The Life of the Party
Bob Beauprez came off the ranch to lead the state GOP, won one of the tightest U.S. Congressional races in history, and now he's the Republican frontrunner in the Colorado governor's race. What would JFK say?
Ask Beauprez what as governor he would do about two of the most pressing issues Coloradans face-education and water supply-and Beauprez will talk about the importance and nuances of each issue, and tell you he plans to convene a task force for each issue and put some of those recommendations out to the voters in a referendum. Creating task forces, like blue-ribbon panels, almost any politician, banker, and IBM executive knows, is the move a leader makes to look decisive without taking a stand.
"I'm a pretty confident guy in who I am and what I'm made of," Beauprez tells me as his pickup approaches Denver. "I don't shy away from making judgments, and I think I learned that from my dad."
A few months before Joe Beauprez died in September 2004, he attended a fund-raising dinner for his congressman son, who was defending his 7th District seat. For the affair, Rep. Beauprez flew into town on Air Force One with President Bush. So close to home, yet a world away from the ranch. "It was one of those $1,000-a-plate things," says Beauprez's big brother Mel, who attended the dinner with his wife, Sally. (Family members did not have to donate to dine.) While Republican Congressman Beauprez, dressed in his fine suit and tie, addressed the audience, his dad stopped eating his salad. "He leans over to me and my wife," Mel says, "and he said, 'Who is that fella up there? He sounds familiar, but I can't see far enough to see who that is.'" Mel's wife said, "That's Bob, your son."
"Oh," is all Joe Beauprez said, and he went back to eating his salad.
Maximillian Potter is executive editor at 5280.