Steffan Tubbs Show, Walker Stapleton, August 28, 2018

Station:    KNUS, 710 am

Show:       Steffan Tubbs Show

Guests:    Stapleton


Date:        August 28, 2018



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TUBBS: [00:00:00] Twenty-four hours ago, almost to the second, I was saying how smitten I was with our next guest made no bones about it. [I] don’t agree with everything she said. But I said I was smitten with our guest, Ann Coulter. So she’s here for Part 2, live. Hi, Anne! No, I’m kidding. I am not smitten with this next guest, but I like him a lot. He is my friend. I think he should be the next governor of the state of Colorado. He is a Republican. He is a gubernatorial candidate. His name is Walker Stapleton. Friend, welcome back to the program.

STAPLETON: [00:00:33] Steffan,it’s great to be on with you, as always.

TUBBS: [00:00:35] I sure appreciate it. Okay, since we last spoke, let’s just see — there has been nothing really going on with you. Oh, God! His great grandfather was a KKK guy, and the New York Times and all of that.

STAPLETON: [00:00:48] [laughs] Yeah.

TUBBS: [00:00:48] I’m not going to start with that. I’m just wondering what you’ve been up to, and then we’ll start with you know what you’ve been doing and what leads up to –yes–the pot luck of the year in Colorado on Saturday.

STAPLETON: [00:00:59] Absolutely. Well, you know, we’ve been traveling all over the state. This year’s governor’s race, I liken it to like a “Survivor” series because we started with more than a dozen candidates in the race. I think there were 16, on both sides. And now that — now it’s down to two, for all the marbles. And I’ve taken the last couple of months since the primary to travel this day to make the case to all areas of the state that the economic future that I think I want for my kids, that you want is a dad, Steffan, that I think a lot of Coloradans want for future generations is really at stake in this election, like never before. I spent the weekend down in Pueblo at the State Fair. And I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to have a bunch of Democrats come up to me and they said, “Hey! You know, I work in the energy industry and I’m concerned about my job in Colorado remaining if Jared Polis wins,” [or], “I work in the health care industry and I am concerned about my job in the health care industry in Colorado remaining if Jared Polis wins.” And I think whether you’re talking about health care, energy, education, here is somebody who has promised nearly a hundred billion dollars of spending. Our state budget is about $30 billion, ten [billion dollars] comes from the Feds, about 20 billion in the form of sales tax, income taxes. He is promising a hundred billion in spending, which would quintuple the size of our budget. And, as I tell — you know — groups far and wide that if you’re promising unicorns and a yellow brick road and you’re running for governor, you’ve got to, at some point, explain to people how you’re going to pay for the yellow brick road, or the unicorns, or both.

TUBBS: [00:02:38] Well, you know what. [laughing heartily] Here’s What’s funny, is–.

STAPLETON: [00:02:41] I want to get you — if you could make up some t shirts, “How do we pay for the unicorn?” and then, like, have like a “Stapleton for Governor” on the back, that’s kind of what we’re — the message we’re trying to get across.

TUBBS: [00:02:51] Listen, I just — it’s funny because we played the “We represent the Lollipop Guild” song not too many days ago on this program. That’s what–.

STAPLETON: [00:03:00] Yeah.

TUBBS: [00:03:01] Anyway, I get your point, okay? I do have to ask you, on a lighter note, before we get into other issues, if you’d–. I’m telling you, I’m not voting for you if you cannot tell, me right now, what kind of fried food you ate at the Colorado State Fair.

STAPLETON: [00:03:17] Um, I think — I think I may have sampled the Rocky Mountain oysters.

TUBBS: [00:03:21] Okay, okay! That’s deep fried. .

STAPLETON: [00:03:22] I also participated in the Governor’s Beef show. And I lost, but I got an armful of snot on my shirt, which I was told by the young 4-H individual– who[se] [steer] I was showing– that was good luck. But I disagreed with him because we didn’t place in the top two, so–.

