It's About All of Us
I’m Greg Lopez, and like you, I love Colorado. By achieving the goal of leading our great state as Governor, I will ensure that every Coloradan has a seat at the table. As a proud American, it would be an honor and a privilege to serve the people of our great state. My personal and professional background have strengthened my conservative values, and have enhanced my ideas on how Colorado’s government should serve each of its 64 counties. I was born into a family of migrant workers, and throughout my life I have worked tirelessly to set an example of how hard work, perseverance, and living within my means would allow for me and my family to embrace the American Dream.
Historically, public education has been the great equalizer for students of all backgrounds, promising the prospect of equal opportunity. Colorado continues to increase spending in education, yet only one-third of 8th grade students demonstrate proficiency in math and reading. I have seen that if children are not taught adequately to read, write, add and subtract, they start the race of life hundreds of yards behind, and are unlikely to get ahead. I support charter schools, vouchers and other innovations benefiting the educational needs of students. As former director of the ACE scholarships program, I recognize that school choice works for economically challenged minority families. My top priorities will be improving pay for performance and the teaching of skills for “real life” jobs to those who may choose a career in the trades, rather than attending college.
I’ve always believed the 2nd Amendment contains the most powerful 27 words assembled within the Bill of Rights. Some of the world’s greatest preventable tragedies exacted through tyranny were aided by government policies that seized guns from the citizenry. I will always protect the right to keep and bear arms. Two areas are of key importance to me:
1. National Carry Reciprocity: All states respect other states’ driver’s licenses, they should all respect other states’ concealed carry permits.
2. Allow military personnel to carry concealed or have open carry on bases and at recruiting centers: Our men and women in the Armed Forces have the best firearms training in the world, as do our police.
New laws which serve to restrict law-abiding gun owners do not serve Colorado, nor do they serve America. Where crime is concerned, we should faithfully enforce laws already on the books. The highest crime rates in America happen to be in cities that also have the strictest “gun control” provisions: Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Detroit, New York City, and Los Angeles. The 2nd Amendment is clear, and you can always count on my support to preserve this essential right.
As Governor, I will work with focus groups and the legislature to better understand what is behind the “gun violence” occurring in our schools while protecting the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I publically opposed the Colorado “Red Flag” gun bill known as House Bill 18-1436. This poorly written bill would have jeopardized a person’s right to own a gun and due process for those accused. It would have allowed a family or household member, or a law enforcement officer to petition the court for an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) without probable cause. It would have given the power to a judge, by Colorado law, to grant a temporary ERPO, without adequate professional evaluation of a person's “mental capacity and/or illness.” Upon issuance of an ERPO, a person would be required to surrender their rights under the 2nd Amendment and would be prohibited from possessing, controlling, purchasing, or receiving a firearm throughout a process that could take 182 days or longer.
Transportation – Safety for Commerce, Our Families, and Tourism
We have ignored our roads for too long. It is time that we focus on improving our transportation corridors. Individuals should be able to get home to their families in a reasonable amount of time. We must eliminate the 2-hour commute. I am a strong advocate for maintaining and improving the roads across the 64 counties of our great state, as this is vitally important to our economy. Most items purchased in Colorado are delivered by truck, which requires our bridges and roads to be consistently maintained and kept safe. Our tourism industry also demands improved infrastructure for healthy commerce and returning visitors. I pledge never to ignore or play politics with transportation. Instead, my commitment is to find long-lasting solutions by thinking outside the “dome,” such as creating new transportation corridors.
Health Care- A Quality System: Stable and Accessible to All
Health care costs have gotten out of control and we need to ensure that individuals, families and seniors are able to find affordable health care. I will work closely with our state’s top health officials, our congressional delegation, and others to find quality health care solutions for all of Colorado. The health care debate is ongoing at the national level, but as Governor my priority will be to advocate for citizens wherever this debate leads. I believe health care must be affordable, available and accessible, regardless one’s zip code. Nearly half of Coloradans live outside of the Denver Metro area, in less populated counties, and I’m adamant that rural communities must have quality medical facilities to care for our farmers, ranchers and others.
Water – Preserving Our Rights, Planning for Our Future
The future of our state lies in the balance as we look for ways to manage our water resources to accommodate the growth in population, as well as agricultural and recreational uses. Colorado is a state where “life” is written in water. Colorado is known as the “mother” of rivers, for here are born the headwaters of the Platte, the Arkansas, the Rio Grande and the mighty Colorado River.
As Governor, I will make sure that the state does not ignore the importance of this issue. I will identify the existing revenue streams within the state budget that can be reallocated to ensure that our water resources are protected and enhanced to guarantee that both rural and urban Colorado benefit equally.
