Oct 192004
Authors: Brian Park

Pete Coors is the Republican candidate running for the U.S.

Senate seat for Colorado.

Coors was born in Golden and still lives there. He graduated

from Cornell University in 1969 and received a master’s degree in

business administration from the University of Denver in 1970.

Coors was the chairman and CEO of Coors Brewing Company before

he decided to enter the race. He has worked for the Coors Brewing

Company for many years and has served in a number of positions at

the company in finance, marketing, operations and administration.

He is now on an unpaid leave of absence. This is the first time he

is running for public office.

Q: In 1993 you were named vice chairman and CEO of Coors Brewing

Company. In 2002 you were named chairman. How do you think this

experience will help you become a better senator?

A: What I’ve done not just since I’ve been CEO but during my

career is to bring people together to solve problems. We’ve had to

deal with just about every kind of issue that would come up in the

U.S. Senate — from tax issues, to transportation issues, to energy

issues, agricultural issues and water issues. Dealing with those on

an operational level and understanding the compliance to federal

rules, regulations and guidelines as a given map would give me the

tools to be able to be effective when I go on to the U.S.


Q: Ken Salazar has experience in public office while this is the

first time you have run for public office. How do you feel about

Salazar’s record and the fact that you are a political novice?

A: I am a political novice from the standpoint of having run for

the first time for public office. But I have been very involved and

engaged in politics in one way or another, working with our

delegations to Washington on issues that we think are important to

the economy. So I’m not new to politics, I’m new to politicking.

Obviously my opponent has had two statewide elections to hone his

skills but I think this is a considerably different level of

campaigning for him as it is for me as well.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest obstacle our country

will have to face to win the war on terror?

A: The biggest obstacle to me is trying to convince the people

of this country that we have planted the seeds of freedom and that

25 million Iraqis have been freed from a very terrible situation

over there and that they are pleased (to be) free. But we are still

going to have an element in Iraq that’s going to cause problems. So

the news we get every day, (is) bombarded by the latest car bombing

or the latest beheading and that kind of thing, when in fact the

Iraqi people are very happy. We’re doing wonderful work over there

and I think that’s probably the biggest issue. We need to stay the

course. We’ve planted the seed and it’s going to take some time to

water it and we’re going to need to do some weeding. It’s just like

planting a garden. But I believe in Iraq. I hope it will happen

sooner rather than later, but when it’s able to defend itself and

protect itself both internally and externally then we’ll feel we’ve

done the right thing and we’ll bring our troops home and we’ll be

glad to have them back and congratulate them on the job they’ve


Q: Last Sunday, when you were on “Meet the Press,” you said you

would not execute Osama bin Laden if he was caught or captured.

A: No, that’s what Ken Salazar’s ad says. What I said is I’m

opposed to the death penalty. It’s a personal feeling of mine. But

I think making him suffer in prison and confined quarters for the

rest of his life, in my opinion, would be greater punishment than

sending him to whatever he thinks his heaven is and his God. But

you know we’re at war and he is killed in the process of finding

him and capturing him that’s a military activity and that would be

the way it is. If we captured him, what I said is that I believe

that executing him would be too swift of a punishment and too easy

for him.

Q: What will you do to create jobs and economic opportunity in

Colorado and throughout the United States?

A: The president and Congress’s tax cuts that were put in place

in 2003 are working to restore our economy. We need to stay the

course; this economy was declared to be in a recession. Six weeks

after President Bush took office this was an issue and this was

created by an extreme burst in growth in the United States. Towards

the end of the Clinton administration, he had six deficit budgets

and obviously improvement, but created a lot of surplus budgets

towards the end of his campaign and then handed over a recession to

George Bush. Clearly to me the tax cuts have had an effect, both on

the standpoint of providing more money for people to consume as

well as more money for investment. That’s what we need to stimulate

the economy and I believe that was the right course of action. The

most important thing we can do is to keep those tax cuts in place.

My opponent wants to raise taxes.

Q: 720,000 Coloradans last year went without health insurance.

What could you do for those people and what can you do to improve

our current health care system?

