Q&A: Cory Gardner talks pandemic response, helping mountain communities recover, bipartisanship and racial equality
The Vail Daily reached out to the campaigns of Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper seeking a virtual meeting with each candidate in Colorado’s closely-watched race for the United States Senate. The Gardner campaign never responded to our request, so we’re running a questionnaire that Gardner completed for the Summit Daily News. To read the interview with Hickenlooper, click here.
The debate around coronavirus public health orders often pits the economy against human life. What do you think the Trump administration did right and wrong in the first six months of pandemic response?
When the pandemic hit, I made sure that I was in close contact with the governor to make sure that the state had the supplies they needed. In April, President Trump, at my request, approved the delivery of 100 ventilators from the national stockpile to the state of Colorado. I helped secure over 100,000 face masks from Taiwan and over 150,000 testing kits from South Korea for our state.
Additionally, I’ve worked to navigate this public health crisis and mitigate its effects in a manner that allows us to keep individuals safe and healthy while simultaneously allowing us to keep businesses operational and people employed. Shortly after the start of the pandemic, Congress moved quickly to pass a bill to help Coloradans in need. My highest priorities during that time were to ensure that individuals were safe, that they were able to get the care they needed, and to secure nearly $13.5 billion in financial relief for small businesses who were hit hard by the ensuing closures.
What would you include in a new coronavirus relief package, and how would those proposals help individuals and businesses?
First and foremost, we need to make sure that we’re helping individuals who are in need. We need to provide relief for those who are worried about how they’re going to meet their rent and mortgage payments; we need to make sure that they’re going to be OK.
Secondly, we need to support our businesses. I support efforts to expand business loans and loan forgiveness to those who continue to struggle. Doing so will keep people hired and doors open. It’s important that our economy can snap back to its full strength and grow even stronger than ever before once the health pandemic is over. Republicans in Congress recently introduced a bill which I voted for that included $15 billion for child care, $105 billion for education, $16 billion for testing and contract tracing, $20 billion for farm assistance. Unfortunately, the bill died after a majority of Democrats voted against the package.
How do you plan to help Colorado’s mountain resort economies recover from the pandemic?
My Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law last month, will enrich Colorado’s mountain communities by creating thousands of jobs and will invest millions to fix our National Parks. For every $1 invested in our National Parks, $10 is returned to the local economy. The employment opportunities created by my bill will be particularly beneficial for individuals who were formerly employed by resorts or hotels that had to lay-off or furlough staff as a result of the pandemic. As Congress works to pass another relief bill, I’ll work hard to make certain that Colorado’s mountain resorts – an invaluable part of the state’s economy – receive adequate relief.
In an increasingly partisan political environment, how do you plan to successfully reach across the aisle to work with members of the opposing party?
As the third-most bipartisan member of the United States Senate, I know how important it is to work across the aisle. Colorado needs Senators who are willing to find common-sense solutions to our most pressing issues. In the six years that I’ve served in the Senate, I’ve always prioritized people over politics. As I continue to work to improve the lives of Coloradans, I’ll continue to work with those whom I disagree with by finding common ground, working hard, and delivering real results for those whom I’ve sworn to serve.
How should Congress respond to the ongoing social justice movement surrounding police brutality against Black men?
This debate has been avoided for too long in our country, and I’m dedicated to taking steps to ensure that men and women of color can feel safe and secure in America as we work towards justice and equality for all. Though our country has made significant strides in ensuring justice for all, recent events have reminded us all of the progress we must continue to work towards. I’m cosponsoring the JUSTICE Act because it would improve law enforcement transparency, accountability, and implement common-sense reforms.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.