I have been a proud Coloradan since age two when my parents heeded the words of Republican Horace Greeley to “Go West!” They left the skyscraping buildings of New York City for the sky piercing peaks of our Rocky Mountains.
My youth was filled with school, sports, church, friends and—most importantly—family. My parents saw crime rates in New York rising quickly, and with that, they sought a place where they could raise their growing family. Because of their selfless, hard-working attitudes, my siblings and I came from a comfortable, middle class home in Lakewood provided by two full-time working parents.
My father, the son of a first-generation American, grew up in Queens, New York. He became the first in his family to graduate from college and was drafted to the U.S. Army where he served honorably during the Vietnam War. He spent a career mastering computers and networks (before that was a thing) while living his life faithfully.
My beloved mother was one of nine children born to a farmer and his wife in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania. She was expected to be a farmer’s wife, or perhaps even a secretary. Mom was never much for the expectation of others. She left the family farm after high school, got married, and found a way through grit, guts and brains to earn a bachelor’s, masters’ and law degree. All while being a wife, mother to three and a full time fighter for justice with the Office of Civil Rights.
Their efforts are now mine: to turn over to our children a Colorado with even greater opportunities to succeed, and higher expectations for service to others.
My parents are the source of my greatest life lessons. I owe to them my deep drive to work hard. Their goal was to build rock-solid conservative values into my life, including the central motivation to serve people with my time, talent and any resources I have. My parents’ Christian beliefs underscored the importance of family, community and serving those around us, and that’s why I serve.
My strong desire to serve and do what I could where I could started early. To help pay for college, I earned a U.S. Army ROTC Scholarship and took it to CU-Boulder where I began my education in the vaunted Aerospace Engineering program. It turns out that Aerospace Engineering is for folks a lot smarter than I am. Super smart folks even. I shifted gears and still within four years earned degrees in Economics and Political Science. I was recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate for my performance in ROTC before later graduating from CU Law School where I used to cut classes to learn how to conduct trials as an intern in the District Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County. It is there, more than twenty years ago, where I began my career as a prosecutor. During my time in JeffCo I worked with the best in the business, learned to define justice as more than victory in trial, and along the way, worked on some of the biggest criminal cases in Colorado.
In uniformed service to my country, among more than twenty years of assignments and challenges, I have been called upon to train our military prosecutors throughout the country and across the world. I have been mobilized twice since 9/11 and served as the Chief of Military Justice for Fort Carson, and ultimately, the US Division-North, 4th Infantry Division, Taskforce Ironhorse in Tikrit, Iraq.
Upon returning from Iraq I challenged the status quo and ran for District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties) when nobody thought it was “my turn.” Despite being outspent in the Primary and the General Election, I became the first District Attorney elected from outside of the DA’s office since before the US landed on the moon. I have served as DA for the most populous jurisdiction in CO since 2013. One of the most significant challenges for my community and for whom I serve took place in Aurora where we experienced one of the darkest moments in our recent history. Throughout that tragedy, in the face of an uncertain outcome, I chose to fight for justice for the families who were impacted by this heartbreak and for the community who determined not to be defined by it.
I have always sought to grow and innovate whatever office I’ve worked in. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is no different. In the years I have proudly led this office we have increased transparency, demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility, improved relationships with law enforcement and diligently pursued justice for our victims.
I continue to serve my state and my country in uniform. I am honored to have been promoted to the rank of Colonel in our Army National Guard. During my time in uniform I have served in numerous leadership positions, deployed to Iraq, and have been called upon to provide training to officers throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Opportunity, Leadership, Public Service
I am a husband to my lovely and overachieving wife, Marcia. Marcia has been an entrepreneur and successful local business owner in our community for more than seventeen years. Like other parents, our proudest achievements are our four ever-active children. Our kids go to public schools and each have attended a charter grade school where we live.