A: I have a comprehensive plan, a 10-point plan basically to

deal with all aspects of health care. Not any one of them will get

the job done but I’ll give you the flavor of a few that I think

will work. Number one, we need to reduce the number of frivolous

lawsuits that are being carried out, and it’s causing malpractice

insurance to go up and you and I are paying for it in our health

care and insurance plan. We need additional controls on the abuse

of our legal system. That is number one. Number two, we believe in

association health plans for small businesses, farmers, ranchers

and so forth to get together and negotiate collectively for lower

rates. That will help bring more people into affordable insurance

and get them insured. Third, I believe in individual health

insurance plans where individuals can. Right now if you’re working

for a company and they don’t provide health care for you, and you

have to buy your own health care, you have to pay after tax

dollars. I believe there should be incentives, including tax breaks

for people who are self-insured … we need to have courts in my

opinion taking the malpractice issues out of the regular courts and

putting them in a specialized court like we have bankruptcy court,

water court. We should have a health court to deal with those

issues. Those are just a few of the many things I think can be done

to help reduce our health care costs.

Q: Here at CSU tuition is rising and the cost of college is

increasing. What will you do to help higher education?

A: I’m in favor of Pell Grants, which are designed to help those

who can’t afford education or qualify for other kinds of aid. In

many respects this is a Colorado state problem rather than a

federal problem in my opinion and most of the things that can be

done need to be done at the state level. I’m not supporting putting

more of our control of education at any level, including higher

education in the hands of the federal government.

Q: You have said you would like to lower the drinking age in

Colorado to 18, correct?

A: No.

Q: Well I wanted to clear this issue up.

A: Let’s clear it up. I said given the right legislation I

personally would vote for lowering the drinking age but what I said

is this is a state issue not a federal issue and I’m running for

the U.S. Senate not the Colorado Senate. It is not my agenda. I do

not intend to make it my agenda. The 21st Amendment gave the states

the right to regulate alcoholic beverages. That is where the issue

should be resolved and not on the floor of the U.S. Senate and I

don’t intend to do it on the floor of the U.S. Senate because it

would be inappropriate. It would be a violation of our

constitutional state’s right.

Q: How would you preserve the natural beauty of Colorado and

what is your general environmental policy?

A: We’re blessed here in Colorado with a wonderful and diverse

ecology, national forests, wilderness areas; we have a lot of

national lands. Those were all put in place for our enjoyment and

for not only for our enjoyment in terms of pleasure but for

enjoyment in terms of the use of resources. I believe that we have

the technologies now to use and utilize and develop those resources

without doing damage to the environment. I don’t consider myself an

extreme environmentalist; I consider myself a conservationist. I

believe (in) using good science and scientific research that is

based on good judgment and not on extremism to help us determine

how best to utilize the land we have and protect the precious

environment that we have.

Q: Going back to education, what is your policy and stance on

education? And what do you think about the No Child Left Behind


A: The whole premise of NCLB was to develop higher standards of

academic performance for students and then to identify those who

weren’t complying with those standards and weren’t attaining those

standards and to figure out ways to help those schools come up to

speed from a combination of whether it’s tutoring or whether it’s

changing the curriculum or whatever it might be. Then, ultimately

after three years of failing we open up the possibility for

students to go to a school that is performing at the levels that

we’ve set the standard that we think is appropriate. I believe the

educational system has been failing our kids. Early intervention in

this process, which NCLB is designed to do, is important and

ultimately we need to put money into the classrooms so we can teach

the kids and make sure that they are advancing from year to year at

a competency level that will allow them to be successful as they

move through the process.

Q: If you get elected, what would be the three things you would

try to implement and assess?

A: First thing I would do is work on tax policy. I would like to

initiate bills that would make some of the tax cuts permanent … I

would like the death tax to go away permanently. I’d like to

simplify the tax code in any way we can and one way we can do that

for instance is to eliminate the alternative minimum tax which

affects more and more middle-class Americans. It makes us fill out

taxes twice, which is nonproductive in my opinion. I would like to

work on security and intelligence of our country because I believe

it is our first line of defense and not only intelligence within

our country and trying to figure out how best to serve the safety

of people in the United States but also working with foreign

countries and their intelligence services so that we coordinate

what we’re doing and we share appropriate information with out

allies. When you go beyond that I’d like to work on ways of

figuring out how we can cut government and that doesn’t means you

have to cut programs. I think it’s a process of evaluating what

programs are working and what programs are not working and

realigning those dollars so they can be more productive and we can

save money and get the job done better for people of Colorado and


Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I’ll tell you that I’d like to make it snow every night 12

inches, sunny every day and that will give us the water we need and

will also give us more recreation and I’d enjoy it and that would

be a great thing to do. If I was a U.S. senator, that’s probably

one of the first things I’d work on.

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