In part one of our exclusive interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler, we asked him about balancing the campaign and his family life, what he is specifically hearing from Coloradans he meets on the trail, and what problems and challenges he is eager to fix.
Colorado's next gubernatorial election is not until November of 2018, but that hasn't stopped candidates in both major parties from declaring their candidacy and hitting the campaign trail early. With 2018 being the first year of Colorado's new open primary system, candidates on both sides of the aisle are eager to begin making a name for themselves and appealing to voters across the political spectrum.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler, the current District Attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District. Best known for trying the James Holmes case, Brauchler is unique in that he is a local figure that already has state-wide recognition. This has led some pundits to posit that George Brauchler could have what it takes to go the distance if he makes it out of the crowded Republican primary.
Over the next few days, we will be publishing multiple parts of our interview with George Brauchler. We touched on a number of different issues - criminal justice, mental health, immigration, gun control - and each of our articles will feature a transcript of the interview as well as a video of Mr. Brauchler's responses.
Part one focuses on family, the issues Coloradans care about, and why he is running for Governor.
It’s pretty exciting, your campaign has had a lot of momentum. As you’re driving around the state and talking to people, what issues are they bringing up the most that maybe aren’t getting enough focus in the media?
It’s funny, there are some things that I talk about wherever I go - Western Slope, Front Range, Plains, it doesn’t matter. Some things resonate with everyone, for instance when I tell them that we need to concede to each other that our roads suck, everyone gives the head nod and it doesn’t matter where you’re at. Our roads suck and they need to be improved, and we’ve kicked the can down the road long enough that we’re sort of in this dire situation where everybody acknowledges that. The failure of our education system - our public education system - to provide the right type of college or career preparation for kids. Everybody from border to border, north to south, east to west says the same thing about that. And then there other are things that are more geographically specific.
When you talk about energy, you’re talking about places from Pueblo on up through the Western Slope to Mesa County all the way to the north. And they struggle with things like the Federal government’s encroachment on their ability to develop land because of something called the Sage Grouse. There are parts of the Eastern Plains where they struggle with funding not only for schools, but also for hospitals. They worry about getting produce to make with the state of our roads. And then in the metro area, you see people struggling with a city and a community that is blowing up in terms of size, the population is growing, but we seem to have just lacked the leadership necessary to make the adjustments to infrastructure and make this just a quality place to live. The other thing I’d say about the geographically specific ones too: everyone outside the Front Range that I go to, people believe that we have had a Governor of Denver for the past ten-plus years and they’d like to see a governor of the entire state.
How is your family handling the campaign? I know that this can be tough on families, and it is obviously still early, but are they enjoying all the attention so far?
Yes and no. I mean, there are parts of this campaign that are more challenging than others. Right now, we’re in the summer months. The kids are at home, I’ve got a brother-in-law in town, and they’re out doing fun stuff: going to the zoo, going to the movies, playing… I don’t really have the luxury of doing that. In addition to my day job, I made this decision to run for this state-wide race. It is early, but not too early, and I say that because this is a race that is commanding the attention of a lot of rich people, a lot of career politicians, and a lot of people that come from dynastic political families. I'm just none of those things. So for me, getting out early is just something you do when you’re the grassroots candidate.
What keeps you up at night? When you think about all the problems facing Colorado and all the work that needs to be done, what are you anxious to get to work on?
The overarching thing that drove me to run for this race, when I might not have been the typical candidate - I’m not a self-funder, I’m not a millionaire, I’m not a career politician - was the idea that my four kids at home (14, 12, 9 and 7) that they’re about to inherit from me a Colorado that is remarkably different from the one I inherited from my parents a little over four decades ago. This is not the same state of freedom, liberty, self-determination, and opportunity that it once was. We feel, to me, like we’re more like California than we are like Colorado and I can’t stand by and let that happen to my kids or anyone else’s. I feel like this is our last, best chance, in the short term, to get Colorado back on track to be the Colorado that drew so many people here. Otherwise, I think we lose at least another decade, maybe more, to a progressive establishment that has determined that government should play a bigger and bigger role in our lives, and I just don't agree with that.
George Brauchler is running to become the Republican candidate for Governor in Colorado's 2018 gubernatorial election. You can learn more about his campaign at www.George2018.com