Greg Lopez wants conversations on guns, abortion, housing and inflation. But he won’t ‘require anybody to do anything.’ 

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36min 03sec
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Republican candidate for governor Greg Lopez at the 2022 Colorado Republican State Assembly on April 9, 2022 at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

Listen or read Colorado Matters' interview with fellow GOP candidate for governor, Heidi Ganahl, here.

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez thinks the political environment has changed since he lost in his bid for governor in the primary in 2018. This election cycle, he believes his message of putting “people over politics” will resonate more with Coloradans.

Lopez, the former mayor of Parker, joined senior host Ryan Warner on Colorado Matters to discuss many of the issues that have dominated recent headlines.  

Those issues included gun policies. Lopez said he was open to a discussion about raising the age limits from 18 to 21 for those buying AR-15-style rifles, but cautioned the 2nd Amendment should drive policy. The issue has been at the forefront since both gunmen in the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Tex. were 18 years old. Lopez said he thinks mental illness is the root cause of gun violence. 

As a former director of the Small Business Administration in Colorado, Lopez said he disagreed with Gov. Jared Polis’ decision to shut down businesses at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. He said the damage done to small businesses have outweighed the negative health effects of the virus. Lopez also said the federal stimulus money, directed in part to small businesses, has driven inflation, now at a 40-year high. 

Lopez said he opposes all forms of abortion, without exception for rape or incest, but he said he doesn’t support a federal ban on abortion and believes states have a constitutional right to decide on the issue. A new Colorado law guarantees the right to get an abortion without government interference.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Ryan Warner: Greg Lopez, thank you for being with us.

Greg Lopez: It's my pleasure to be here, Ryan.

Warner: This is your second run for governor. In 2018 you placed third in the Republican primary. What about your message do you think is likely to resonate more this time?

Lopez: I think the times have changed. Right now, the political feeling of the voters is more of, “We want to get more involved in what's going on in our communities and more involved in what's going on in our nation, in our state.” It's about all of us, not just some of us: Putting people over politics and making sure that everyone has the right quality of life that they can live the Colorado dream. That's what's resonating with people. They really are looking for someone that has a voice that they can truly connect with.

Warner: OK, give me an example of ‘all of us.’ What is a message that you think is inclusive of all of Colorado?

Lopez: We must always look at what we're doing as a state — that we're looking at how [legislative decisions are] going to impact the entire state, not just certain regions of the state. So people feel: "You know what? We have a leader that truly is looking at the totality of the 64 counties."

Warner: Do you think that previous governors have been too metro-focused?

Lopez: Yes. That's why we have this strong rural and urban divide. I've been here 34 years and I would tell you that in the last 20 years it seems that the divide between rural Colorado and urban Colorado has been highlighted. I think it's because some people are feeling that decisions being made at the Capitol are not truly looking at [...] how it impacts all 64 counties.

Warner: Give me an example.

Lopez: The reintroduction of the wolf. We already have wolves here; they're crossing over Wyoming. They have already killed a couple of cows. But that decision was, if you look at the vote, it predominantly was voted by the urban corridor. But it impacts the livelihoods and lives of the people that live in the Western Slope.

Warner: That was a popular vote, it's not something the governor necessarily had anything to do with —

Lopez: No, no, no, but again, what I'm saying is: I would expect the governor to step forward and say, "Look. As you vote, I need you to understand something. These types of issues may have a harder impact on the Western Slope than it will here in the urban corridor.”

Warner: You were mayor of Parker. That's a Front Range community that’s growing by leaps and bounds. People want water in Parker. You could be accused of coming from a community that has been tone deaf when it comes to these matters of urban and rural

Lopez: No, I don't think so. I think if anybody was to accuse me of that, then they truly don't understand my record, they don't understand who I am. I come from humble beginnings. You know, my mom and dad grew up working in the fields. My dad had sixth-grade education and he never really learned how to read and write. And my mom has a tenth-grade education. I was elected at the age of 27. I was the youngest mayor elected in the state at the time, and I was a strong mayor, which means not only was I the mayor, but I was also the city manager. So as I governed over the town, I looked at not only what was going on in Parker, but what was happening in the surrounding areas.

