You can't help but smile when you walk into Greg Lopez's campaign office - an old tattoo parlor decorated with patriotic table toppers.
"People right now are looking for a voice, they're looking for a candidate who truly understands the challenges that they face every single day."
Those challenges include $5 a gallon gas. Lopez says he has a solution, "I'm going work with our own oil and gas industry to see how we can produce our own gas and keep it here in Colorado."
How he would do that is unclear. Suncor is the only refinery in the state and the company says 95% of its product already stays here.
Many of Lopez's plans are a work in progress, like affordable housing, "The question I'm having from a lot of builders and developers is, 'Greg, it costs me the same to build a bigger home than a smaller home when it pertains to profit' and we need to reevaluate that logic because just because we can make a profit doesn't mean we should make the profit."
He also plans to eliminate sales tax for the next 4-5 years. Last year, it generated nearly $3.5 billion, about a third of General Fund revenue. He says the state has plenty of money, "We look at the efficiencies, we look at the programs themselves, we look at whether they are actually helping?"
He also wants to eliminate all fees. Many of his plans will need legislative action, like a voucher system for education and return of qualified immunity for police. He'd also like to revisit the Red Flag gun law.
As for climate change, he says, "It happens every day."
He's open to discussing ways to protect the environment but says a law overhauling oil and gas regulations ignores the will of voters who shot down a ballot measure to increase setbacks, "I think we deserve a governor who understands that when people speak, we need to understand their positions."
Yet, Lopez has suggested using an electoral college system for statewide elections, even though voters supported a ballot measure on National Popular Vote, "I don't think the people who voted for that truly understand what they voted for."
He says people - including many doctors - are also confused when they insist some abortions are necessary to save a mother's life, "Abortion, to me, is a purposeful intent to end life, not trying to save life. There's totally different concept on that, if you lose a life while trying to save a life, then you need to make a conscious decision about it."
His take on the 2020 election is also nuanced. He has previously said President Trump won. Now, when asked if the election was stolen, he said, "It's hard to tell because I live in Colorado, I don't live in the other states. I think there is enough evidence to say there are some shenanigans going on."
He says he's not sure if he will vote for Trump should he run in 2024, "I'm always voting for those I truly believe are under the right mindset to make the right decisions. I'll have to see when he campaigns."
For now, he's focused on his own campaign. His slogan is "One of us, for all of us."
"I'm going be a governor for those who vote for me and those who don't vote for me."
Lopez served as Director of the Small Business Administration from 2008-2014. He settled a federal case involving influence peddling after leaving the SBA, saying he was never made aware of the rule he was accused of violating. He was also arrested for drunk driving and, 30 years ago, for domestic violence when he was Mayor of Parker. He says everyone makes mistakes and says he's learned from his.
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