GOP's Brauchler says leadership sets him apart in governor's race

BY PETER ROPER | PROPER@CHIEFTAIN.COM
APR 11, 2017

George Brauchler doesn't want President Donald Trump's administration turning state and local police into federal immigration enforcement officers but the Republican candidate for governor is also opposed to "sanctuary" communities that choose to declare their opposition to enforcing federal law.

"I don't see Colorado as a sanctuary state," the Arapahoe County district attorney said Tuesday. "And I don't think we have the resources to be targeting undocumented immigrants who are not a threat to anyone. And the Supreme Court has ruled that immigration is a federal, not a state concern."

That said, Brauchler said he opposes communities declaring themselves as "sanctuaries" that will oppose federal enforcement.

"The last thing I want to see is anyone being afraid to report crime in their community because of their immigration status," he said.

He was in Pueblo on Tuesday to meet with local Republicans.

Brauchler, 47, is best-known as the prosecutor who pushed for the death penalty against Aurora theater killer James Holmes. The trial jury gave Holmes a life sentence instead. Brauchler still defends his choice to push for a death sentence and has said that he would remove the temporary moratorium on death sentences imposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013.

"The state is in need of leadership," said Brauchler, emphasizing his experience as a prosecutor as well as serving in the Army National Guard and his 2011 deployment to Iraq.

Brauchler supports the Trump administration's call to change the federal Medicaid insurance program to a block grant -- setting limits on the annual expenditure. He said Colorado's decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act has committed the state to open-ended expense.

"Those costs are ultimately unsustainable," he said.

Brauchler lists improving state roads and public education as his top priorities if elected. He notes that his four children all have attended public schools.

Although he opposed the legalization of marijuana, Brauchler said he would defend Colorado state laws that support it.

The 2018 gubernatorial race is already drawing a crowd. Brauchler is the first Republican to formally jump into the race but Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman also are considered likely candidates.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter already has announced his campaign, as has former Treasurer Cary Kennedy and former state Sen. Mike Johnston, of Denver.