world has come together. The half-life of technology is faster. We’ve got a lot more strife and strife is the wars. Wars are projected farther. So it’s just tough and companies are getting more conservative about growing and hired and spending. Employees or people will not necessarily move as readily a job for they might have the ’90s or ’80s and it’s complicated. Bottom line is a lot of people are liking those benefits.

Sengenberger:  Nearly 20 percent of personal income coming from the federal government. There is no way that we can sustain that, especially at the rate at our national debt is growing.

Stroud: Well, I like to think of it as it is not coming from the federal government, it’s coming for me. The federal government gets its money from me, and you, and people like us. And China but we are paying the debt on that. You think about that. Your neighborhood, look up and down the street. 18 percent of their incomes is coming from transfer payments. It’s staggering.

Sengenberger: Tim, looking out what’s going on as young American, somebody of the next generation of leaders that will be coming up over the years. Having to live the policy that are being put in place now on national debt is getting racked up. What does hearing this news about how many of people are reliant on the government more than any point in history of this country… what does that mean to you? How do you take that?

Lewis: I actually did see that article in the USA Today a couple days ago. It all comes back to me as a young person I think my Dad as I see articles like that. My dad is a small-business owner back home and I think of the money that his taxes and a lot of them are state taxes of California and some of them are more difficult to explain than others. I’m actually working on the study for my econometrics class on a correlation between unemployment disbursements and the unemployment rate. And right now there’s a positive correlation which means that the more we are spending on our unemployment the rate is going up. It gets at the idea of well if people are getting this money they will have a disincentive to work. Given that it is a difficult time out there and people are hurting. So it’s difficult to say that some people may not deserve this money. At the same time people need jobs. People need to get jobs and that’s the main part about how I see it.

Sengenberger: Danny, how as a Republican supposed to deal with this situation which you have so many people who in the midst of this recession are relying on this government income. Yet at the same time we need to be cutting government spending and we need to be reeling it in. How in the world are Republicans supposed to make that case?

Stroud: Well, first off, it takes both physical and moral courage. You got to be able to withstand slings and arrows and the accusations to make the tough decisions. If you look at where… we talk about efficiencies all the time. I’m a businessman and you can only get so much out of efficiencies. You actually have to stop doing things. So maybe it’s incremental. I always we say this, this is the on that gets me in all sorts of trouble, I just say lets pick a federal agency: Department of Education, Department of Energy, and just eliminate it. Just eliminate it. We’ll give them notice on Friday and say that your department doesn’t exist anymore. That would save a lot of money. It’s very unpopular and probably no politically feasible. If I was running a business and I was losing money hand over fist. I would say lets shut down that sales office down or I’m going to discontinue a product line. And that takes courage to do that because you’ve been lay people off and all that. There is a circular thing that people don’t understand that when you shrink government and leave the money in the private sector, jobs are created, which then allows other things to happen. It’s that cyclic process that when it is linear in one-way, all the money doing to the government you can’t get it down. To answer the question specifically, we just got to decide what we are not going to do anymore and to heck with the slings and arrows. You got to have the courage to take that heat.

Sengenberger: Tim Lewis, how willing do you think college students would be to accept the idea of cutting massive government programs welfare projects and that sort of things? Would college students except that or would they revolt against the Republicans like they have in the past?

Lewis: Well I’m thinking as a student students and as to talk about earlier of tuition, some of things that get cut is some segments of education. So it would be difficult it say some part of education were cut and making tuition probably go higher. That would be really hard for someone like me to come with or at any college shouldn’t really. So it depends on what gets cut. If we are making the right decisions here.

Sengenberger: I’m looking out into the future Danny. Especially with regards to the national debt issues and other issues that are really pressing. What might happen in the year 2012? Of course right now chairman of the Denver Republican Party you are already gearing up for things that will happen in 2012. It’s just a year and a half away. Less than a year in half away really is the presidential election along with congressional races. What do you think is the potential that a Republican candidate whoever it will be will be able to win the electoral seats here in Colorado instead of Presidential Obama, who won them in 2008.

Stroud: Well, I think Colorado we only have nine electoral votes here so we are just a drop in the bucket but I think the probability is really high because the difference between winning Colorado and not winning in Colorado is a tiny number. It’s like 15,000 votes and that’s the difference. We saw that in the Ken Buck race, we say that in Gessler and Stapleton’s races. 15-20,000 votes changes. So that is a number you can rap your head around and you can see 20,000 people. You can talk to 20,000 people and so for us it’s not a bridge too far. It’s something that we think is entirely possible to do.

Sengenberger: Final question before I let you Danny Stroud, chairman of the Denver County Republican party. The big debate going on in the Colorado Legislature right now is redistricting. Where the Democrats are trying to warp out, for example, the sixth congressional district. My home congressional district, which is represented by Mike Coffman. Their plan would make that seat unusually competitive. It would do all sorts of things. Pulling more into Denver County, well not Denver County but District one while district 1, which has Dianna DeGette representing. Democrats are playing politics here. Of course Republicans are trying to do their stuff but the Denver Post is basically saying Republicans are the ones that are responsible for this. I’m not sure if you saw this Lynn Bartels piece today. The GOP admits skewing Colorado Redistricting Maps. Democrats are the ones with the power and they’re the ones that have the most widely expansive redistricting maps that they’re putting forward. How is this going to pan out?

Stroud: Well, first off, the proposition that it is not competitive in Colorado is just not true. We’ve had several seats change over two or three times over the last decade or two. It goes back and fourth back and forth. So the districts are competitive. We’ve got Diana DeGette who’s been in there forever and probably be in there forever. So why don’t we change her district? OK, how about that? But that’s not going to happen either. The law and the intention is that… is written a lot of nuances but essentially the intention that is if you don’t change the number of representatives you should not change the boundaries of the district anymore that is the absolutely necessary to accommodate the reapportionment statute. And so to throw out the existing boundaries and redraw them all…as of the map I saw, is just preposterous. I think the Republican position. I don’t think, I know the Republican position is. Is just, pretty much leave it well enough alone and we can nip and tuck around the edges to make sure that we comply with the statute for reapportionment. Simple as that.

Sengenberger: Basic requirement is that each congressional district, all of the nine, have a equal amount of population. Just for our listeners here and there is a big battle how you are going to pave out those districts. It’s quite a battle, it really is. We’ll see how things pan out. Danny Stroud we know you got to go off to an event. But this has been great, thanks so much for popping in.

Stroud: I love it here Jimmy. You’re great and you are good leader for your age group and you are showing us how to do it. So thank you very much.