When you look at transportation corridors; you look at the growth patterns; you look at the need for water; you look at all these types of things: that's truly what governing for the people means to me. You have got to look outside your boundaries. You have got to evaluate. Our decisions are impacting other people.

Warner: OK, let's talk about some issues that have dominated national and international headlines recently. I'd like to start with mass shootings. We've seen these most recently at a school, at a supermarket, at a hospital. Colorado has its fair share of mass shootings. What power do you think a governor has to prevent mass shootings?

Lopez: What I would tell you is that we really need to start talking about what is the underlying cause of this? For me, it's mental health. Because I'm a firm believer that it's the person behind the weapon, not the weapon. So, we must understand what is driving individuals to do this? Is it our educational system? Is it our economic system? Is it something else? Because I don't believe that people truly want to be evil, that they truly want to take somebody else's life. There's something going on in their lives that causes them to either be desperate or causes them to feel that, "I don't have any other choice."

So as governor, what I'm going to do is focus on the root cause. We all know that mental health is a big issue in the state of Colorado. We need to address that. And so many times we just say it but we don't take action to address it.

Warner: Most people with mental illness are not violent.

Lopez: I didn't say they were.

Warner: The risk there is that the conversation could stigmatize people with mental illness who are not prone to violence. You have said it's about the person not the gun. And yet if someone who is intent on shooting up a school has a handgun versus an AR-15, that is a difference in how much damage they can do. Isn't that about the gun?

Lopez: No. I think, again, it's about the person's intention, about how much damage they want to do.

Warner: Should they have access, as these 18-year-olds did in various recent shootings, to AR-15s at that age?

Lopez: That's a very reasonable conversation that we should be having, OK?

Warner: How do you answer it?

Lopez: Well, I think we need to discuss that. Because here's the thing: are we talking about 18-year-olds that live in the urban corridor? Or, are we talking about 18-year-olds that live in rural Colorado? What is the total implication of that?

Warner: So, presumably there would be a law —

Lopez: What I'm saying is that we should have that conversation, but —

Warner: About the age that you should have a gun?

Lopez: Yeah. Let's have it.

Warner: Where do you land in that conversation?

Lopez: Well, we'll have to look at all the other issues. I tend to say, "You know what? The Second Amendment of the Constitution should always drive our conversations," but that doesn't mean that we are not able to have dialogue about when someone should be able to purchase a gun or what age. We do that all the time. Look at when you can get a driver's license, when you can buy alcohol and when you can rent a car. You have to be 25 to rent a car. So having that type of discussion, I think, is a reasonable discussion to have.

Warner: What would you do in terms of mental-health support? The current governor, who you hope to run against in the general election, and the current legislature invested quite a bit of money in behavioral health this past session. What would happen under a Lopez administration?

Lopez: It's one thing to allocate money. Look, I've seen councils, I've seen counties and I've seen states allocate money. But when you really look at what is the program that is actually going to change and make an impact in the lives of these individuals?

Warner: What is that program? Have you seen one that works? What would get your investment?

Lopez: Well, again, I would tell you that we need to have thorough conversation. Passing legislation with a fancy title and passing legislation that says, "Well, this is gonna help," it all sounds good, but you have got to dig deeper to say, "Is it actually happening?"

Warner: The theme I'm hearing now on the question of mental health and guns is, "We'll have a conversation." Are there laws on the books related to guns that you would like to have repealed in Colorado?

Lopez: One of the things that gives me pause for concern — and we're talking about mental health and guns — is the red-flag bill. And let me tell you why.

Warner: This is a law that basically says if someone is in a certain amount of mental health crisis or is believed to be a threat, there is a temporary removal of their weapon.

Lopez: Correct. Some would describe it as a think-crime law: “I think someone might do something and because I think they might do it, we need to take some type of action.” 

Warner: But a judge does have to sign off on it.

Lopez: That's true.

