Colorado GOP Candidates Discuss Political Priorities at Weld County Forum

January 7, 2022

Five Republican gubernatorial candidates shared their visions for Colorado’s future, along with extensive criticism of incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, at the primary-season opening forum on Thursday night.

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The paid Fort Lupton forum, hosted by the Republican Women of Weld and hosted by Republican consultant Dick Wadhams, featured candidates Greg Lopez, Jason Lopez, Danielle Neuschwanger, Jeff Fry, and Jon Gray-Ginsberg.

Heidi ganahl, the Republican fundraising leader, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week and did not participate.

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The other eight Republican candidates registered with the Secretary of State were not present.

None of the candidates responded directly to whether they believed the 2020 election was stolen, a conspiracy theory in conservative politics that perpetuates the lie that massive electoral fraud deprived the former president Donald Trump for a second term. Ganahl has already refused to say if she thinks the election was stolen.

Instead, most of the forum candidates offered strategies to reduce widespread voter fraud, of which there is no evidence in Colorado.

“My administration would no longer fund voting machines in the state,” Fry said. “We’re not going to do it anymore. We’ll do it the old fashioned way so we know it’s okay.”

Most counties in Colorado use machines from Dominion Voting Systems to compile the results of the millions of ballots collected. These results are verifiable and leave a written record.

Jason Lopez has landed on the other end of the tech spectrum, suggesting the implementation of blockchain technology in Colorado’s voting process to “ensure 100% accuracy.” Denver allowed voters living abroad to use the Voatz phone app, which uses blockchain technology, in pilot programs.

Candidates also criticized Polis’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 10,000 Coloradans.

“It’s clear: the governor’s flawed policies have hurt Colorado beyond comparison,” said Greg Lopez. “I don’t think Governor Polis is a bad person, but he has shown us his incompetence.” He is the former Colorado District Director of the US Small Business Administration and former Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Metro Denver.

He criticized restrictions at the start of the pandemic that shut down small businesses and schools and said the mental health implications of the pandemic had yet to be considered.

Neuschwanger, who called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus (that) escaped the Wuhan lab,” said she reportedly provided an update on the state’s supply of personal protective equipment in December 2019 when reports of the novel coronavirus first surfaced.

“I would have started watching the PPE preparation right away, talking to my local hospitals about the possibility if it were to happen in the United States,” she said. “What are our Incident Command plans? What do we have in the local resources? “

In addition, she said she would have used the military presence and people of Colorado and set up “advanced testing facilities.”

“If we can win wars and heal gunshot wounds in foreign countries during desert storms, we should be able to look for a cold-like symptom in Colorado,” she said. Colorado was able to test for COVID-19 in late February 2020, but experts agree the virus had circulated in the state before that date.

Responding to a question about transportation priorities, Greg Lopez suggested that the state buy the E-470 and remove the tolls. The motorway is owned by the counties of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas and the municipalities of Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Parker and Thornton.

“We could take all kinds of traffic off I-25 by making E-470 a public highway,” he said.

Jason Lopez said the state needs to step up its infrastructure investments in light of population growth. While this includes a concentration in city centers, he said it was also important to take into account the needs of rural areas.

“I understand bikes and some other transportation in Metro Denver, but we also need to connect with our rural communities, so people have infrastructure even further afield to get in or out,” he said. -he declares. .

The candidates also discussed preserving the state’s oil and gas industry, prioritizing rural investments, and stepping up forest fire prevention in light of the Marshall fire.

Neuschwanger won a poll among the 100 or so participants who voted immediately after the forum, followed by Greg Lopez.

The entire forum can be viewed on Facebook page of the Republican Women of the Welding.

The Republican primary is set for June 28. The candidate will then face Polis in the general election on November 8, 2022.

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Melvin B. Baillie