Businessman Mitchell stumps for governor in Edwards. ‘Outsider’ does not want Colorado to become another California | VailDaily.com

Businessman Mitchell stumps for governor in Edwards. ‘Outsider’ does not want Colorado to become another California

Businessman and entrepreneur Vic Mitchell says he is running for the Republican governor nomination against George Bush's cousin (Walker Stapleton) and Mitt Romney's nephew (Doug Robinson).

EDWARDS — Scott Prall was asked for yet another political donation from yet another political candidate and said what he always does.

"You have to come here, shake my hand and look me in the eye," Prall said.

Vic Mitchell is the only candidate to do it, which explains how Mitchell came to be in Edwards with Prall and Sally Jacaruso for a campaign event — one of 600-plus campaign events Mitchell has been part of since he started running for Colorado governor almost a year and a half ago.

The Republican Mitchell says he's running against "George Bush's cousin" (Walker Stapleton) and Mitt Romney's nephew (Doug Robinson) for their party's nomination.

Don't Californicate Colorado

Mitchell called this a watershed election.

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"I don't want see us become another California, and I fear that's where we're headed," Mitchell said.

They're not accepting political endorsements, no PAC or lobbyist money, no "special interest" money, but if you want to give them $20.18, that'd be great.

They've worn out one campaign vehicle and another was rear-ended and wrecked. Of their 600-plus events, 300 have been on the Western Slope.

Colorado's urban/rural economic divide is real. Five Colorado counties are among the country's poorest, he said.

He vehemently opposes subsidies for businesses in richer urban areas. The Amazon package springs to mind.

"Not one penny should go to Amazon," Mitchell said. "They're one of the richest companies in the world, worth more than a trillion dollars, and our government is going to give them money? If Amazon wants to come to Colorado, we welcome them, but they should not be getting corporate welfare."

Economic incentives should go to small and mid-sized businesses, 50 to 150 employees, he said.

He's big on vocational education and community colleges.

As a state, we've never been as regulated as we are right now. In the last eight years, Colorado's state government has added 128,000 pages of new rules and regulations.

"Most are detrimental to our state's businesses," Mitchell said.

He'll bring a blue ribbon panel to review the state's regulations from top to bottom, with public safety as a benchmark.

"If a regulation is not truly about public safety, it should be gone," Mitchell said.

A little about Vic

It may sound like a movie script, but Mitchell's story is true.

He was raised by blind single mother. They moved 11 times and were homeless a few times. He started working at 13 and hasn't stopped.

When he was 21 he and wife Amy started the first of six successful businesses — mostly telecom and finance. He said he hopes to bring that entrepreneurial spirit to the Colorado capitol.

Circling back to education. Mitchell said he wants to triple the number of STEM graduates in Colorado and beef up community colleges, while freezing in-state tuition.

"We're the fourth-most expensive state in the country to send someone to college," he said.

Expanding vocational training is high on his agenda.

He taught at Colorado State University and served in the Colorado State Legislature, passing legislation when Republicans were outnumbered 40-25 by Democrats. Among the bills was a crackdown on payday lenders, who he thought were preying on poor people.

He plans to help lower healthcare and health insurance costs through price transparency.

At one of his rural events, Vic and Amy met a farmer needed an MRI. They have insurance, but they have an $11,000 deductible and did not have that kind of cash. The next day Amy got on the phone and called Dry Creek Imaging near Castle Rock, and they could do the identical procedure for $600.

"That's the power of transparency," Mitchell said. "You should be able to go to any provider anywhere in our state, and they have to tell you the cash prices and the insurance prices. That would give you power as a consumer."

Mitchell says he considers himself an independent minded conservative.

"Not a lot of us have a lot of confidence in our institutions. Wouldn't it be amazing if I came back here in a two years as your governor and could say, 'Our roads are better, our schools are better, our healthcare is more accessible, we're rolled back regulations and people are opening up more businesses. I think that's possible, and that's why I'm running for governor," Mitchell said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.