Mandy Connell Show, Cory Gardner, October 23, 2020

Station:  KOA, 850 AM

Show:     Mandy Connell Show   

Guests:   Gardner, Cory  


Date:      October 23, 2020      



[00:00:00] I am pleased as Punch to be joined by our current U.S. senator and a U.S. senator that I frankly hope everyone retains in this election cycle because Cory Gardner has done more for Colorado. Then I’m thinking the last three sets of U.S. senators. And it’s frustrating to me that people are not paying attention to the real accomplishments of the senator. Senator, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks, man. Thanks for having me. 

[00:00:25] Well, you know, let’s talk about some of those accomplishments right now, because unfortunately, in this political cycle from the presidency on down, it’s all about personality. It’s all about style over substance. And you have a lot of substance to crow about. So tick off. Give me your ticked off list of stuff that you have managed to accomplish in your first term. 

[00:00:45] Well, I think you meant, you know, six years ago I set out to get work done for the people of Colorado to not be a show horse, but to be a workhorse. And over the last six years, I’ve become the third most bipartisan member of the United States Senate. I’ve passed more laws into effect, had more legislation signed into law by the presidents, President Obama, President Trump than the entire Colorado congressional delegation combined. That’s things like moving the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction, Colorado, opening up U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs. In 1962, President Kennedy signed into law the Arkansas Valley conduits, which would provide 50000 people with drinking water from Pueblo, Colorado, to Lamar, Colorado. We just broke ground on it two weeks ago or three weeks ago because I finally got the money to actually fulfill that promise that John F. Kennedy made in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1962. And I passed legislation to create a three digit national hotline for suicide prevention to create a nine eight eight oh number, just like nine one one to report a fire. You’ll call nine eight eight for suicide prevention. If we need some help, that’s going to save countless lives in Colorado and around the country that just got signed into law a couple of weekends ago, passed the biggest conservation bill. But this country has seen in over 50 years of the Great American Outdoors Act passed legislation to complete the V.A. hospital in Aurora, Colorado, and get the money to build that after a debacle of 15 years. And then, of course, that legislation like the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which helps fund our National Science Foundation and our Nyst facilities up in Boulder. And it makes more opportunities available for young men and women in minority communities to have access to engineering degrees and college educations. I mean, the list goes on and on and back. You know, in the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve had my bills signed into law on dealing with the space weather, which is hugely important to Colorado and the work we do for satellites and observations and a bill that will read rewrite the way we handle our Olympics in the aftermath of the U.S. gymnastics scandal. I put legislation forward that will allow athletes a voice in how the games are carried forward. It hasn’t been done for over 40 years. We just got that bill signed into law a matter of days ago. 

[00:03:02] So let me ask you a question, because all of that stuff is very varied. You know, and I know a lot of politicians that had their their pet issues that they loved and they were very effective on that one thing. Whatever it was, it doesn’t matter what it is. You’ve really got kind of a shotgun approach to the legislation that you’ve been actively involved in. How do you decide what to champion? How do you choose? 

[00:03:25] That’s a great point, because it unless night of watching this debate and, you know, Joe Biden is talking about North Korea. Well, I passed it was my bill, the North Korea Sanctions Policy Enhancement Act in 2016 that forced the Obama administration for the first time ever to put mandatory sanctions on North Korea. I remember the pushback in opposition that I got from Joe Biden, Barack Obama. I remember the phone call that I got from United Nations Ambassador Samantha Powers saying, don’t push your bill. It’s too hard on North Korea. And then last night, they talked about it. So you ask a question about how I choose those? Well, I choose them because North Korea is incredibly important to in terms of our national security. A great American outdoors act is incredibly important in terms of our economy in Colorado and our protections of the environment. So so, you know, some people may decide that they came to Congress to focus on one or two things. I actually came to Congress for all four corners of Colorado to solve problems from the Burlington’s of the Colorado of Colorado to the Grand Junction’s of Colorado and everywhere in between. And that’s why you see such a broad landscape of legislation that is passed from North Korea, sanctions, that Asia Reassurance Initiative Act that created our first time ever generational approach to China. And as parochial as a as the V.A. hospital in Aurora, I mean, it’s because the people of Colorado demand solutions. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. 

[00:04:53] What do you look forward to if you win another term? What what do you see on the immediate horizon as areas that you’re going? 

