Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton Joins Race For Governor

Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has kicked off his campaign for the governor’s office, making him the eighth member of the GOP to join the field.

“I have first-hand experience in a leadership role in the state of Colorado dealing with economic challenges,” Stapleton says, “and it’s going to be that leadership experience that’s going to be critical to solving Colorado’s economic challenges in the future.”

Stapleton says that if elected, he would continue his long-running effort to reform Colorado’s public pension system. He contends the Public Employees Retirement Association has been overly optimistic in its financial projections and is not sustainable long term.

He wants “to build a retirement system where Colorado can make promises that public workers can count on, that's not a false promise on paper, but a promise that Colorado can actually pay for, and that's not the case right now," he says.

Among his other priorities Stapleton highlights infrastructure funding, although he doesn’t currently support efforts by the business community to increase taxes for roads. He also said he would be “a responsible steward of Colorado’s natural resources with the energy industry.”

That last point is a direct dig at one of the leading Democratic candidates, Congressman Jared Polis, who has been linked in the past with ballot measures to limit fracking.

Stapleton’s interest in the governor’s office has been one of the worst kept secrets in Colorado politics, but he says he didn’t enter the race until now because he wanted to be sure it was the right move for his family.

Earlier this year, the Denver Post suggested another reason; as long as he wasn’t officially in the race, Stapleton was free to help raise money for a super-PAC like group that is expected to back his candidacy.