Warner: But that's a law that gives you pause. You're not totally comfortable with it as it was passed.

Lopez: That's correct.

Warner: We reached out to Republican voters for questions and we heard about the cost of living, a lot. Brad Michael of Castle Rock said, “I would ask the candidates what they would do to address the problem of inflation and how it affects every Coloradan.”

Lopez: As governor, what I want to make sure people understand is that inflation hurts the poor, those that are on a fixed income and the hardworking men and women more than any other demographic out there. Because inflation is caused by governments spending more money than the economic market can withstand. So when you look at all the stimulus money that got spent — all these additional funds that were brought forth — that is what's causing inflation.

Editor’s note: Economists have also pointed to supply-chain disruptions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine as primary causes of inflation, among others.

Warner: Do you disagree that businesses needed help early in the pandemic?

Lopez: I say that the help that we should have given small businesses is never to shut them down. I'm the former director of the [Colorado office of the] United States Small Business Administration. And being a former mayor, I truly understand the economic impact that a small business has on their community.

Warner: So, had you been governor early in the pandemic, before the vaccine came along, you would not have curtailed, say, the restaurant business to the extent that the health departments did?

Lopez: That's correct. I would not have. There's a difference between looking from a standpoint of a medical aspect — which I think the jury is still out on how well that was — versus understanding the economic impact. So, when people were saying we were doing this to save lives, they actually destroyed families. Because small business owners [have invested] their savings, they have taken a second on their mortgage — and when you shut down their Colorado dream with no other replacement, you basically have destroyed their family and their future, and the employees’ as well.

Warner: Weigh that, though, against the health risks: there was no vaccine. We know that people gathered close together in small business settings could easily spread the virus.

Lopez: It's true. To the gentleman in Castle Rock: he is now feeling the ramifications of all those decisions. If we shut down our economy, and then we're going to have to bring more money into the economy, it would make sense that we're going to cause inflation. Now you have the Federal Reserve saying, "We're going to raise interest rates." Why? Because they want to keep money away from people so the economic engine can absorb all that money that's out there right now.

Warner: We're seeing both inflation, so record prices, and we're seeing record profits at many corporations. How do you square that when you see that consumers are paying record prices for things?

Lopez: Look, corporations will always make profit. I used to tell people: when corporate America sneezes, small business catches pneumonia. So if you're telling me, "Hey, Greg, look: corporations are doing great. Shouldn't we be doing the happy dance?" I would say, "What about our small businesses? What about our main streets? What about our communities?" Because here's what happens. With corporate America, the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer. For me, I wanna make sure that the poor and the middle-class working-hard families get the ability to live the Colorado dream.

Warner: Let's talk about how to do that because that very much addresses Brad Michael’s question in Castle Rock. How do you change his life?

Lopez: Well, you know what? How about we shrink government? How about we don't enforce the fees and some of the taxes that government is enforcing today?

Warner: Could you give me an example of a government investment today that you would not have made?

Lopez: Look, there's a lot of investments. I will tell you the state budget: 30 percent of that state budget is fraud, waste and abuse. We're not using that money correctly.

Warner: How do you know that 30% of the budget is fraud, waste and abuse? How do you know that?

Lopez: In government, every department head will tell you: their job is to spend every single penny that they receive. Because if they don't, they're not gonna get more money the following year. So, in government, you'll find that towards the end of the budget cycle, people are spending money on things they don't need so they can get more money next year.

Warner: The cost of housing is even more out of reach now for Coloradans than it was just a few years ago. Statewide, the median price of a home is about $600,000, rents have risen at least 15 percent in metro Denver. What is one way you would boost the number of affordable housing opportunities?

Lopez: It's crazy. It's crazy that we have become a state that is so unaffordable. It seems like our developers and our builders are no longer interested in building starter homes. You know, there was a time in America where you would buy a house that was maybe 1,100 square feet. You didn't buy a house at 1,800 or 1,900 square feet, you grew into it.

Warner: So are you saying that you want more homes built around the 1,100-square-foot —

Lopez: I want us to look at building starter homes. So we have got to start asking the question: why is it costing so much? What is driving the cost of labor? 

