ALAMOSA — Businessman and former State Representative Victor Mitchell visited with area residents about his goals as candidate for governor during a recent stop in Alamosa.
In his first visit to Alamosa and third to the San Luis Valley, Mitchell attended a meeting hosted by the San Luis Valley Republican Women.
“I come at this as an outsider,” he said. Although serving in the state house for a term, the Republican candidate for governor does not consider himself a politician.
“I think it’s time we had some different types of perspective,” he said.
He said he considers himself an independent-minded conservative.
He and his wife Amy moved to Colorado 22 years ago to start a telecom company, and two of their three children were born here.
“It’s become our forever home,” he said.
Colorado faces some challenges that Mitchell would like to address as governor, he said.
One of those challenges is the overregulation of small businesses in this state. Just in the last eight or nine years, he said, regulations over small businesses have more than tripled.
“We have never been more regulated today in Colorado than we are now,” he said.
The current administration added 120,000 pages of regulations and rules, mostly affecting small businesses. He said he would like to bring in a dozen people from the private sector and nonprofits to review those regulations and recommend how they could be scaled back considerably.
Mitchell said regulations should be about public safety, not overburdening industry and small business.
Economic development is another important issue for Mitchell who said most of the 450-plus events he has held in Colorado have been in rural areas of the state where the economy is not as robust as it is in the Denver metro area. He said there is an economic divide between that Front Range area and rural areas of the state.
Similar to his plan in addressing regulations, Mitchell said he would gather a team of economic development leaders to find out what industries would be best suited for Colorado, especially rural Colorado. He said he was not talking about a major employer like Amazon, which is considering a second headquarters here, but employers who would provide jobs for 20-40 people, especially employers from within the state that have the potential for growth. He said Colorado should be focusing economic incentives on those types of employers rather than Amazon.
Mitchell said the current governor is talking about providing millions of dollars of incentives to Amazon, which is one of the richest companies in the world, and he did not believe taxpayers should have to pay for that. He did not believe any incentive money should be used to lure Amazon, but that economic incentive fund should be used to attract businesses to rural areas where they can make a big impact.
“I don’t think one penny should go to Amazon.”
Health care is another big issue with Mitchell who was not a fan of the Medicaid expansion in the state budget of $650 million in the last six years, with one in four Coloradoans on Medicaid, this in light of Colorado being one of the healthiest states in the country. He described Medicaid as rationed, low quality care, and most doctors do not accept Medicaid patients because of the low reimbursement levels.
He said there is a population for which Medicaid is designed to serve, and that is where the resources should be spent.
Mitchell referred to a health clinic in rural Virginia as an example of how health care could be delivered in an affordable manner through nurse practitioners. In the past year the clinic served 25,000 patients on a $1.5 million budget. Many services from mental health to mammograms and PET scans are available there, he said.
He said many residents have insurance in Colorado but cannot meet their deductibles, so it is like they have no insurance.
He added that the three big winners are hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers in this state, but not the residents.
“We need health care solutions that work for Colorado,” Mitchell said.
Asked about his stand on renewable energy and nuclear energy, Mitchell said although he had not studied nuclear, his philosophy on energy was “all of the above.” He said those who want Colorado to be 100 percent renewable energy and want to eliminate oil and gas are denying 236,000 jobs and a $26 billion industry in this state.
“It makes absolutely no sense at all,” he said. “It should be all of the above.”
When asked about money for roads, Mitchell said he did not believe the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) should receive more money until it became more efficient in how it was spending its current budget. He said 70 percent of CDOT’s $1.6 billion annual budget is overhead, and that percentage should be more like 20 percent. If that were the case, CDOT would have more funding to actually fix roads, he said.
View more of Mitchell’s goals and positions at VIC4GOV.com