I have a vision for the Colorado that I love. I want to keep our state out of the rat race that leads to the mindless mainstream. I want Colorado to lead the country as a state where our kids want to stay and raise their families. I want Colorado’s economy to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone, especially those who have historically felt shut out of our economic successes. I want small businesses and farmers and ranchers to grow and flourish. I want education to prepare and nourish future citizens and tomorrow’s leaders. I want the safety and security of our communities to be a chief priority. I recognize that our Plains and Western Slope continue to wait for the economic recovery that came to the Front Range long ago and that “success” for Colorado is more than Denver. I want success for Colorado to be defined as what takes place from border to border, not just in our great capital city.
This is not the direction we are currently heading and that is why I am asking for your vote. I’m not a millionaire and I’m not the heir to family political stature. I am a proud Coloradan who loves our state. As your elected governor, I will work with the diverse and dynamic communities of Colorado to cultivate opportunity, liberty, safety and justice for all.
Eliminating Barriers to Opportunity and Expanding
Prosperity for All of Colorado
The system seems to work best for those who have the most. The burdens of government are too often placed on the shoulders of Colorado families and inhibit their ability to achieve economic prosperity. Our businesses, both large and small, are the backbone of our economy. I will protect Colorado’s businesses from excessive regulation and government overreach. As a state, we must foster an economic environment that does not stifle innovation and excellence, but rather one that encourages businesses to develop and grow.
As governor, I will stand up to those whose knee-jerk reaction to every challenge is to legislate behavior, regulate business and increase taxes and fees on our hard-working families. I will do so by protecting the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, rejecting unnecessary regulations that destroy jobs, and protect Colorado from the heavy hand of Washington mandates.
Unfortunately, homeownership in Colorado has become out of reach for far too many. Homeownership cannot become an option only for the “haves.” Current construction litigation laws must be reformed to encourage the development of affordable housing for our growing Colorado families and the next generation. As governor, if our legislature fails to address this problem, this will be a top priority.
Colorado has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources and fertile soil. Our mining and energy sectors can safely harvest these resources, deliver high-paying jobs for Coloradans and protect our state’s great beauty. Our farmers and ranchers have been long neglected by politicians in Denver. As the stewards of our environment, their land and water rights must be protected.
Transportation – Fixing our Roads
Our roads suck. My family and I drive them every day. Traffic congestion and deteriorating roads have a negative impact on commerce in Colorado. Time wasted in unnecessary traffic delays is time away from family, fun and productivity. State government must be forced to prioritize just like every hard-working Colorado family does. We can, and should, make transportation a top priority. As governor, I will lead on this issue and work with the legislature to develop a strategy for improving our roads and bridges without raising taxes.
Coloradans deserve access to patient-centered healthcare and affordable premiums. Obamacare must be repealed to make this happen. Since becoming the law of the land, Obamacare has driven more and more Coloradans onto our Medicaid rolls. At the same time, it has stifled the state’s ability to be innovative and has driven costs up at the expense of other state funding priorities, like education and transportation. We need greater flexibility that gets Washington out of the way and allows our state leaders to craft a Colorado-specific Medicaid plan that is best for Colorado’s unique needs.
The foundation to a strong economy and community, and the key to individual achievement, is our education system. Colorado’s education system must be improved. We must recognize that every child learns differently and reject one-size-fits-all education models and federal government mandates dreamed up by bureaucrats far from here, such as Common Core. Colorado should strive for an education system focused on the student above all else. The education of our children ought to be a cooperative effort between parents and teachers with an emphasis on the curriculum, not just testing. We will assess and make the necessary changes to our system by encouraging, creating and training future educators to provide the quality education our children deserve.
A child's parents are their foremost educators. That is a fact. Parents should have the right to determine the best course of their child’s education throughout every level, including public, private, charter and homeschooling options. Regardless of the route taken, accountability based on results is essential to ensuring that all of our children have an opportunity for success.
I am personally invested in the success of our education system. Our four children are in public schools. They have attended charter schools. Our family will be consumers of Colorado’s education system for many years to come. I want them, one day, to have the confidence to trust their future children to our state’s public educational offerings.
