We are excited to present our first published Q&A with a real, live politician here at Colorado Pols. Marc Holtzman, Republican candidate for governor, was gracious enough to answer our 11 questions and agree to answer your questions throughout the day on Wednesday.
To submit questions, click on the comment link below and leave your question. Marc will check in throughout the day and answer as many questions as he has time for.
Please help us to make this an ongoing feature here at Colorado Pols by sticking to a couple of rules:
1. Please be gracious. This is a unique opportunity to ask questions of a gubernatiorial candidate in a public forum, so whether you like Marc or agree with what he has to say, please be gracious and polite with your comments and questions.
2. There's 21 months until the November 2006 election, so we can't expect any candidate to have a fully developed platform on issues. Please don't ask Marc to outline in detail his education plans, for example, because it's just too early for
him to have a complete answer. Keep in mind that it's okay for any candidate for 2006 office to be a little vague on some answers this early in the game. If this were October 2006, then anything is fair game. But it's not.
Without further ado, let's get started with 11 Questions with March Holtzman. The answers to these questions are completely unedited and appear in full as Marc Holtzman answered them.
Are you putting together a campaign to run for Governor of Colorado in 2006?
Why would you want to be Governor? What makes the Governor's office better than, say, U.S. Congress or U.S. Senate, besides the fact that the job comes with a cool house?
The governor can make the most measurable impact on people's lives. Colorado is at an important crossroads. The next governor has the capacity to do much good. I prefer the challenge and satisfaction of executive responsibility. Drew Lewis, former US Secretary of Transportation and an early mentor, once told me that he'd rather run his own gas station than be on a committee of one hundred to rule the world. I feel the same.
What are the three issues that interest you the most that make you want to be Governor?
If you don't mind, I will mention four.
First, Coloradans want a governor who will fight to protect our environment and quality of life. This means having a detailed plan on growth and preservation of our natural resources like water. Coloradans are deeply concerned about protecting our special quality of life. A lack of planning and leadership threatens the essence of what makes our home special. As governor, I will lead Colorado toward better alternatives and work for solutions that will protect our environment while respecting private property rights.
Second, the state of K-12 education needs much more work. While progress has been made during the past six years, a lot more needs to be done. I will elaborate further in the next several months, but for now let me state that we need to do more to put our children first. Measurement is good but improving the quality of our schools requires more than just teaching to a test. Teachers, those who struggle and sacrifice on the front line in this, the most noble of causes, deserve much more support and encouragement than we currently give.
Third, I want to work for even more quality job preservation and creation. Colorado is now part of a global economy. As governor, I will lead our efforts as Colorado's salesman-in- chief. There will be a strategy to help empower and support economic development in rural communities that may not have enjoyed the prosperity of the Front Range. As former Colorado Secretary of Technology, I take pride in having led Colorado to the number one ranking among the 50 states in the percentage of technology jobs per thousand. But more needs to be done on many fronts.
Fourth, the next governor will need to address the challenges posed to every Coloradan by rising health care costs and system wide inefficiencies while not giving an inch on quality. As governor, I will strive to alleviate the plight of Colorado's uninsured and to expand affordable coverage for everyone.
What do you say to people who think that running for Governor is too big of a jump for someone who hasn't held prior elected office?
I am firmly of the conviction that the person best qualified to hold public office will always be the candidate with the best combination of promising ideas, vision, enthusiasm and energy -- and not simply the one who has the most "time in grade." A fresh perspective is an enormous asset. The people of Colorado want a problem solver, not a professional politician, as their next governor -- and I have always been a problem solver. I also think it is important to remember that public service experience does not only come in the form of prior elective office. I take enormous pride in my tenure as Colorado's Secretary of Technology. Private sector experience is an asset that can prove enormously valuable to a public servant as well. The governor acts as the state's CEO, and this is an area where I will bring a great deal of experience.
Have you hired any consultants to help you out right now? If not, who are you sounding out for advice?
I am reaching out to many Coloradans in all walks of life for advice, guidance and counsel. It is too early to hire a staff. I am focused in spending most of my free time right now just listening to what is on the minds of my fellow citizens.
Does TABOR need to be altered? If so, why? If not, why?
I strongly support TABOR and am reluctant to see any fundamental change. Most people who talk about changing TABOR have hidden agendas to raise taxes and/ or grow government. It is interesting to me how conveniently many people forget that TABOR already allows the government to retain more money - all it requires is a vote of the people. In any event, I think it would be wise to see what comes out of the legislative session before commenting further.
What do you see as your biggest strength RIGHT NOW as a potential candidate for Governor and how to you plan to highlight your strength?
My ideas and plans for Colorado are my greatest strength. Politics is most importantly about ideas and about bringing people together to find a better way. People who know me are familiar with my track record as a consensus builder and a problem solver. I will work tirelessly to build support for my vision for Colorado's future.
What do you see as your biggest weakness RIGHT NOW as a potential candidate for Governor and how do you plan to address it?
This campaign is more than a year and a half away. Pacing one's self for a marathon not a sprint is something I am learning every day.
If challenged in a primary, how do you see yourself appealing to your party's base and then opening up during a general election?
I am not a candidate who will have different messages for different groups. I am who I am, and I hope people will agree that I possess the leadership skills, passion, integrity and ability to make Colorado proud.
If you had the ability to snap your fingers and make one Colorado sports team win a championship this year, which team would it be and why?(assuming NHL hockey still existed, of course)
As DU president, I was enormously proud of our NCAA championship last year! The victory inspired pride and good feeling all over Colorado. More important, the values of integrity and honor which Coach Gwozdecky teaches our students will serve the players for the rest of their lives. I hope that we will repeat as NCAA champions.
If elected, do you promise to put Hawaiian Punch in all of the drinking fountains in Colorado?
Interesting idea, but I’m more of a Gatorade guy.
Do you have a question for Marc Holtzman? Comment below, and Marc will check back throughout the day on Wednesday to answer as many questions as he has time for...