TUBBS: [00:03:38] Okay, [laughs] okay, you get a pass. You still have my vote. We’re talking with gubernatorial candidate, Walker Stapleton, kind enough to give us a few minutes here on 710 KNUS. Now, I know you are in the final stages of what is and arguably — and you know this. You’ve been traveling the state. You’ve been in state politics. You’re a dad. You know, you go to some voters and they say — no matter what the heck is going on in this state — they say education is the number one priority that a state should be involved with. You’re close to unveiling your plan. How close are you? And give us just a sneak peek.

STAPLETON: [00:04:20] Well, you know, it’s days away. And the idea is a simple one, but it’s one that we need do a much better job in. And that is, how do we get more dollars in the classroom where they belong, to improve student-teacher ratios, for our students in the classrooms, to improve outcomes? How do we actually do that in a state government level? And I think the way we do it is we have structural problems with education across our 176 school districts. And the structural problems are that we have approximately $325,000 of funding, Steffan, per public school class in Colorado. The average public school teacher makes approximately $51,000 or $52,000. Where does the rest of the money go? And if you look at statistics of the growth of students versus the growth of teachers versus the growth of administrative costs — especially in the Aurora school district, for instance, which is the second largest in the state — you will see that the growth of administrative costs has outpaced the growth of students and teachers by approximately sevenfold over the last decade. And to me, that is not where we should be sinking money. We need to be getting money into the classroom for our students, for the kids, and not having it siphoned off to a massively growing administrative budget. And the only way we actually effectively do that, Steffan, is to improve transparency and accountability for budgeting across all our 176 school districts. Some of our school districts have line-item budgeting available, not only to me as the Treasurer, but more importantly to parents who are in a particular school district. But many of them do not. And I am a huge advocate of transparency in government. And I believe that all 176 school districts should make readily available information to parents so that they can see where money is going or where it’s not going. And we can actually endeavor to fix some of the structural problems with education finance in Colorado. And you may remember, I was the leader of the effort a couple of years ago to defeat Amendment 66, which was a billion dollar tax increase for education. And I kept making the point: Look I’m not against spending this money. I’m the parent of three school-age kids. I just want to make sure that if we’re going to ask taxpayers for an extra billion dollars for education, that the money actually gets into the classroom where it belongs and it doesn’t get siphoned off — in this case, or the case of [Amendment] 66 a couple of years ago — for PERA obligations, or for a bankrupt public pension system because that’s a bait and switch. And we have this progressive income tax for education this time on the ballot that would that would cause the greatest catalyst of our economic growth in this state to flee this state. That’s not going to be helpful to build the education system we want that’s transparent and accountable for Colorado’s future.

TUBBS: [00:07:23] So, what we’ll see is, in the coming days, probably a more comprehensive plan and obviously it will be on Walker Stapleton’s website.

STAPLETON: [00:07:31] No, absolutely. And, you know, the constant argument is, “This is for the kids! This is for the kids!” But the kids aren’t the ones that are getting the money and they’re not the ones that are getting the resources.

TUBBS: [00:07:41] Right, right.

STAPLETON: [00:07:41] It’s clearly not about the kids.

TUBBS: [00:07:41] So, let me ask you this, then — a perfect segue is, what do you feel about Amendment 73? They just got enough signatures earlier this month to put that on the November ballot.

STAPLETON: [00:07:51] Yeah, I just don’t think that that’s — I don’t think that that’s going to be successful because I don’t think that we have the transparency or confidence at the local level that simply pouring more money in the bucket is going to produce better outcomes. And I think that will continue to be the case until we actually fix some structural problems that we have with education finance. And I’ve said consistently, Steffan, by the way, you can’t talk about the future of education in Colorado without talking about longstanding reforms to the pension system, because 20 percent of every dollar a school district pays a teacher gets siphoned off for PERA. And teachers are being asked to contribute, now, up to 12% of their salary on top of that. And so, when you’re taking that much out of the teacher’s paycheck — both in terms of the employer and employee side of teaching — you’ve got to make sure that the system is on a sound footing going forward or else it’s going to continue to drain resources from the classroom where money deserves to be spent.