Colorado should be on the forefront of innovation and technology. To accomplish this, we will assist our local school districts to develop high-achieving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs, encourage student participation and recruit/retain STEM educators. As we continue to develop future leaders in STEM fields, we will draw new companies and high-paying jobs to Colorado with our educated workforce.
We must also recognize that every student is unique. Our high school graduates and returning veterans need to be provided with a variety of opportunities for postsecondary enrichment, including 2 and 4 year colleges/universities, technical schools and online education. I will work with the private sector to create a pipeline to quality jobs for our graduates.
The rising cost of college tuition appears to be out of control and has become a burden on too many Colorado students and families. Seemingly insurmountable debt discourages the pursuit of higher education for some and limits the freedom of others who dare to pursue a college degree. In conjunction with the leadership of Colorado’s public universities, we will develop strategies and programs to award our hard-working students degrees in their chosen fields without forcing them into crippling debt.
Safe Communities and the Rule of Law
As a Colonel in the Colorado Army National Guard and as a District Attorney, I understand well the threats our state and our communities face on a daily basis. Our police, firefighters and first responders are on the front lines of our defense and they need to be treated respectfully and with the highest regard. I will vigorously defend them when they are right, encourage improvement where needed and expect accountability at all times.
I will ensure that our local law enforcement agencies have the resources that are necessary to keep our communities safe. As a prosecutor, I understand the special importance of protecting our children from predators and school violence, and protecting our families from the perils of domestic abuse.
As great as our Colorado law enforcement officers are, they cannot be everywhere there is evil and danger at the most critical moments. I will not waver on my support of the 2nd Amendment as a means for our law-abiding residents to protect themselves and their families.
I will fight to defend innocent life.
As a state, justice and decency dictate that we must do more to combat drug and alcohol abuse, and address the wide range of mental health issues that adversely impact our communities and burden our judicial system. To accomplish this, we will encourage increased availability of treatment programs, as well as educate and empower our residents and families to seek treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.
I believe in the effectiveness of community policing, community sentencing and restorative justice.
Our laws matter. The process by which we create laws matters. I will not act based on the law as I wish it were, but as the law is written. Elected officials are empowered and bound to follow the law.
A safe community is one in which all feel free to exercise their rights and lawfully pursue their dreams without fear of discrimination. I will continue to work toward an inclusive government dedicated to promoting excellence and opportunity.
Proven Conservative Leadership
Colonel, Colorado Army National Guard (2015-Current)
United States Army Reserve (1996-2015)
District Attorney, 18th Judicial District (2013-Current; Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties)
- Created unprecedented and unmatched accessibility to the public and media on issues of accountability, including budget, open records and civil asset forfeitures.
- Made all office expenditures and budget requests available to the public online, as well as all monies spent of the Aurora Theater Shooting case and expenditures of money from forfeited assets.
- Requested that the Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Boards of County Commissioners cut my salary to the lowest in Colorado, despite responsibility for the largest office in the most populous jurisdiction in Colorado.
- Although our caseload has increased significantly, the office budget grew less than the budgets of the State of Colorado, the Public Defender’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Treasurer’s Office and the District Attorneys’ Offices in Denver, Boulder and others.
- As the exclusive prosecution authority for state crimes committed in this jurisdiction, created a Domestic Violence Unit to develop prosecution specialists who can get justice in these difficult cases.
- Launched the second-in-the-state Veterans Treatment Court in 2013 for veteran offenders struggling with service-related trauma issues.
- Established a Human Trafficking Team to aggressively tackle this burgeoning crime of sexual slavery against some of the most vulnerable in our community.
- Created a Cold Case Unit to try to make sure that those who commit the worst crimes cannot walk away from them forever.
- Personally led the prosecution of the Aurora Theater Massacre, arguably the largest, most logistically challenging and most scrutinized trial of its kind ever in Colorado.
- Recruited and hired eight actively drilling Reservists and Guardsmen, from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. Several have deployed to war zones.
- Provided leadership with the state legislature to pass laws protecting citizens and opposing laws that make our communities less safe.
- Joined the Colorado District Attorneys Association and became its elected President (2015-2016)
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