GOP governor candidate Doug Robinson pays a visit | PostIndependent.com

GOP governor candidate Doug Robinson pays a visit

Doug Robinson, one of the many candidates in the crowded race to replace outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper in next November's election, was in Glenwood Springs Thursday.

He's not the first, and he probably won't be the last of the candidates for the state's top executive office to make their way to Garfield County.

In the kind of small, intimate gathering typical of the early election season, before party caucuses and assemblies thin the field this spring, Robinson met with a handful of prospective supporters at the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub.

Robinson has never held public office, but he does have some name recognition as a nephew of 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

He was among the first to enter what's now a large field of 11 current GOP candidates who are vying for the party's nomination to run for governor. Robinson sees himself among, realistically, about a half dozen candidates who have a legitimate shot, he said.

Among them are former congressman and often polarizing past gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter.

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"I feel like Colorado is drifting, and we lack the leadership we need," Robinson said, taking Gov. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, to task for increasing the state's budget by half during his eight years in office, but reducing funding for highways and other infrastructure.

"We have not had enough investment in infrastructure in Colorado, and I see that wherever I go," he said. "It's roads, it's water, and it's broadband."

Robinson did praise a major project that was built under Hickenlooper's watch, Glenwood's very own $126.5 million Grand Avenue Bridge.

"What a difference that made … to have that investment," he said, noting that his last visit to Glenwood was during the final bridge construction and detour in October.

Education is also a major focus of Robinson's campaign.

"We have to do better for our kids," he said. "We need to have higher expectations, we need to get more money to the teachers in the classroom … and we need allow more individualized paths to learning."

College is not for every student, Robinson said, calling for more career, trade and technical training in secondary education.

Among his more passionate issues involves the state's growing drug problem, from promoting better education to youth and young adults around the legalization and commercialization of marijuana to dealing with the opioid crisis.

Robinson and his wife Diane started the nonprofit Smart Colorado following the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. It seeks ways to better protect children from the impacts of marijuana through education and prevention programs, he said.

"We have a drug problem in Colorado … and the first step to recovery is to say we have a problem," Robinson said. "Most of our leaders won't say we have a problem."

On the marijuana front, he calls for cracking down on tax avoidance in the industry, reining in potency levels for THC, and "going after the black market more aggressively."

The potential medical benefits of one of the agents in marijuana, CBD, should be better researched, he said. "Colorado could be a leader in that research," Robinson said.

Robinson said Colorado can have a conservative, business-minded governor who is not "us versus them, but us for them," he said.

Leading Democrats vying for the governor's seat in an equally crowded field include Congressman Jared Polis, current Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, Denver businessman Noel Ginsburg, and former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, who visited Glenwood Springs in December.