TUBBS: [00:08:58] Walker Stapleton [is] our guest here on The Steffan Tubbs Show, as we continue at about 4:00 — make that 14 minutes past 5:00. So, we’ll get throught the potluck as we wrap up with you, because that’s coming up on Saturday. But there was one thing you said about when you were down at the state fair that a couple of Democrats had come up to you and expressed, you know, concerns about whether it was health care or–.

STAPLETON: [00:09:22] Many! Not just like a run-of-the-mill Democrat. Like, a lot — a lot– a lot of Democrats.

TUBBS: [00:09:22] Okay, okay, so what are you doing to try to convince a Democrat to vote for you?

STAPLETON: [00:09:34] Well, you know, there’s there’s tons of things. For instance, I was I talking to the Auto Dealers Association in Colorado Springs over the weekend. And they said, — you know I had — I was talking to a guy who said, “You know, I’m classically a Democrat, but I figured out and I’ve been told that the emission standards — that ceding regulatory authority to California for our emissions, which is an executive order that was signed by Governor Hickenlooper which can be rescinded by a new governor, will cost me $5,000 — an average of $5,000 more [cell phone signal drops, and audio is interrupted] I don’t even have —

TUBBS: [00:10:15] You know what, we’re going to try — we’ll put him on hold and see if Kirk Therefore I don’t even have you know all we’re going to try will put him on hold and see if Kirk can can reconnect. […] Once Again, [we are] talking with gubernatorial Republican candidate, Walker Stapleton. This amendment 73, just to give you an update, if you don’t know about it, this — it’s based on, and would establish income tax brackets and raise taxes for this education initiative. It is a very interesting and — obviously, whenever you’re talking about education and you throw in money which they always seemingly are together — this is an extremely controversial thing that — again, as I mentioned earlier this month — Secretary of State Wayne Williams made it clear that, hey, they gathered enough signatures. So, I think that, gosh, I mean, it was by near more than 30,000 that they needed. So it is going to have a place on the November ballot, again, Colorado Amendment 73, the Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education Initiative. This is formerly known as Initiative 93. It will be 73 coming up in November for us. Walker Stapleton, our guest, do we have him back? Yeah. I don’t know where — but he dropped. I don’t know. Who knows? He’s going over Raton Pass or something. No, he’s probably not down that far south. Why don’t we do this, Kirk, if we can. We’ll take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll try to re-establish, get about maybe five more minutes with Walker Stapleton. […] Coming up, a quick time out try to get Walker Stapleton back and just, be with us. We’ll be back as soon as we can. We’ll connect with the gubernatorial candidate for the state of Colorado. […] We Continue our conversation with gubernatorial candidate Republican Walker Stapleton. I’m glad you got reconnected and I appreciate it. I guess just a couple of other things.

STAPLETON: [00:12:09] Yeah, I was just about to make a historic point, and–.

TUBBS: [00:12:13] Exactly! You were going to name me Press Secretary, and then it just dropped out.

STAPLETON: [00:12:14] While you’re looking out of your beautiful studio, I’m looking out at the traffic and spotty cell coverage in the metro area.

TUBBS: [00:12:25] Oh, that’s why, Governor! You’re going to fix the freaking traffic, right?

STAPLETON: [00:12:29] Exactly. Exactly.

TUBBS: [00:12:30] Right.

STAPLETON: [00:12:30] But what I wanted to tell you before Bernie Sanders cut my cell phone coverage, is that I believe that we can have a transportation system that doesn’t infuriate all of us with our annoying commute to and from work, each and every day in the metro area. I believe that we can find solutions to affordable housing that allows young people to live and thrive in Colorado for many many years to come. We can improve access and affordability of quality health care. We can have an energy system that makes us proud of being Coloradans to fish our streams and breathe clean air and go hiking in summer and skiing in winter, while not driving the energy industry out of our state. But we can’t have these things if we elect the guy who’s running against me, because the people that will pay the cost are Coloradans who can afford it the least. They will pay more in their electric bills. They will pay more for less quality health coverage. They will pay more for less quality educational outcomes. And that’s what this election is about, Steffan. This election is going to be about a stark choice, about what we want for the future of Colorado and for future generations. And my hope is that pragmatic Democrats and independents and people that go to work for a living will understand that there is a cost — a responsible cost associated with having the Colorado that all of us want to have that will thrive and excel for many, many years to come.

