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Robinson highlights infrastructure, education

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By Sal Christ

Last month, gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson made a campaign stop at DW’s 285 Diner in Conifer, where he spoke with area residents about why he’s running for governor and issues he’s passionate about, such as education. A longtime Colorado resident, the Republican is one of eight candidates vying for Colorado’s top office in the weeks before Colorado’s primary elections June 26 — including former state legislators Victor Mitchell and Mike Johnston, Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, former state treasurer Cary Kennedy, and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.

The Courier interviewed Robinson after his visit to Conifer about why he’s running, what he thinks about marijuana and whether he thinks President Donald Trump has been good for Coloradans.

What is your background?

I am a businessman who cares about kids and their future. I have been fortunate to have been successful in business — I started a company called St. Charles Capital with a few others and we sold it to KPMG, (one of the Big Four accounting firms), a few years ago. I also started a nonprofit called KidsTek, which teaches kids from disadvantaged backgrounds about technology.

My wife and I also started another nonprofit called SMART Colorado, which aims to protect youth against marijuana use. As a result, we’ve been responsible for more than 12 pieces of legislation. I’m also a father of five, an avid outdoorsman and a skier.

Why are you running for governor?

I have been frustrated with a lack of leadership in our state to address our long-term pressing issues such as infrastructure. We haven’t had the leadership to build our roads. Our kids are not being prepared for the right jobs out there. We’re good at recruiting people to Colorado, but not good about teaching our kids. I think my background could be for the state in those areas. …

I grew up in Michigan and my grandfather was George Romney, a three-term governor in Michigan, and then my uncle is (former Massachusetts governor) Mitt Romney. I saw that really the governor is the one that can make a difference and lead on a number of these issues, and I’m confident that I can do it.

Infrastructure and education are key issues in Colorado right now. What are your thoughts on those things?

Where infrastructure is concerned, we’ve simply underinvested in our roads over the last decade or so and it shows. We need an immediate, major investment. I believe the right solution is what former Governor Bill Owens did over 20 years ago: Ask for $3.5 to $4 billion in a bond issue from voters that would go toward widening the highways.

With education, we have to better prepare our kids for college and the jobs — 40 percent of our kids are reading at just grade-level and only 77 percent are graduating, and that’s not good enough. There’s been a lot of focus on teacher pay recently and I’m sympathetic to this. I believe we are not paying our teachers enough, but I don’t think a big tax hike is the answer.

We need to drive administrative costs at the district level into classrooms.

What are your thoughts on the ongoing marijuana debate?

Marijuana is legal here, but we need to hold the industry accountable for what we were promised — the tax dollars. … It’s a mostly cash business today and I think we need to ensure business owners are paying the taxes that are due. I think there are a number of people that are purchasing and using the medical marijuana in order to avoid the taxes on the recreational marijuana, so I would want to force medical marijuana license holders to get their license renewal from a medical doctor and not a pot doctor.

What are your thoughts on the president is doing for Colorado?

I think there’s a lot of what Trump is doing that is doing a lot for Americans and Coloradans. I like having Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court, and I like the lower taxes. I like the work we are doing with North Korea on denuclearization. I get frustrated by a lot of what he says and his lack of inclusiveness, though.

Contact reporter Sal Christ at sal@evergreenco.com or at 303-350-1035. Follow her on Twitter @decriture.