Q&A with Cory Gardner, candidate for U.S. Senate

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Party: Republican

Residence: Yuma

Campaign website: ­www.corygardnerforsenate.com

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I’m the best candidate for the job because I get things done. I’m the third-most bipartisan senator and have been named the most effective member of the Colorado delegation. Since 2015, I’ve had 11 bipartisan bills signed into law, including legislation which secured funding for Aurora’s VA hospital and the most historic conservation bill to become law in 50 years. I work across party lines because the people of Colorado demand independent and focused leadership. I’ll continue to work tirelessly for all four corners of the Centennial State, regardless of ZIP code.

If you’re elected, what single issue will be at the top of your agenda?

We’re experiencing an economic crisis as a result of the coronavirus. Keeping people safe and getting Americans back to work must be our No. 1 priority. Prior to COVID-19, Colorado’s economy saw record job growth, wage increases, its (historically low unemployment rate), and an outdoor recreation economy that employed 229,000 workers and added $11 billion to the economy annually. Working together, we can return to that economic climate and ensure that every Coloradan is safe and healthy.

If you’re elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?

In the past six years, I’ve helped move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Colorado, got funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit to ensure 50,000 Coloradans have access to clean drinking water, secured millions to repair Interstate 25 and Interstate 70, and passed the most sweeping conservation legislation to protect our national parks in the last 50 years. I’m going to build on these accomplishments over the next six years and continue to find common-sense solutions that drive Colorado’s economy, protect Colorado’s public lands and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

Colorado lags behind others in education spending, with more than 30 states, including many in the West, spending more per pupil, according to U.S. Census data. What should senators do to ensure states such as Colorado can spend more to support students?

I believe that quality education stems from the state rather than the federal government, because local school boards, communities and parents best understand the needs of their students and are therefore better equipped to make decisions that will lead to excellence in education. As a Coloradan still paying off his student loans, I understand the hardship that comes with a college education and know the federal government must do more to help. I’ve introduced a number of bipartisan bills in the Senate that would increase minority access in STEM education and help students of all backgrounds pay off their loans.

As Colorado housing prices continue to climb, how can senators increase the supply of affordable housing, or ensure that more of the current housing stock is affordable?

I’ve worked hard to identify and address the root cause of the lack of affordable housing and subsequently worked to secure millions of dollars from the federal government to ensure affordable housing and assistance for those experiencing homelessness in Colorado. Moving forward, we can guarantee more affordable housing by expanding the low-income housing tax credit, preserving existing affordable housing, and making the housing credit better serve extremely low-income families and families in rural areas and Native American communities.

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