TUBBS: [00:14:02] Well, there are, as you well know — and I’m just preaching to the choir — is there are consequences for trying to make policy change, whether they’re — in the end, they’re good, they’re bad, they didn’t make a difference. There are costs and I think a lot of people are hearing what you’re saying. You’re office — what? Are you opening a new office up in Greeley, soon?

STAPLETON: [00:14:23] We are. We’re opening up a new office — a Victory Office — in Greeley. Our goal is to have 12 Victory Offices all across the state, as the foundational elements of our ground game, so that people can basically volunteer all across Colorado, to make calls, go on neighborhood walks, and door-to-door, get our message out, of economic opportunity for Colorado’s future. And that’s really important. We’re opening up a new office in Greeley tomorrow. I think we have 8 offices open, and again, our goal is to have all 12 before Labor Day, for the final two months of this campaign. Ballots, I think, drop October 17th or somewhere around there. So, it is becoming a very tight window. But the future of Colorado’s is at stake, like never before. And I’m going to work my tail off to get our message out all across this state. And Saturday, I’m glad I’m going to be seeing you for a little meet and greet that we’re doing, somewhere. I think somewhere in Douglas County.

TUBBS: [00:15:22] [laughs] It’s Parker! I told your handler! I told your handler, “He better know where and when!”.

STAPLETON: [00:15:27] It’s Parker!

TUBBS: [00:15:27] But I know you’re a busy candidate. It is Parker, 5:30. Don’t worry, dude! I’ve already –.

STAPLETON: [00:15:32] That’s what I tell my wife, Steffan. It’s basically, like, “Dropping off the kids at school: that’s you. Dance recitals: that’s you.” I have ceded my responsibilities as a dad. But I ask for my wife’s forgiveness and forbearance. But I will assume normal responsibilities in November sometime.

TUBBS: [00:15:54] There you go. So, I have already tweeted out, from our show, all the information on the Meet and Greet — as he calls it — and a potluck coming up in Parker on Saturday at — it starts at 5:30. Now, I’ve got two more questions for you.

STAPLETON: [00:16:10] Yes!

TUBBS: [00:16:10] And you’ve been more than kind with your time. But the last time we were on, I don’t know if you saw this, but there was a little bit of news apparently that at least some people — I will say some journalists on the left — took and ran with and that was, “Oh, my God! Tubbs asked Stapleton about whether or not he would welcome a stump stop by President Trump!” And it was made a pretty big deal. I want to know if anything has changed. You still would accept the President here?

STAPLETON: [00:16:38] No! Nothing has changed, except that — you know, the Washington media scene is ugly. The — President Trump has kept this country safe, number one, Steffan, which I think is the most solemn and also incredibly important duty that any president can undertake. And he has done so in an admirable way. I have fully supported his commitment to end sanctuary cities, and what is a broken immigration system at the federal level. And I was an early supporter of the President’s tax plan because it’s working in Colorado. More than 70% of Coloradans are benefiting. If you make $60,000 a year, your federal tax bill goes from $1,700 to $100. Economists say that Colorado will be the beneficiary to the tune of $4 billion-plus over the next five years. My opponent, on the other hand, introduced legislation in Congress to repeal the President’s tax cuts. We are at historic levels of employment for African-Americans and Latinos nationally and in the state of Colorado. The economy is going at at full speed. Why we would want to reverse that — and that economic growth — makes zero sense to me. But the President also has a busy schedule. He is foremost concerned with Congress, and making sure that Republicans hold Congress. And he is constantly, you know, has to wear a suit of armor around D.C.. So, we’ll see what the future holds. But I’ve been a supporter of the President’s economic policies and his immigration policies, as far as sanctuary cities are concerned because those are issues that directly either benefit or impact Colorado. And I’m going to be a governor that works with Washington to make life better for Coloradans, and stands up to the federal government if they’re going to do something that’s going to make life harder for Colorado.

TUBBS: [00:18:32] Yeah, so no change from you. If he can, he’s coming.

