Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is hoping to earn another term after his first six years in the Senate. The Yuma, Colorado, native has also represented Colorado's 4th Congressional District and was a member of the state House of Representatives from 2005-2011.
What do you feel is the best way for the federal government to handle COVID-19?
Sen. Gardner: Well there are 3 things I have looked at throughout this entire pandemic. One, is what the federal government is doing to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. It's why we passed legislation to provide personal protective equipment to increase our stockpile, increase our spending on research for therapeutics, development of vaccines. What we're doing to make sure we provide hospitals with funding from Colorado Springs, Pueblo and beyond to make sure they have the dollars they need to get through this pandemic together.
The second thing is to make sure individuals are going to be OK, that we help them to make sure they can make rent payments, meet their mortgages. That's why we did the recovery rebates, the unemployment insurance to help make sure people get through this together.
The third approach the federal government has to pursue is to make sure we have an economy that can snap back once the pandemic is over and people can get back to work. These are not three things you do in isolation of each other, this plan requires doing all three things at the same time: addressing the health impact of COVID-19, helping make sure the individuals are going to be OK to get through this, and making sure our economy is able to snap back -- all three have to be done simultaneously. It's why I supported the CARES Act, it's why I've introduced legislation to create a national testing and diagnostic plan. It's why I've supported efforts to increase testing and make sure we have vaccines available as soon as possible.
We need to make sure the federal government is helping schools, get as many kids as safely as possible back into school, it's why we've supported efforts for additional protective equipment for healthcare workers, front-line workers, essential workers, and we have to continue to do more and more every single minute as we help individuals and businesses and communities get back on their feet.
If re-elected, how can you help the Senate get past partisan gridlock?
Sen. Gardner: The truth of the matter is it requires a bipartisanship to get anything done in the Senate. Republicans and Democrats are needed to pass any piece of legislation. It's why I'm ranked the third-most bipartisan member of the Senate by the Lugar Institute [Center], because I work with both sides of the aisle to get things done. I've now passed more legislation into effect than the entire Colorado Congressional delegation combined, having bills signed into law by President [Barack] Obama and President [Donald] Trump, including most recently the enactment of the Great American Outdoors act, my legislation that has been widely recognized as the most significant conservation accomplishment in over 50 years -- it took both Republicans and Democrats to get there. You can't get anything done in the Senate unless you work with Republicans and Democrats, and my record proves that's what I've done for the last 6 years and what I'll continue to do for the next 6 years.
What are the biggest issues facing Colorado as a state that must be solved at the Senate level?
Sen. Gardner: We have to make sure we're getting through this pandemic, not only with the health impacts of it but also the economic impacts, and getting people back to work. Prior to the pandemic, we had record low unemployment in Colorado, we had great wage growth in Colorado, and we need to get back to that by helping make sure we get this economy moving again as we address the health impacts.
Look, Colorado is also a great outdoors state, the Great American Outdoors Act that I sponsored is going to create thousands of jobs across the state of Colorado, particularly in those communities hit hard by the early shutdowns of our ski areas. It's also about making sure we have successful implementation of Space Command that is now operating in Colorado, making sure we continue to build the Arkansas Valley Conduit in southeastern Colorado. Those are just a few of the critically important issues as we get through this pandemic that we have to continue to work on.