Stapleton rallies Vail Valley Republicans; governor candidate stops in Edwards as he circles the state | VailDaily.com

Stapleton rallies Vail Valley Republicans; governor candidate stops in Edwards as he circles the state

Walker Stapleton, center, brought his campaign for governor to Edwards. From left are State House District 26 candidate Nicki Mills, Stapleton, Eagle County GOP chair Kaye Ferry, and State Senate candidate Olen Lund.

Editor's note: The Vail Daily will introduce readers to candidates for statewide political office as they campaign in the region. In this edition is Republican Walker Stapleton, running for Colorado governor. Find more election coverage at http://www.vaildaily.com/election.

EDWARDS — Walker Stapleton, a Republican running for governor, said his Democratic opponent, Jared Polis, will spend $20 million of his personal wealth to beat him.

"The economic future of Colorado is at stake as never before," Stapleton said during a campaign stop in Edwards. "I want to pass a prosperous Colorado on to my kids and your kids, as well, where they can thrive and pursue their hopes and dreams."

The differences

Stapleton spent most of his stump speech pointing out the stark differences between himself and Polis.

Polis is the most "radical and extreme candidate" Coloradans have ever nominated for a governor candidate, Stapleton said. Gov. John Hickenlooper is "Barry Goldwater in comparison," he said.

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Polis is so far out of the mainstream, Stapleton said, that he's proposing a state-run health care system that Stapleton worked to defeat with then-Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter. Hickenlooper also opposed it, Stapleton said.

Polis wants to pay for that and other programs through a double-digit payroll tax increase, Stapleton said.

If it comes to fruition, it will mean longer lines, rationed health care and fewer doctors in rural areas, Stapleton said.

It's also a program that Polis can opt out of and profit from, Stapleton said, after Polis launched a medical tourism business.

"He wrecks Colorado's economy while he opts out. This is not the economic future I want for our state," Stapleton said.

Attainable housing, roads and infrastructure, education, health insurance costs and available health care top Stapleton's list.

"I believe passionately that we can make health care more affordable and improve access," he said. "We can do this by working together in a Colorado way that's collaborative."

Polis' promises add up to three times the current state budget. They'll pay for it by jacking up taxes and fees, Stapleton said.

Stapleton said he supports an all-of-the-above energy policy and asserts that Polis wants to banish fossil fuels. Stapleton said $1.2 trillion has been spent on renewables, and yet they generate only 3 percent of the nation's energy.

Eliminating fossil fuels means eliminating 230,000 jobs and $32 billion in economic impact in Colorado, Stapleton said.

"There is nothing worse than bad government. Jared Polis personifies bad government," Stapleton said.

Campaign is a family matter

Stapleton has twice won statewide races for state treasurer.

"This will make it three times," Stapleton said of his campaign for governor.

He and his wife have three small children who are helping the campaign in their own way. Their middle daughter stuffed her school backpack with "Stapleton For Governor" buttons and bumper stickers.

"I got a little choked up. On the way to school, I had to tell her that some of the kids in first grade may be more excited than others to get these," Stapleton said.

Their youngest, 4, loves campaign events because there's candy. Their son works campaign events, and one day turned to his dad and asked, "How much are you going to pay me for this?"

"My wife and I have properly raised this kid as a capitalist. He recognizes that there is value to his work," Stapleton said.

They settled up in a sports memorabilia store in Denver, where their son invested wisely and well in baseball collectibles, and where they enjoyed a teachable moment.

"If dad wins this very important election, you get to keep your money. If dad's opponent wins, you may have to redistribute your money to your two younger sisters," Stapleton said to his son.

Their son turned to his younger sister and said that Jared Polis wants to tax kids.

"That means the price of Barbies and bubblegum is going up," Stapleton said.

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