Beauprez comes back for second chance
Hopeful says hometown wrong about fracking
Beauprez lost a 2006 gubernatorial bid to former Gov. Bill Ritter by 15 points. While he has received the support of key figures in the GOP establishment — recently, he received the support of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney — others have wondered if it's a good idea to let a guy who lost so badly eight years ago be the state party's standard-bearer again.
When asked in a recent interview why voters should give him another chance, the former congressman reminded Denver Broncos fans that second chances can pay off.
“(It's the) same reason why people who saw John Elway lose that Super Bowl so badly still bought tickets and rejoiced when he finally won one,” Beauprez said. “I'm not John Elway and I'm no Peyton Manning, but I do have a life of experience and success and some of that life experience is making mistakes.”
Beauprez said he has learned from mistakes made during the “painful trial of 2006,” a year that was not good for any Republican, but for him especially. But Beauprez hopes that voters give him a clean slate when Republicans head to the polls for the June 24 GOP primary.
Beauprez, a Lafayette resident, grew up on an area dairy farm before becoming a successful banker. He was elected to Congress in 2002, representing Colorado's 7th Congressional District for two terms before running for governor.
Beauprez believes he is the man among a crowded field of Republicans who can defeat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in the fall. And Beauprez believes there are a number of areas where Hickenlooper is vulnerable, including his “horrible” leadership on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Hickenlooper — a pro-fracking geologist — has hoped that all sides of the fracking debate can find agreement on key issues prior to initiatives being put on the November ballot that would allow communities to have more say over oil and gas drilling.
The governor said last month that the ballot measures could have “draconian” results, but Beauprez said Hickenlooper has brought this problem upon himself due to “failed leadership.”
“This issue didn't just happen,” Beauprez said. “It's been seven years in the making. Every single year the state government has imposed more regulations on the oil and gas industry. It's death by 1,000 cuts and now all of the sudden he says it's draconian. Well, he's invited it.”
Beauprez believes that fracking is a safe practice that benefits the state economically.
“Fracking isn't as complicated if you let science guide the policy ... not myths and hyperbole and a social agenda,” he said.
That viewpoint is at odds with residents of his hometown of Lafayette, the majority of whom voted to support a citywide fracking ban in 2012.
“This isn't the first time we've voted based on emotion and that's what this is,” he said of communities that have placed moratoriums on the practice.
On education, Beauprez, like other Republican candidates, believes that parents should have more choices available as to where they send their kids to school. He also believes that there should be property tax relief for parents who teach their children from home. And, if elected governor, Beauprez said his wife Claudia will head an initiative that would provide books to parents after children are born so they “can read to a child before they get to school.”
Beauprez is particularly concerned about reading scores among schoolchildren in Colorado and believes that the education system needs to be reformed.
“Do we want to fund education? Sure, everybody does,” he said. “But the problem is, we keep saying it's for the children yet we keep failing the children. And when is somebody going to say enough?”
Like other Republicans, Beauprez is pro-death penalty and believes that Hickenlooper made a mistake last year by not going forward with the execution of Nathan Dunlap — the man who killed four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in 1993.
Beauprez, coming from a business background, believes that government rules are harming businesses and, if elected, would work “to get anti-business regulations of our books.”
Beauprez understands that Democrats have a demographic advantage at the state level. The majority of women and minorities — especially a growing Latino voter base — have rejected Republican policies during recent statewide elections. But Beauprez believes such loyalty “hasn't paid off.”
“And I'm looking forward to taking the fight to a Democratic incumbent governor and calling him on that and offering a better solution, better leadership,” he said. “Opportunity in this country was never just reserved for the precious few. It was supposed to be opportunity for everybody ...”