[00:05:00] Paying a lot of attention to, look, we have to continue the work that we have done to continue implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act. That’s going to mean hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. All funded by offshore oil and gas revenues. I guess if Joe Biden bans fracking. The funding the Great American Jobs Act will go away. 

[00:05:17] He’s going to end. He’s going to end the oil and gas industry. Not just fracking. He’s going to end the oil and gas industry. Well said, Mindy. 

[00:05:24] You know, well said. I get caught up sometimes thinking that fracking is the end goal. That’s not being at all. The end goal is to actually destroy oil and gas in its entirety. And the jobs that go along with it, you’re exactly right. So, you know, I want to continue the work that we’ve done on that to implement it. We need to recover our economy after COGAT 19, helping people who’ve struggled so much over the last six, seven months to get through this. So we will get through this together. But we’re going to have to continue to to make sure that we have a strong and growing economy. We’ve got to make sure that we have farmers that have more access to markets overseas for their products that they’re growing. We’ve got to make sure that we continue to to deal with the fallout of the health pandemic, making sure the vaccine and the treatments and the therapies are on track and available. So, you know, that’s all the work that will continue into the new the new session. 

[00:06:15] So right now, everything is on fire here in Colorado. I know I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. We have two massive forest fires that are burning right now. They are burning in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is an area where I would love to see personally some focus at the federal level and at the state level because, you know, when you drive through the state more than I do. And the beetle kill that’s out there. We literally have fires waiting to happen in places. Is that something that is getting any more attention at the federal level or is that something we really need to zone in on at the state level? 

[00:06:50] Well, it certainly is something that has gotten a lot of attention. We’ve passed a lot of great legislation in the last Congress, the last few years. That will actually mean a great deal better management of our forests. Unfortunately, with the dry conditions, you know, the east troublesome fire, the Cameron peak fire, these are in some of the original beetle in sandhill areas of the state, 30, 40 year old dead and downed trees. And so the legislature is going to take a little bit of time to actually impact it. What what what am I talking about here? 

[00:07:22] So for years, the Forest Service would would pay for fires with a limited budget. They would fight fires with a limited budget. They would exceed that budget every year. But it’s not like they quit fighting the fire. So once they ran out of money, then they would start cannibalizing other funds within the Department of Agriculture. And the funds that they would cannibalize would be things like they take away the money that could have prevented next year’s force. Think we winning litigation? Yeah. Yeah. The forest management. You’re exactly right, Mandy. And so that money that would have been used to actually reduce the risk of fire. Never got used for that purpose. It was used to actually fight the fire. So we passed a bill last Congress that changed that. We now will have all of the money we need to fight the fires without cannibalizing those fuel treatment. The thinning force management program. So that can start being a. That’s going to make a huge difference. The other thing is we have to have a market for dead and downed trees. Look, I talked to a timber mill in southern Colorado, and you made a really good point that, look, the forest isn’t there to sustain the timber mill. The timber mill is there to sustain before. Right. If you had a market for some of these dead and down trees and let them go in and remove this fuel and put it toward an economical use, you could create jobs and you could reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire. We have to stop the litigation that’s paralyzing our land managers ability to actually make decisions on the ground. So there’s just a few things that we need to do. 

[00:08:55] I’ve got to tell you, I have a beautiful handmade dining room table that is made out of beetle kill wood and blue state on a gorgeous. And everybody compliments me on it. And I do think that there’s a market there. 

[00:09:07] They just have to make it. So if somebody wants to go in and call these trees, they’re not out a million dollars just fighting to get into the forest to take out the dead wood, you’re. 

[00:09:16] You know, it’s so oftentimes I talk to people who say that it costs so much more money for me to actually get that first free than anything I can ever get out of it. So they just don’t do it and we don’t really have it. A milling industry that’s left in Colorado, you’ve basically got two bigger mills left, one in Montrose, one down by block of Colorado, and that’s about it. And, you know, we could create those industries. And in fact, when I was in the state legislature, I worked on a tax credit or actually not a tax credit, but getting rid of the taxes on Colorado products that were made with Beetle killed wood so that they wouldn’t if you if you went down to Home Depot and you bought a bunch of two by fours or cabinets that were made a beetle kill wood, you would. You have to pay a sales tax on it just to create a market for these Colorado products. 

