A crowded race to become Colorado's next governor includes former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez.
Lopez, 53, was elected at the age of 27, serving from 1992-96, and is proud of the fact he was the first Hispanic candidate to hold the position.
Following his term as mayor, Lopez served as district director of Colorado's Small Business Administration from 2008-14. In 2016, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. The Republican now lives in Elizabeth, owning and operating a consulting business as well as a bar and restaurant in Aurora that he runs with his son.
More than 20 candidates are seeking to replace term-limited Democrat John Hickenlooper in the November 2018 election. On the Republican side, notable candidates include District Attorney George Brauchler, of Parker; businessman Victor Mitchell, of Castle Rock; and Mitt Romney's nephew, Doug Robinson, of Centennial.On the Democratic side, the most recognizable names so far are Congressman Jared Polis, of Boulder; former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, of Denver; and former state Sen. Mike Johnston, also of Denver.
What did you do as mayor of Parker that makes you a good choice for governor?
I'm the one that made all of the decisions to build the Parker Rec Center. The council was split, so I was fortunate enough to make all of the decisions to break the ties.
The other (accomplishment) I am most proud of was an annexation, it was called the Jacobson property… The council at the time was very adamant that they were going to authorize it or approve it. They forgot that I had veto power.
So I vetoed the project, and what happened was the applicant decided to take it to the ballot… The results were three to one in my favor… That is the one time I can honestly say that I had my finger on the pulse of the community and I did exactly what their wishes were.
The biggest challenge that Colorado faces is not what everybody else talks about — it's not transportation. The biggest challenge is that we have 1.4 million people receiving coverage for medical care under Medicaid, and the state needs to do more to allow these individuals to provide for their families…
What I think we need to do is partner with local jurisdictions, chambers of commerce, and create programs by which people will be able to increase their abilities, increase their skill sets and have dignity knowing they have a job.
We're reaching a point where only the wealthy or those who can fund their own campaigns are the ones that are going to find themselves in elected office at the highest levels. For me it goes beyond that. The next governor has to win the county of Denver and has to win Boulder. If you don't win those two counties, it doesn't matter how much money you spend, you're not going to be the next governor of Colorado...
I'm the only candidate that can go into the City and County of Denver and garner the support of the minority community.
It may matter for the other candidates, but it won't matter for me because, as you look at me, just the visuals, I am not your typical Republican…
It's important for me to always understand that I'm here to do what's in the best interest of the state, not what's in the best interest of the party. I don't care if a solution comes from a Republican or a Democrat or an unaffiliated, I'm interested in solving problems.
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