Greg Brophy has racked up plenty of political mileage in his 50 years. The Republican served two sessions in the state House starting in January 2003 before moving up to the Senate, where for nearly 10 years he represented an immense swath of Colorado’s eastern plains. He also made a brief run for governor in 2014. Then, it was off to the nation’s capital for a stint as U.S. Rep. Ken Buck’s chief of staff. Now, Brophy’s back in Colorado, where he resides in the Denver area with wife Angela and works in public affairs. Always a farmer (he holds an ag science degree from CSU in Fort Collins), he still helps run the family farm back in his hometown, Wray. The prep wrestler-turned-avid bicyclist won friends across the aisle for his two-wheel obsession and may well have been one of the most physically fit Coloradans ever to take a seat in the legislature. And though his grappling days are long past, Brophy is known for being as scrappy off the mat as he was on it back in high school.
Catch us up on your family, and tell us about your new gig.
The most important family news is that Angela and I are grandparents! Our youngest is a freshman in high school, so we will be empty nesters before too long.
I took a position with Michael Best Strategies as the V.P. of Western States. MIchael Best is a public affairs company with offices in D.C., Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Utah. The firm has excellent relationships with the Trump Administration, Congress and the Senate, with a powerhouse in Colorado including Jeff Thormodsgaard, myself, Katie Wolf, Jenise May, and Alex Hayes.
You won a seat in the state House of Representatives in 2002 as easily one of the most conservative members of the General Assembly. Have you evolved in any way philosophically?
I’m slightly more libertarian now than I was, a lot more cynical, and much, much, much more cognizant of the need to maintain the majority (something we all took for granted in 2004 to our detriment).
What did you learn as a senior congressional staffer during your time in D.C.? Any eye-openers?
It’s dysfunctional, and it’s truly a swamp. Under (former House Speaker John) Boehner, PAC contributions were used to enforce party discipline. (Current House Speaker Paul) Ryan is changing that, thank goodness. I became a much bigger fan and advocate for returning power to the states; it’s the only way to really “drain the swamp.”
It seems the state’s transportation grid is always in crisis, yet the legislature never comes up with a lasting solution. Everybody says this year is different — but will it be?
It is true we need more money. It is also true that we waste entirely too much money on studies and environmental mitigation. My county commissioner friends swear they can build roads for way less than half. That’s directly related to red tape and regulation. A grand bargain would address both and make both sides uncomfortable. In my opinion, that takes the kind of leadership that Gov. Owens brought. We haven’t had that kind of leadership since he left.
What was your proudest achievement — and what was your biggest disappointment — during your dozen years in the General Assembly?
Proudest: Winning the argument on gun control even though we lost the vote. Plus, I led the way to modernizing trucking laws in Colorado even though the bill was taken away by the majority party. Biggest disappointment: never being a chairman.
You used to host an annual shooting event out at your farm and invited a wide swath of Colorado’s political firmament. Who was the most unlikely participant ever to show up?
Well, this is easy, (former New York City Mayor Michael) Bloomberg’s lobbyist for gun control came and shot a lot of watermelons. It’s interesting to note that during the 2012 Pedal the Plains, Gov. Hickenlooper was in my house in Wray practically begging for an invitation to shoot the following year — a mere three months before introducing the (Democrats’) gun-control legislation.
How much mileage do you put in on your bike these days?
Last weekend was spectacular — 70 miles! My ideal ride is four hours and close to 50 miles in the summer.