Warner: I hear you raising a lot of questions. What are some of your answers to spur this?

Lopez: We need to remind people that we must reevaluate our materialistic approach on how we grow our economy and how we grow our communities. Because there's nothing wrong in being more affordable in things. You don't need the granite countertops. You don't need the fancy driveways. You don't need these big yards. You don't need any of that. That is a want.

Warner: How do you affect that as governor?

Lopez: You have a discussion with the Denver Regional Council of Governments; You talk to the Municipal League; You talk to the county association [Colorado Counties Inc.]. You have these conversations. A governor is not about passing laws and following with solutions. A governor is about bringing people to the table. What the Lopez administration is not going to do is just throw money like the current government is doing. Because we're not fixing it. 

The lack of homes is being stemmed from what? Let's ask that question. Is it because the builders are having to go through a process? Is the building department not processing those well? Think about that.

Warner: Would you require builders to develop more affordable housing?

Lopez: I'm not going to require anybody to do anything.

Warner: OK.

Lopez: At the end of the day, I believe developers and builders want to create good communities. They want to create communities that are going to be long lasting and truly allow people of all ages, of all income, to be able to live that American Dream. You know, it's not as simple as a lot of people would like to make it. This is a complexity of governing.

Warner: With the likely end of Roe v. Wade, should there be a federal ban on abortion?

Lopez: Well, as you know, nowhere in the Constitution of the United States does it say that the federal government can take away the wishes and the vote of the people of their respective states. The states get to decide — and Colorado already decided. They already passed legislation on the abortion issue. So, the ruling of the Supreme Court is not going to change anything in the state of Colorado.

Warner: Do you want a federal ban on abortion? It sounds like you want that to be left to the states to determine.

Lopez: That's correct.

Warner: Do you want abortion to remain legal in Colorado?

Lopez: I would like to see abortion not happen in the state of Colorado. I'm a strong believer in life. We, as a state, have the opportunity to become that state that people know as: “In Colorado, they show love, compassion and empathy for the women that find themselves in unwanted pregnancies.” What the state does is partner with pregnancy centers so that these women find themselves in an environment where they have a support network, where they have choices to determine how they're going to move forward.

But I think every person in Colorado wants to make sure that we are known as a state that has love and compassion, both for the woman and the unborn child. I don't think anybody wants to say that we don't care for either one.

Warner: Are there any exceptions that you would want to see for abortion? Rape or incest, for instance. Or for medical reasons?

Lopez: I personally believe that there should be no exceptions. But as governor, let's make this clear: the governor doesn't have that authority. It's the legislature and the people that decide what's going to happen.

Warner: Crime, including violent crime, is rising in Colorado. We heard from many Republican voters who are worried about their own safety, the threat to their property. Is there a policy that you would pursue to help reverse the trend?

Lopez: Colorado is broken. Our state is broken. Everywhere you look, our state is broken. When it comes to crime, Colorado is broken. We're No. 1 in the nation for auto theft. Ask yourself why. The reason we are No. 1 in the nation is because stealing a car is no longer a felony, it's a misdemeanor.

Warner: That depends on the car's value, by the way —

Lopez: No, it doesn't. No, don't get it wrong. Don't spin it. It has to do with the fact that someone stole your property. Go talk to people that have had their car stolen and tell them it doesn't really matter what the value of your car is. To me, when you own property — we must assure [people] that no one is going to take away your property.

Editor’s note: in order for a car theft to be considered a felony, the car’s value must be at or above $2,000. It is considered a misdemeanor if the car’s value is under that amount.

Warner: I want to be clear. I'm not spinning anything; that's not my interest. My interest is to come with the facts here. The punishment right now depends on how much a car is worth. I think what I'm hearing you say, Greg Lopez, is that a car is a car is a car, a theft is a theft is a theft.

Lopez: It's true.

Warner: OK. If Colorado is broken, why do so many people want to live here?

