MOFFAT — The annual Spring Fling Republican fundraiser held this year at Moffat Schools brought out several gubernatorial candidates from the Front Range Saturday to acquaint local voters with the issues and ask them for their support.
Also attending was George Leing, a member of the Republican State Party Executive Committee from Boulder. Leing set the tone for the governor’s candidates by describing how the party will conduct a massive campaign to build voter data, reaching out to Republicans in rural counties like Saguache across the state.
Republican Chairman Steve House told attendees at the fundraiser that Republicans must win the governorship in Colorado to reverse more liberal trends in government introduced by Gov. Hickenlooper, but have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler, the District Attorney for Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, spoke first. Brauchler said Colorado is no longer the state he grew up in and he wants to return Colorado to what it once was for his four children.
If elected, he promised to deregulate and centralize state government. He also vowed to fight for educational funding and return vocational and technical training programs to Colorado schools.
He has been a vocal opponent of Gov. Hickenlooper’s reprieve from the death penalty for convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap and said Dunlap’s execution will be reset if he is elected.
As the Arapahoe County district attorney, Brauchler requested the death penalty for Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, but in a plea deal, Holmes settled for life in prison without parole. Brauchler also stressed his commitment to a return to the rule of law in Colorado.
As governor, Lew Gaiter III, a commissioner in Larimer County and a homeschooling father of nine, said he would be focused on closing the gap between rural and urban counties in Colorado. He is concerned about the proliferation of illegal marijuana grows in the state and said he is taking measures in his county to address the problem.
Gaiter noted that he has heard Saguache County needs a new jail and has experience in this area, since the 36-year-old Larimer County Jail also is overcrowded and in need of replacement soon. The Saguache County Jail was built in the 1950s. He also cited his dedication to strong budgeting practices.
Other issues Gaiter promotes are responsible resource management in all areas. He especially favors building reservoirs and storing water for low-precipitation years as well as water conservation making smart water choices.
Candidate Victor Mitchell began his speaking time by promising to uphold deregulation in Colorado and offering creative options for rural healthcare. He described a program in the Appalachians run by nurse practitioners, featuring a $10 visit fee and $4 for prescriptions, with nurses offering teleconferences with urban doctors and conducting their own research on medical conditions.
He emphasized that voters do not understand the entire scope of the Medicaid issue. Mitchell explained that while the expanded government plan increases coverage for a large segment of the population, only 85 percent of doctors accept Medicaid, reducing patient options and quality of care.
Mitchell also supports reduction of standardized testing in public schools and increased career guidance, advocates for greater public scrutiny for marijuana tax revenues and opposes any new tax increases in the state until lawmakers can restore public confidence in their integrity honest and ability to make responsible decisions for the electorate.