Brauchler eying drug tests for Medicaid, and other things we’ve learned this week in Colorado Politics

Author: Joey Bunch - July 28, 2017 - Updated: July 28, 2017

Gubernatorial candidates
Subscribers will get the first read of Insights’ view of the candidates for governor who took our questions at the Western Conservative Summit. (Photo courtesy of the Centennial Institute Live Stream)

We’re in the news business and we’re in the subscription business here at Colorado Politics, so if you’re one of our lucky subscribers, you can find out some pretty remarkable things four candidates for governor said last weekend at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

It pays to be a member. I’ve already told you who can dance.

My Insights column tells you where Victor Mitchell, Steve Barlock, Doug Robinson and George Brauchler stand on gay rights versus religious liberty, their ideas on paying for transportation, dealing with Medicaid in Colorado and more.

There are things I bet you don’t know, so early in the race that won’t be decided for another 16 months.

Here’s a taste for free. (I feel like a drug dealer.)

Brauchler is sizing up a drug-testing program for public assistance recipients, modeled after the one by Colorado native son and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to drug test childless people signing up for Medicaid.

“There are ways we can take control of those tax dollars and spend them the way we want to spend them,” Brauchler told me on stage at the Colorado Convention Center on the question of controlling the gigantic bite Medicaid takes out of the state budget.

He cited Walker’s plan to drug test as one idea.

“Not as a means to kick them off the rolls, but as a means to help save them, and say, ‘Look, if you test positive for drugs, we’re going to put you in a state-funded rehabilitation program, because we believe in the individual,'” Brauchler said. “We believe in rehabilitation. We believe in salvation.”

He pivoted to the Republican crowd and concluded, “That’s why this is the party of goodness.”

We learned more last weekend. Robinson differs from his uncle, Mitt Romney, on some major political points.

Barlock, a big fan of President Trump, singled out Mitchell for criticism, because Mitchell voted for Evan McMullin, the independent candidate.

“A vote against Trump was a vote to put a liberal judge that Hillary Clinton had in there,” Barlock alleged.

With Mitchell in office we can rediscover our spirit animals.

He said he’s running on his business resume, and he’ll fill his administration with folks who have deep private-sector backgrounds, instead of career bureaucrats.

“Get back our animal spirits we once had before this current governor has led us so far to the left,” Mitchell said.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.