Lopez: Well, because they don't know it's broken. Look, you talk to the people that are overseeing the homeless shelters and they tell me, "You know, Greg, there's a lot of people that live in the surrounding states, and they hear that Colorado is doing great. Life is great in Colorado, and they move here.” And then they realize, you know, “I can't afford a home, I can't afford the apartment, I didn't realize crime was so high, I didn't realize that Denver is starting to turn into San Francisco, and that Colorado is turning into California.”

When you say a lot of people want to come; I'm telling you a lot of people are leaving the state. So it's one of those perception things. There are companies today that refuse to go downtown and do any type of services because of the fact that it's not safe. You had Mayor Hancock do a press conference and tell people, "Do not leave the city. We're going to be safe, we're going to be doing all these types of things."

You have the governor who is saying, “within five years, I'm going to make Colorado the safest state across the country.” Well, how do we get to this point? It's because of the legislation and the misguided policies that we've been dealing with.

Editor’s note: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced in February a plan to address crime in the city. Gov. Jared Polis previously said his goal was to make Colorado one of the “10 safest states.”

Warner: Isn't it also because of factors beyond any politician's control? I mean, the pandemic —

Lopez: No. You know what? People use the pandemic as an excuse all the time. The real people out there recognize that the pandemic had nothing to do with the rising crime. The pandemic didn't have anything to do with the homelessness. The pandemic had nothing to do with —

Warner: But it has to do with joblessness, it has to do with wages.

Lopez: Well, because we shut down the economy. Who drove that decision? You know, people were living their lives and all of a sudden, they're told, "If you don't get the vaccine, you're going to get fired. If you don't do what we tell you to do, you can't enjoy what's going on." Some of the restaurants were saying, "We're not going to serve you unless you have the vaccine." That's segregation. That is true segregation, and I thought here in America we had gotten rid of segregation.

Warner: You're equating a restaurant that wants you to be vaccinated with segregation?

Lopez: That chooses not to let you in their building?

Warner: You think that's the same as saying to a person of color: you can't sit here?

Lopez: You tell me the difference.

Warner: Well, the difference is that you can't change whether you're Black, and you can change whether you're vaccinated.

Lopez: Oh, really? So if you've already gotten [the virus] and you survived it, and you have natural immunity...

Warner: Natural immunity doesn't last for an indefinite period of time.

Lopez: Neither does the vaccine.

Warner: In other words, you think that's the same: that someone's race and being turned away for their race is the same as —

Lopez: Of course. You may not understand it because you're not in my seat. So, if you were in my seat, you would probably have a different perspective, because I know how my family grew up. I know what it was like before the Civil Rights Act. You may have a difficult time understanding it, but I don't.

Warner: We talked to another Republican voter, Rick Bennight, who lives in Monument, and he told us the issue that's on the top of his mind is water: "I am an avid fly fisherman and I want to make sure that our rivers are protected. But that we still have the water needed for the growing Front Range. And with the Colorado River being under such pressure from other parts of the country, how does Colorado go about protecting our state, and our needs, while still being a part of the compact?"

Lopez: That's a tough one because these are interstate compacts. These are approved by both legislatures of every single state. What we need to look at is, how are we using our water, and what are the priorities? And yet, we can't control how fast other communities grow, [how] other states grow, but we must have projects that store water, we must talk about how we're going to preserve these resources.

Editor’s note: Lopez is correct that compacts are approved by legislatures, but not every state has a two-chamber legislature. Nebraska has a unicameral legislature.

Warner: Would you seek to control growth in Colorado?

Lopez: I would seek for us to have managed growth. Governor Bill Owens, when he was governor, talked about smart growth, and I think that's the right way to approach it. 

Warner: What does that look like?

Lopez: Smart growth is when you're growing — Do you have the right emergency services? Do you have the right transportation corridors? Do you have the right number of schools? Do you have the water resources? Is the electrical grid able to sustain additional burdens on it? That's smart growth.

Warner: In that way, do you say to someone, "I'm sorry, you can't build that home." Or, do you say to a developer, "You can't build that community because we don't have the water for it"?

