Oct 102010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Cory Gardner came to Colorado State to become a watershed scientist. But now, 13 years and a law degree later, he is running for a chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gardner, R-Yuma, said for him, his 7-year-old daughter, Alyson, drives one of his major goals –– to retool government spending.

“The goal would be to provide economic certainty,” he said, adding that the success of his daughter’s generation relies heavily on how the government handles the current economic situation.

“We’ve got to cut spending –– we’ve got to stop the wasteful disregard for taxpayer money,” Gardner said. “And let America work.”

He will face incumbent Betsy Markey, D-Fort Collins, in the Nov. 2 elections.

Gardner hails from Yuma, a rural town southeast of Fort Collins, and was elected in 2005 to the state House to represent Colorado’s 63rd district. The Republican leader was later chosen to serve as minority whip.

As a state representative and a state university graduate, Gardner said he is all too familiar with the obstacles of the current budget for higher education. He was part of a group that crafted a permanent funding formula in 2007 that never came to fruition.

“We need to make sure we’re bolstering higher education in Colorado,” Gardner said. He hopes to collaborate closely with University of Northern Colorado and CSU, as well as community colleges in the 4th Congressional District.

The 1997 CSU alumnus and CU-Boulder law graduate is still paying off his student loans.

“Students graduating from college are going to face an extremely tough path to pursue the dreams that lead them to college in the first place,” Gardner said.

The Associated Students of CSU hosted Gardner in early August but isn’t clear on his stance on state funding for higher education, said Matt Strauch, director of Legislative Affairs.

“What we do know about Cory is that he’s a friend of higher education and he has put together some ideas on how to fund it,” Strauch said. ASCSU has not received Gardner’s responses to the candidate survey it plans to publish in the Collegian next week.

“Of course they (candidates) all support higher education, they just have different ideas on how to fund it,” Strauch added.

As a fifth-generation Coloradan, Gardner’s family lives in a 1914 home once owned by his great-grandparents. Agricultural roots run deep in his family and he plans to take his experience on the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Livestock Committee to Washington and advocate for farmers and rural Colorado.

This can be done through pushing for the development of renewable energy, opening up new markets and advancing crop technologies, according to his issues website.

“Agriculture is still one of the top economic drivers,” he said.

The Republican National Committee’s publication “Rising Tide” named Gardner as one of its top 40 young Republican lawmakers. Before joining the Colorado General Assembly, Gardner worked as general counsel and legislative director for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard.

If elected, he plans to also work on the following issues: Create a “safe and sound” long-term transportation infrastructure, keep Colorado water laws benefiting citizens and growing need, develop healthcare options that provide better care at a lower cost and focus on telemedicine, electronic medical records and interstate insurance policies, stand behind Second Amendment rights and increase access to federal land for hunting and fishing and provide incentives for landowners to allow the sport on their private property.

News Editor Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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