[00:10:05] I think it’s the I’m all about incentives. I’m all about incentivizing people to do the right thing. And you know what? I look at some of the issues that are being bandied about right now in a serious manner. There’s a lot riding on this election. A lot of people would say, you know, the Republicans, the way they behaved in the Senate when it comes to Amy CONI Barrett is is unprecedented and all this other hot garbage because it’s simply not unprecedented. But you’re going to vote on on whether or not to confirm Amy CONI Barrett. You want to give us a preview of what you’re gonna do there? 

[00:10:38] Well, absolutely. And I’m looking forward to giving you a speech on the Senate floor either over the weekend or on Monday. Monday, Tuesday, it looks like we’ll have the final vote on Judge Barrett’s actual confirmation to be an associate justice. And I’m looking forward to supporting the majority of American people, support not just Judge Barrett becoming Justice Barrett. The majority the majority of American people actually support her being confirmed now, regardless of the timing. 

[00:11:02] Look, the Senate is given by the Constitution, advise and consent power, meaning that when the president nominates somebody, we will or will not consent to that nomination in 2016. We did not consent to the nomination of Merrick Garland at the time. It was out of step with the precedent that existed in this country since the late eighteen hundreds. 

[00:11:27] And, you know, if you look at what we see today, we see very much an alignment of precedents and the ability to confirm a nominee. Certainly it’s in line with the law. There’s no question about a law allowing it, but there’s no question that precedent allows it as well. And so that’s exactly what we’ll do. She’s a well qualified jurist. Look, I mean, I wish it was very clear at the hearing, the Judiciary Committee hearing, what some people want out of a judge. 

[00:11:58] Some people want a legislator. Right? They want somebody who’s going to make the law because they can’t win at the ballot box. They can’t win the vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate. So they have to rely on the court to make that law for them. That’s not the role of the court. 

[00:12:13] Give your final pitch. I know you’ve got a lot of stuff going on today. Give me our give the audience, rather, your final pitch of why they should vote for you over your opponent. 

[00:12:23] Look, I’m going to work tirelessly for the people of Colorado. Why? I believe in solutions. I believe in getting things done and solving problems. And I’m the only statewide legislator who lives more than 30 miles away from Lismore, 30 miles away from Denver and Boulder. I think Colorado is more than just the twenty five quarter. It’s about all of Colorado and certainly the only rural Coloradan who is in statewide office. And my record of being the third most bipartisan member of the United States Senate shows that it’s about getting results for the people to create more opportunities, not fewer, to protect the jobs that we have. There’s dignity and work, and we shouldn’t be telling people that only the government can decide for you what kind of job you can have. I’m going to fight against the socialist takeover of our health care system that would destroy rural health care. I’m going to fight for transportation solutions that we actually need. I’m going to make sure that we bring a little bit more Colorado to Washington and a lot less Washington to Colorado. 

[00:13:19] And I’m running against somebody who violated the state constitution as governor for the first time in our state’s history, a governor doing. I just don’t think we need more people in Washington. They’re going to fit it. 

[00:13:32] I think we need a person in the Senate who actually wants to be there, who has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to be there like your opponent. Let’s be real. I just want to say this. Senator, I have defended you against hard core right wing conservatives because they’ll say things like he he’s not conservative enough. And I point out to them a very important fact. You do not represent a state of only conservatives. And I think you have done a phenomenal job in reaching across the aisle and yet staying too true to your principles. You have not. You’ve not caved on your principles. You have worked across the aisle when you when you can, because this state is not a blue state. I would have to say we’re very quickly becoming a red state, but I’m hoping we’re still somewhat purple. 

[00:14:16] You have done an excellent job representing everyone in this state. And I got to tell you, as a person on the right side of the aisle, I don’t feel that way about John Hickenlooper. I certainly don’t feel that way about Michael Bennet. He does not care what I think. And and for people on the left that cannot appreciate everything that you’ve accomplished. I just want to point this out to people on the right. You don’t have the luxury of just being a rock ribbed right winger. You have to you have to to represent everyone. And you’ve done an excellent job at that. And I just I appreciate it. That’s all. 

[00:14:46] I’m a fan. I’m a fan. And I’m voting for you. In the interest of full disclosure, I already voted for you. So, yeah, I did. Yeah. 

[00:14:55] Senator Cory Gardner, I really appreciate your time today. And hopefully you will be able. Do another long string of accomplishments for the state of Colorado as our ongoing U.S. senator. 

[00:15:05] Well, thank you, man. It’s been an honor to serve and thank you very much for the opportunity to serve for another six years. Thank you. 

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