Lopez: I don't say that. The proper role of government is to protect our freedoms, our liberties and to ensure that we have safe communities. Government, though, can also bring the topics to the table for discussion. There's a lot of stakeholders in these issues: You have fire districts, you have recreational districts, you have water districts, you have sewer districts. All those types of things must be looked at when you're making good informed decisions.

Warner: This is another issue that strikes me where you say, "We have to have a conversation with the parties."

Lopez: Yeah, with the stakeholders. You talk to any mayor, you talk to any county commissioner, and they will tell you the one thing they resent the most is when states put unfunded mandates on their shoulders. Because they have to figure out how to pay for it.

Warner: Where does human-caused climate change rank on your list of priorities?

Lopez: For me, the jury's still out. The jury's still out that what you just stated is actually something we need to be concerned with. But, I'm willing to have that conversation. I'm willing to look at reports. I don't have a position on that because I don't have the totality of the information to take a position.

Warner: Isn't it time that you did the homework enough to decide? If you're running for governor?

Lopez: No, not on that issue. Because you just told me the No. 1 issue people care about right now is inflation: Their cost of living. It's not about the impact of humans on the environment. They're worried about, “How am I going to survive? How am I going to provide for my family? How am I going to be able to have a good future?” That's the No. 1 issue in people's minds.

Warner: So climate change does not, for you, represent an existential risk in the way that inflation does, for instance?

Lopez: At this point in time, I think people want their leaders to focus on what's impacting them. That doesn't mean you ignore it, it just means it's not the priority.

Warner: I want to ask you about the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Was the siege on the U.S. Capitol wrong?

Lopez: It's one of those things again, right? Some call it a siege. All I know is what I see on TV. I wasn't there. I wasn't in Washington, I have no idea how it all came about.

Warner: You can read up on it and look at the charges.

Lopez: Sure, you can. But again, people will tell you, "You know what? There's two sides to every equation." What I see being reported is chaos, confusion. You know, I can't even find where the truth is. No one knows.

Warner: We do know the truth because several Coloradans have been charged. The charges include impeding officers with a violent weapon and inflicting bodily injury. Was it wrong to flood the Capitol as they did, assault officers and threaten members of Congress? At least one person has pleaded guilty among the Coloradans.

Lopez: Anytime you destroy property; Anytime you harm another individual; Anytime you threaten someone's life — Of course, that's wrong. No one would say that that is right.

Warner: So the siege on the Capitol was wrong?

Lopez: You're calling it a siege. I'm talking about the behavior. I'm telling you that if you were to harm somebody, destroy property or threaten somebody's life, that is not something we should allow. I'm not talking about a siege. I'm talking about the behavior.

Editor's note: For the past 11 months, a committee of House representatives have been investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on the Capitol. The committee has been releasing their findings in a series of public hearings, which you can find here.

Warner: What word would you use for what happened on Jan. 6?

Lopez: I don't know that I would use any word. Because whatever word you use, it doesn't bring unity to what we're trying to resolve here. What we need to do is focus on what actually occurred. And if we're going to hold people accountable, which I think we should, then let's focus on that individual's behavior. That individual, not all those people that showed up, because —

 Warner: Did the people who stormed the Capitol, were they wrong to do so?

Lopez: I think those that stepped over the line, that went into the building, that destroyed property, that threatened police officers, yes, those people were wrong in what they did.

Warner: Do you believe Joe Biden was duly elected president of the United States? The reason I ask that is because some Republican voters continue to dispute that.

Lopez: That's the beauty of America. We all have freedom of speech. We all have the right to our own opinion. We all can argue positions, and we should respect each other's positions. We should never bully people, because we don't agree with them, but —

Warner: What is your position on whether Joe Biden was elected president?

Lopez: Again, I'm not reviewing all the information. Right? So you're asking me to form an opinion based on what I see.

Warner: I'm asking you if Joe Biden —

Lopez: I firmly believe that if we ever find out what actually occurred in this election, and that's really the question people are asking, it wouldn't surprise me if we find out that there was something that wasn't done correctly and we do have the wrong person in an office. 