Economic growth is essential to the success of a community and state. While serving as Mayor of Parker Colorado, I worked with economic development planners and leaders to boost the economy of the fastest growing town in Colorado. As Governor, I will work closely with the Director of the state’s Small Business Development Center Network, the Colorado Minority Business Office and Small Business Administration (SBA) to stimulate economic growth in the 64 counties across the state of Colorado. Colorado’s small businesses are the heart and soul of every community and they account for 98% of the engine that drives our state. In fact, 572,000 small businesses create the most jobs, employing 1 million Coloradans. As the former Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Colorado office, I was a strong advocate for small business. During my tenure there I was able to garner $2.6 billion in loans to small businesses and $4.6 billion in Federal contracts to small businesses. This equates to approximately 45,000 jobs created.
The PERA Board of Trustees have failed the more than 560,000 PERA members along with the citizens of Colorado. By State law, the management and fiduciary responsibilities of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association Fund fall on the Board of Trustees. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the fund is solvent and can pay all benefits. The Board has 11 members that are directly impacted by the decisions of the board—this is clearly a conflict of interest. It is time to restructure the PERA Board of Trustees to ensure that in the future the members of the Board have no conflicts while making decisions pertaining to the management of the PERA retirement fund. The past Board’s collective failure will have a devastating effect on the state budget for the next 30 years.
Sanctuary cities are un-American and unlawful. They send the wrong message and I do not support them. The Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights are the founding documents by which the rights and freedoms are bestowed and protected for every American citizen. No one gets extra rights or extra protection, especially individuals who are not citizens. It is wrong for any government to turn a blind eye to individuals that have committed a crime and release them from custody which enables them to return to the streets of our communities. In America, the “rule of law” requires that individuals be held accountable for their behavior and actions.
It is time that we call the marijuana industry what it truly is; it is “retail” marijuana not “recreational” marijuana. When we use the term “recreational” it allows young individuals to believe the false narrative that it is not harmful and that it is something you do just for recreation or fun. Amendment 64 is part of the Colorado Constitution and as Governor my job is to ensure that we uphold the state constitution. While I will fulfill my duties as governor, I will also make sure that we continue to monitor and strictly enforce the laws surrounding the use of and distribution of marijuana. The drug cartels have infiltrated our beautiful state and are destroying not only its natural beauty but also the safety of our communities. I will declare war on illegal growers.
I support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and believe there is plenty of revenue in the state coffers to handle our needs. However, I will look at ways to reform our tax system. I believe in small government and limited spending. With my experience in small business and as the mayor and city manager of Parker, I understand and know where to look for waste, fraud and abuse. One of my top priorities is to cut the fat and redirect funds to transportation and other areas that are of high priority for the people of Colorado.
I am a strong believer in immigration, recognizing that we are a country of immigrants. I come from a family of immigrants. However, I am a strong supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law. Those who come to the US illegally are grabbing unfair advantage over those in their home country and other places that are taking the proper steps to apply to enter our country legally. In addition, those here illegally cost tax payers significantly for all the benefits that they receive. I support the US Government’s efforts to significantly reduce the ability for people to come or stay in our country illegally, including building a wall where our border agents tell us it will be effective.
One of the industries of which I am most proud is Colorado’s coal mining industry. It is rich in our state’s history, provides a great benefit to our state’s energy goals, and has been unfairly treated by bureaucrats who likely never stepped foot in our state.
I voted for President Trump, and have expressed my willingness to work with him, especially when it advances our state’s talents and interests.
Colorado's coal production rose during President Trump's first year in office, and our state’s data shows for the first 10 months of 2017, coal production totaled about 12.7 million tons, just shy of the 12.8 million tons for all of 2016. Production is up at the two top-producing mines, with Arch Coal's West Elk Mine in the North Fork Valley producing more than 4 million tons last year through October, and Peabody Energy's Foidel Creek Mine in Routt County producing 3.3 million tons. These are the trends that are necessary and valuable to keeping the Main Streets of our counties open for business! Rest assured, when I am Governor, I will be a vocal and proactive proponent for President Trump’s decision to lift job-killing rules wherever they exist.
Colorado has approximately 750,000 seniors who faithfully paid into the Social Security system, and who are now subject to unfair state taxes on benefits. I will work to repeal the state tax on Social Security benefits! I will also work closely with the Colorado Legislature to prevent the state from “biting” seniors with other taxes to offset the repeal. The vast majority of states have recognized, that when the promise of social security was made to workers, the benefit wasn’t contingent upon the state’s determination as to whether they deserved to be taxed on that income. Colorado does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem! There is no reason that justifies dropping the burden of a spending problem in the laps of Colorado’s seniors. As Colorado’s next Governor, I will help to relieve worry when it comes to the pocketbooks of our seniors.
© Greg Lopez for Governor, All Rights reserved