Romanoff talks transportation, politics, economy in Frisco |

Romanoff talks transportation, politics, economy in Frisco


FRISCO – Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff visited Frisco on Saturday as he campaigns to oust incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a fellow Democrat.

Romanoff said he aims to help curb the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. through strategy that worked in Denver to “bring people together outside the Capitol to get things done inside.”

In 2005, Colorado voters passed Referendum C, a major fiscal initiative Romanoff authored with bipartisan support. Romanoff was elected to four terms in the state legislature, and many Democrats were surprised when Gov. Bill Ritter selected Bennet over Romanoff to fill the seat Ken Salazar vacated last year to serve in President Obama’s cabinet.

Saturday, Romanoff stopped at Bagalis in Frisco on a trip between New Castle and Black Hawk.

In his bid for U.S. Senate, Romanoff stands out from Bennet in his decision to reject money from corporate interest groups. Romanoff detests the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited corporate spending in elections.

“It made the problem a lot worse,” he said. “It also awakened a lot of Americans.”

Regarding transportation through the Interstate 70 mountain corridor, Romanoff continues to support high-speed rail.

“At some point, highway expansion alone is not going to do the trick,” he said, adding that financing is a “continual challenge.”

Romanoff supports making small business loans easier to help reinvigorate the mountain economy. He said expanding renewable energy industries and even the arts could help grow the local economy beyond real estate and tourism.

Regarding medical marijuana, Romanoff said it’s time for the federal government to stop dodging the debate on drug laws.

“The war on drugs isn’t working,” he said. “(The feds) need to get straight their own drug laws so we don’t put states out of compliance with federal law.”

Obama’s administration last year put out a memo encouraging the feds not to prosecute people in compliance with their states’ medical marijuana laws. But that didn’t stop the DEA from busting a guy gaining publicity for his home grow operation, which was presumably in compliance with Colorado law.

Romanoff said he agrees with the American Medical Association’s decision to reconsider marijuana and support research into its medicinal value.

He also said unfunded mandates on education – such as through the No Child Left Behind program – aren’t helping states reach long-term solutions.

“My approach with respect to education and health care: The federal government should either start solving problems or get out of the way,” Romanoff said.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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