STAPLETON: [00:18:35] No change. No change.

TUBBS: [00:18:35] All right.

STAPLETON: [00:18:35] Well, TBD.

TUBBS: [00:18:35] Yeah, TBD. What about — people want to know. I want to know. And if it has been announced, forgive me for being ignorant. When is the first debate between you and Jared Polis?

STAPLETON: [00:18:52] I believe that it is September, some time –. Actually, I think it’s the beginning of October, October 3rd, or somewhere thereabouts.

TUBBS: [00:19:00] So, it’s coming.

STAPLETON: [00:19:01] I think it’s the Denver chamber debate. And then we have a CBS debate that night. So, [in] early October, we’re debating about seven times between about October 3rd and the 20th. So, it’s going to be a compressed window during the first two weeks of October. But I can’t wait. I’m really, really excited.

TUBBS: [00:19:19] Gotcha. I want to close with this, and I don’t know if it got back to you. I don’t know if you heard it, but of course I talked a lot about the New York Times piece and your great-grandfather and all of that national attention that it got. I’m sure your office phones were ringing off the hook.

STAPLETON: [00:19:38] Which, by the way–. Yet, I just want to point out, I was listening yesterday to the Rush Limbaugh Show. And they talked about Representative John Lewis tweeting out that McCain was was a champion for the dignity of every human being. And Limbaugh compared that comment from Congressman Lewis to a comment back in 2008 where he said, you know, McCain’s a white nationalist. And, you know, not a lot makes me feel good about the sad passing of of Senator McCain, except for the fact that the Democrats are not using a new playbook versus Walker Stapleton. This is something that they’ve done on a national level to Republicans. And this is exactly the type of garbage that they’re trying to foment against me, as well.

TUBBS: [00:20:29] Yeah, well, I just wanted you to know that I called it. And I will still call it. It’s not just because I’m, you know, friends with you. But it was a hack job. It was a ridiculous piece. And I just want, once and for all, your take on that. I know it was several weeks ago, but we haven’t had you on.

STAPLETON: [00:20:46] Absolutely. Well, if they’re going to –. And my final thought about John McCain: if they’re going to disparage an American patriot and hero like John McCain, there’s no ends to which they will go. And just for everybody, I have multiple times, unequivocally stated that I condemn racism in all its ugly forms. And I condemn hate groups in all their ugly forms and manifestations, as well. But the fact of the matter is, Steffan, my great-grandfather passed away 25 years before I was born. I am not him. He is not me. And to hold me accountable for his actions a hundred years ago in Denver, is really to hold all Democrats accountable as well, because he was a Democrat — something that never gets mentioned. And it was the Democratic Party that was unfortunately aligned 100 years ago with that hate organization. And I’m not doing that. I’m proud to be a party of Lincoln, and not a Democrat. So, um, you know, I think that all of us have ancestors who have made mistakes in life.

TUBBS: [00:21:50] Yes.

STAPLETON: [00:21:50] But to try in any way [to] conflate that with my campaign for governor — or hold me accountable — is pathetic and desperate. So, how’s that?

TUBBS: [00:21:59] Sound bite — sound bite of the day!

STAPLETON: [00:22:01] [laughs].

TUBBS: [00:22:02] Listen, but I agree with you, man — “pathetic and desperate.” It’s how I did it when we did it a few weeks ago. And you know what, you’re not going to hear another question about that from me. I mean, just, period. If — the last time I checked, it didn’t really work to hold somebody accountable for what their great-freaking-grandparents did. Now, it’s different if — you know what I mean?– You had carried on the tradition of whatever nefarious thing.

STAPLETON: [00:22:29] Yeah.

TUBBS: [00:22:29] That’s Ridiculous. I’m glad we can put a period at the end of that sentence. And I will see you — I’m bringing jello with carrots to your potluck.

STAPLETON: [00:22:38] I love it. As opposed to Jello shots. Um, yeah!

TUBBS: [00:22:42] [laughs] But that’s after 8 p.m.. Brother, thank you! You’re always welcome! I appreciate it.

STAPLETON: [00:22:42] Thank you, my friend. Take care!