If my experience in the private sector taught me anything, it’s that a thoughtful vision and steadfast leadership can make all the difference in the world.
Our state’s population is exploding, and as Colorado continues to grow we’re going to face both challenges and opportunities in the coming years. This change is coming whether we like it or not -- changes in our population, in our environment, and critically, in our economy. If we’re not planning ahead and equipped with capable leadership, we won’t be able to take advantage of these changes.
Our state isn’t just going to drift to a better place; we need a thoughtful plan on how we’re going to get it there.
Just as I advised businesses what to do when they were looking to grow, and just as I did when starting my own company, I have developed a vision for what I would like to have accomplished at the end of my first term in office.
By the end of my time as governor, we’ll have built a better state for our kids, with more students graduating from high school with the skills they’ll need to succeed; we’ll have made infrastructure improvements to our roads, bridges, and reservoirs; and fewer Coloradans will be losing their lives to drugs and addiction. I want to see Coloradans freed from these challenges so that our people, not our government, can lead our state forward.
At the end of my first term in office, I will have:
The unemployment rate in our state only tells half the story; too many Coloradans are underemployed, taking second or third jobs just to keep up with the cost of living. In fact, one in four Colorado children live in a household where neither parent has a full time job.
By attracting and creating more STEM jobs in our state, and alleviating the regulatory burden on Colorado workers and business owners, we can raise the quality of life here with higher paying jobs, and ensure that all Coloradans are benefiting.
Colorado has fallen significantly behind our peer states in critical success metrics like high school graduation rate. Instead of blindly throwing money at the problem, we need to be pragmatic in how we spend so we ensure that our tax dollars are going to good use.
At the end of my first term, I want to see our high school graduation rate over 80%, and at least 50% of our 8th graders at grade level in math and reading. We’ll do this by expanding school choice, changing how we license teachers to give districts more flexibility, and increasing the amount of STEM education in classrooms. We need to be raising our expectations, not lowering them.
The current administration has been ineffective in acting on transportation, and as a result, many of our most critical traffic pain points are slowly crumbling into disrepair.
In my administration, fixing our roads will be a priority. We’ll have begun construction on I-25, so that it’s four lanes in both directions, all the way from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. I-70 will also be widened, and we’ll have worked with our mountain communities and businesses to come up with a new plan on how to improve mountain access. We’ll have done it all without increasing taxes.
For too long, our governor’s focus has been limited to those in the metro area, and many of our rural communities have fallen behind. In a Robinson administration, we’ll work to ensure the economic success of all of Colorado, and that starts by making sure that our rural communities have access to the critical technological tools they need to attract jobs -- most critically broadband internet.
In this day and age many jobs can be done from anywhere. We can move some of our state agencies out of Denver and into our smaller, rural towns. This will provide a boost to our rural communities, while also bringing government closer to the people it’s supposed to represent.
Colorado is no longer the healthiest state in the nation. Teen suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and opioid deaths are all at unacceptable levels. These factors are only compounding to cause entirely unaffordable healthcare rates.
We will attack these issues by bringing transparency to our healthcare system, lessening healthcare provider’s regulatory burden to allow innovation and competition to drive cost down. We’ll also focus on prevention and healthy living. By engaging our nonprofits and businesses to work with government, we can create a Colorado-centered solution to healthcare.
Coming from the private sector, I’m shocked by some of the odd, and frankly, backwards practices of those embedded in the government bureaucracy. I believe that our government can be just as cost effective and customer-centric as any business. By bringing grounded, private-sector principles to our state offices, we can do just that.
We’ll hire the most capable team available to work in our state government, and our bureaucracy (where it does exist) will be streamlined, made more efficient, and modernized. We’ll improve our budgeting process and do away with wasteful government spending.
Recreational marijuana has not been delivered to voters as promised. Instead of a safe, regulated system, our state government is playing catch-up to the industry. As a result, high potency marijuana is falling into the hands of our kids, while tax dollars remain unaccounted for.
With thoughtful leadership, we can create the system Coloradans voted for, by taking high potency products off the market, and creating a regulatory system much like the one that governs alcohol in our state. In four years, we’ll have done more to educate our kids about the dangers of drug abuse, and we’ll be more aggressive in going after the black market. We’ll also tighten up the requirements for medical marijuana prescriptions, so that we can push those who are abusing the medical market into the recreational market so Coloradans can get the tax dollars they deserve.
Too often, our elected officials become cynical and conditioned by the system. They turn into the exact political animal they campaigned against. I want my time in office to be different, and as the political leader of our state, I want to be the example for civility at the capitol.
When our elected officials trust one another and see each other as coworkers rather than competitors, I believe we can do so much more.
On the trail, I hear all the time from Coloradans that are frustrated and feel like their voice isn’t being heard by the governor. This is a shame; Coloradans should never feel like their elected officials are distant from them, or that they’re difficult to reach.
I want to open the office of the governor up to Coloradans, and continue to engage in dialogue, even after I’m elected to office. I’ll implement a monthly practice of meeting with any citizen of the state who wants to meet, to hear what they have to say about the issues that are facing our state, and to give them my honest opinions and thoughts in return.
The governorship is a demanding role, and one that I do not take lightly. Part of the reason that I chose this point in my life to step into the public arena was that I felt with four of five children graduated and out of the house, I could invest fully in working for our state, without missing critical moments in my children’s lives.
My family will always be what’s most important to me, and with my youngest son now a sophomore in high school, I am committed to being as involved in his high school experience as I was in his siblings, even with the added responsibilities of the governor’s office. Though the demands of the office can be high, I will have an even stronger relationship with my kids and Diane.