Resume: U.S. senator since 2014; former member of U.S. House of Representatives and the Colorado House of Representatives

Party: Republican

Give me your 30-second elevator pitch: Why are you seeking reelection?
Cory Gardner: I’m fighting for every corner of Colorado, whether you’re from Hotchkiss or Holly, or Kersey or Kim. I’m going to fight for every single person in the state. The Eastern Plains and the Western Slope deserve a voice. They deserve economic opportunity, they deserve wage growth, they deserve affordable housing, and I’m fighting every single moment so that everyone in Colorado can have the future that Colorado deserves. Why? Because I believe in Colorado.

What sets you apart from the Democratic Party candidates?
I believe that we need to get government out of the way and let America work. I believe in lower taxes, I believe in less government, I believe in immigration solutions. I believe the Eastern Plains and Western Slope deserve a chance. I believe they deserve a voice and that’s what I’ve fought for. I’m from rural Colorado….and I grew up knowing the I-25 corridor seemed to get a lot of attention but [the people] on the Eastern Plains and the Western Slope didn’t. So, how do we get all four corners of Colorado together? I believe in energy development. I believe socialism is a problematic future. That’s exactly where the Democrats are heading.

My biggest concern is the direction [Democrats] want to take Colorado toward: higher taxes, more regulation, greater government, and less opportunity. It’s policies that lead directly to the heart of less opportunity for Colorado, like socialized medicine. Like an end to our energy production. Like massive tax increases. Packing the courts. These are things that they have embraced. Heck, they even want to overturn the Electoral College and give Colorado’s votes to other states.

What is your top policy priority?
It’s Colorado. It always has been and it always will be. I’m focused on Colorado energy, Colorado jobs, Colorado security, Colorado opportunity. I’m about effective solutions, not just partisan grandstanding.

How do you ensure Colorado’s interests are met in Washington, D.C.?
I think people get frustrated with Washington because it oftentimes feels too remote and too distant. That’s why I’m doing everything I can to put more Colorado in Washington and less Washington in Colorado….[In July], we announced the Bureau of Land Management [headquarters is] moving to Colorado. We will now be able to say that we are the true gateway to public lands, with the largest land management agency in Colorado. I think, for Grand Junction, that means better decision-making for ranchers, environmentalists, and energy advocates. They’re going to have the policy makers in their backyard instead of thousands of miles away.

How do you work with an increasingly divided Senate?
I think I practice what I preach. That’s why I’ve been named the fifth most bipartisan member of the United States Senate. I think that’s why the Bipartisan [Policy] Center gave me their Legislative Action Award last Congress. When I look at legislation, I don’t do it with the purpose of being partisan; I do it with an effort to get it signed into law. When you look at the most significant Asia policy in decades, it was led by myself and Ed Markey—a Democrat from Massachusetts. I look at bipartisanship as a way to show leadership and that’s why I bring that to the table every time.

What is something voters might not know about you?
I love to restore old and antique furniture. I have a house in Yuma that was built in 1914. It once belonged to my great-grandparents. We bought it back. There’s a lot of family history.

Now for the lightning round….Pick one: 

Broncos or Rockies? 

I-25 or I-70? 

National Western Stock Show or a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre? 
Stock Show

Coors Banquet Beer or a Colorado craft brew? 
Coors Banquet

Hike a fourteener or raft the Arkansas River? 
Raft the Arkansas

Fall foliage or wildflower season? 
Wildflower season

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve or Rocky Mountain National Park? 
Sand Dunes

Wyoming or Utah? 

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.