Primary election 2018

Q&A with Mike Johnston, Democratic candidate for governor


City or town of residence: Denver, for 15 years.

Related elected-office or public-service experience: Eight years as a public-school teacher and principal, seven years as a state senator for District 33.

Why are you seeking this office?

I've spent my career solving the toughest problems in the toughest places, from teaching in rural Mississippi to taking on the National Rifle Association after the Aurora theater shooting. As governor, I will continue to solve our state's toughest problems — education funding, affordable healthcare, crumbling roads and bridges — by building coalitions broad enough to get things done.

What makes you the most qualified person for the position?

During my seven years in the state Senate, I passed more than 120 bills — 100 of which had bipartisan support. I have a proven track record of bringing people together to get big things done. So whether it's adequately and equitably funding our education system or ensuring our schools and communities are safe from gun violence, I know I can make progress in the future because I've done it before.

What would your top two priorities be if elected?

The most important issue on the minds of voters is education. And so, as governor, I would quickly work to repeal the worst parts of TABOR (Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) so we can fund our schools, pay our teachers more and set every kid in Colorado up for success in the future. The second-most important issue I would tackle as governor is gun safety. It's past time we got military-style weapons off the streets of Colorado and out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others. I would protect the first two portions of my #4nomore plan — magazine capacity limits and universal background checks — while also working to pass the second two: red-flag laws and a bump-stock ban.

What else should voters know about you?

I'm the only candidate who grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado, so I have a unique perspective on what it would mean to serve all of Colorado as governor. I'm fluent in Spanish. I would be the first teacher-principal to lead our state at the highest level. And I brake for doughnuts.


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