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Rep. Cory Gardner

With Congress’ approval at its lowest ever, in the single digits, PULP wants to spark a discussion with candidates over issues and, more importantly, how they plan to represent the state. We want to give readers insight into how politicians view representing a diverse population in Colorado and how the candidates intend to get things done. Cory Gardner, a fifth-generation Coloradan, has represented the 4th congressional district in Colorado since 2010. He serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Before being elected to congress, he served in the state legislature for five years.

Representative Gardner as candidate for Senate what’s the biggest issue in this race?

Colorado’s position as a global leader in energy production continues to play a big role in this race.  Our state’s vast renewable energy resources and how to best develop them will also contribute to the discussion. The devastating effect of President Obama’s healthcare law on Coloradans’ freedom to keep the health insurance plan of their choice – something which wouldn’t even be an issue without Senator Udall’s critical vote on the measure – remains a top concern as well.

How your views on the issue running for a statewide office change from your views running in your district?

Issues important in the 4th Congressional District like jobs, the economy, health care, energy, education, and veterans’ care, are equally as important across all four corners of Colorado.

In a recent campaign ad you say that politicians should act accountable for the next generation’s sake. What challenges come with doing that?

Career politicians in Washington are too focused on short-term reelection goals instead of offering long-term solutions to our challenges. Washington continues to pile up trillions of dollars in debt and ignore our broken healthcare system, and we have a duty to reform it.

In every decision and vote we make as representatives, we must consider not just how it will play out today but how our choices affect the lives of our children and their future. The next generation has every right to hold us accountable for the decisions we make today.

It’s hard to believe that the “next generation” of politicians will be any different. What’s the difference between the old and the new?

Unlike Senator Udall’s Washington, the next generation of leadership is willing to work on issues across party lines and with a greater appreciation of how decisions made will affect constituents back home and not Washington special interests. There is a greater energy and real commitment to getting things done.

Being that the state is practically divided in terms of political parties, how do you represent the people who don’t vote for you?

While Coloradans may identify with different political parties, individuals across our state share many of the same goals. Coloradans want to build better lives for our families, give our children the best education possible, and make sure that we are taking care of our seniors.

You come from a part of the state that made national news for wanting to secede from Colorado. How do you represent a state that has two very different ideologies about government?

Coloradans want to know their voices and concerns are being heard no matter where they live. As Senator, I will welcome diverse input from all of my constituents and work each and every day to improve the lives of my fellow Coloradans. Contrary to what some might say, differences in opinion don’t have to lead to irreconcilable division–rather, they often form the basis for meeting new challenges head-on with a fresh perspective for the future.

Is there a common denominator between urban Colorado and rural Colorado? It seems to be two completely different worlds.

I think it’s easy to try and divide Colorado: urban and rural, Republican and Democrat, poor and rich. But whether our fellow Coloradans live in downtown Denver or out on the plains near Akron, we all wake up every day working hard to better our lives, help our families, improve our neighborhoods, and build stronger communities. We need that positive outlook and drive in Washington–we need someone focused on finding common ground, regardless of background, and that’s the kind of leader I will be in the Senate.

And how do you find a balance between the two? Not everything that works in Denver works in Yuma. Whose issue becomes more important in Washington?

I agree that there are often better ways to solve problems than top-down solutions, which is why I have long advocated for taking into account differing local needs and input from community stakeholders. Working to reduce our national debt, promote an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and reform inefficient government bureaucracy is something that works as well in Denver as it does in Yuma. As Senator, I’ll work equally hard to address local and national issues that affect all Coloradans no matter where they live.

Our interview with incumbent Sen. Mark UdallUdall / Gardner – What they said and didn’t say