Rob Woodward, State Senate candidate

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

People seek elected office for a multitude of reasons. For Rob Woodward, Republican candidate for Senate District 15, the litany of red tape he deals with as a small-business owner was a driving force in his decision to run for the Colorado State Senate.

Rob and Paula Woodward.

Sitting at the Berthoud Subway restaurant, which he owns, Woodward was asked why he chose to throw his hat in the ring for the state senate and said, “As a business person, over the last couple of decades I have felt the boot on my throat more and more every year. It feels like I’m getting pressure from the government bureaucrats and they are trying to catch me doing something wrong. It’s taking away funds. I’d rather go and create business, create jobs, invest in people than do paperwork.”

Woodward explained how, as someone who owns businesses in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, he has seen the best and worst of each state’s business environment and believes he can take some of the best things about the other two and bring them to Colorado. “Legislators are very good at passing well-intentioned legislation that, in the end, if they don’t think about the unintended consequences it comes back to add paperwork to the small-business person. In Wyoming you have one tax form, you select the city, it tells you the rate and it’s easily done,” Woodward said.

Woodward explained there are an awful lot of good things on which the state can elect to spend taxpayer money but said too often the state legislature does a poor job of prioritization, something which he feels he is very well-suited given his business background. Said Woodward, “I think that my experience gives me the tools that I can be a person who brings pragmatic solutions instead of the typical attorneys bickering back and forth.”

As he explained, “I would say a difference between my opponent and myself is that I’m faced every day with prioritization. I know there’s lot of great things I can do in business, in the legislature, there’s lot of great things to spend money on, but what we’re not very good at there is prioritization. I think that’s a skill you have to practice; you have to learn to say no to some good things so you can get important things done.”

Woodward has not held elected office before but did serve on the Loveland Planning Commission. It was a role to which he was appointed and said it gave him a great deal of insight into how various factions of government operate. He said his biggest takeaway was, “It’s not all black and white.”

Woodward said the over-arching priority for the state legislature needs to be maintaining and creating an economic environment that is conducive to business growth. When it comes to prioritization in the budget process, he said the best thing the state can do is keep the economy growing at a healthy rate which keeps revenue flowing into the state coffers.

“First, I think the pie is not a fixed size, so increasing the size of that pie by improving the economy is probably the number-one goal, keep our economy moving and growing,” Woodward said. “If we continue to have the business environment that welcomes industries of all types, that brings good jobs, I think that (pie) can grow.”

When he meets with voters in the district, something he said has been his top priority as a candidate, he learned transportation is an issue that needs to be at the top of the priority list. Said Woodward, “When I knock on doors, when I meet with people one-on-one, almost 100-percent of the time their priority is transportation, roads and bridges. (They say) I can’t get where I need to go on time, safely. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get to Denver, how long it’s going to take me to get through Fort Collins or to Berthoud. To me, transportation is a top priority and our legislature has not made it a priority.”

“Locally, this state highway,” Woodward said pointing to Mountain Avenue, “is the next traffic jam, it’s Highway 34 in 10 years with all the growth. We are $9 billion behind on roads and bridges and the $200-some million we put in this year is not going to catch us up. I think there is adequate money in our $30-billion budget that we can fund it internally; there are a lot of initiatives coming this time around. One is a bonding measure called ‘fix our damn roads’ that could immediately address our needs without raising our taxes.”

 

When questioned about proposed changes and alterations to TABOR, Woodward expressed his strong support for the statute and reiterated that by keeping Colorado’s economy growing will assure the state government has adequate monies to spend on transportation, education and other high-priority issues.

“I’ll refer to it as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and I think for me it’s not just another statute that gets in the way of more spending, it’s a bill of rights for you and me to make decisions about whether government should grow and grow and grow or should they come to us and ask permission,” Woodward said. “I think government’s natural instinct is to grow and grow and grow because there’s never enough money. I think it is the key that has kept us that way because I think our legislature lacks the courage to stop spending. We already have a legislature that tries to find any way it can to get around the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. We’ve been growing government like crazy even with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in place so I think the idea of tweaks is just another attempt to find ways around.”

While he explained he does have a commitment to his limited-government and low-regulations philosophy, Woodward was adamant his goal as a state senator will be to assure he does the best he can representing his district and doing what is best for all of his constituents.

“To make the right decisions you have to look at both sides of the issue and you have to go back home and talk to your constituents and see where they stand on the issue. I’m not going to Denver to be a leader, I’m going to Denver to be a representative of my district so I can do what’s best for my district and the state of Colorado,” Woodward explained.

He continued, “I’m going to stay in the middle, I want to look at all sides of the issue and do what’s best for my district, if that’s where my party heads or if that’s where the other party heads, I’m going to make the right decision for my district because I want to solve problems and not play partisan games.”

Further information on Woodward and his campaign can be found online at www.woodwardforcolorado.com.

 

 

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