But we're not going to go back and change it. We're not going to go back and say, "You don't belong." We learn from that. I'm not here to tell you that we need to remove the president from his position. I think he needs to serve out his term. I think we need to go to the next election, and we need to see what happens at the next election.

Editor’s note: Both in court findings and in the House committee's hearings, it has been proven that the 2020 election was accurate and secure, and Joe Biden is the elected president.

Warner: Are there any Republican victories in 2020 that you dispute, say the election of Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn or Lauren Boebert?

Lopez: I just said that we can't go backwards. I think we need to accept and move forward. However, that doesn't mean we don't stop asking the question: Was there something wrong with that election process?

Warner: Court after court struck down the claims that there were any great disparities in the election. Those courts' decisions, and even President Trump's own head of election security said it was one of the safest elections in the country's history. That is not enough evidence for you that the election was secure?

Lopez: Look, I tell you that everything I've seen, there's a big question mark for me on our election processes.

Warner: In 1993, when you were mayor of Parker, your then-pregnant wife called the police to your home. Reports were that after she struck you in the head, you pushed her down, kicked her and struck her. You also apparently grabbed her by the hair and tried to drag her. You both pled guilty to harassment. Why doesn't hitting a pregnant woman disqualify you from becoming governor?

Lopez: So let me ask you this: What evidence do you have of what you just said?

Warner: Our source is from “The Denver Post” at the time and the “Rocky Mountain News.” Do you dispute that characterization of what occurred?

Lopez: Yes, I do. That was an article that was written —

Warner: Yes. What is inaccurate about it?

Lopez: Me, pulling her hair and trying to drag her across the room, OK? Did she strike me? Yes. Did I push her down? Yes. Did that happen? Yes.

Warner: OK. So you dispute the hair pulling?

Lopez: Yes. Because you're trying to describe it as a very violent event.

Warner: You just said that you did push down your pregnant wife. Isn't that violent?

Lopez: If a push is violent — if you push somebody [and] you're a violent person with that, some would say that's a very violent act. People push each other either in kidding or in fun or in gesture. Let's not lose sight of the conversation here, though.

My wife and I — we've always talked about this incident. We never have hidden it. I was a sitting mayor when this happened. For six weeks, my wife and I were on every major outlet, in every major publication. We never have denied it. We've been married 34 years. This happened 28 years ago. We learned from our mistakes. We have a strong marriage. We love each other.

Warner: What did you learn?

Lopez: Well, like most couples: communication. Communication is always the most challenging thing in any relationship. We went to marriage counseling.

Warner: Can you give us an example of achieving a compromise, solving a problem, with someone whose views differ from your own? Maybe as mayor of Parker, or when you led the state office of the Small Business Administration?

Lopez: Of course. Colorado Horse Park: You ever heard of it?

Warner: I don't think I have. Go ahead.

Lopez: In order for me to bring the Colorado Horse Park to fruition – which is an equestrian center — I had to bring an understanding between the county, Douglas County, the homeowner's association, the water district, CDOT — all these stakeholders, in order for everyone to feel that,“We resolved all of our issues. We've looked at all the concerns. And we all said, ‘Yes, we want a Colorado Horse Park.’" It was designed to showcase the horse, and how the horse conquered the West.

E-470: when we talked about the E-470 alignment, you probably don't recall because you probably weren't watching it. But you know, we changed the alignment on E-470. Did you know that?

Warner: I didn’t know that.

Lopez: We changed it, because it was an abandoned eagle's [nesting area], and it hadn't been abandoned long enough.So we, as a board, decided we were actually going to move the entire alignment two miles away to accommodate that. There are numerous examples that I can give you as to how I look at things and move forward.

Warner: What are you reading now, before we go?.

Lopez: Well, outside of a lot of the articles that are coming out. A lot of the legislation that's been passed, a lot of reports on crime, a lot of reports on water. You know, when I do have time to read something that is more pleasurable for me — some people may not like this — I read the Bible. I go back to reading the Bible, because that's what grounds me. That's what brings me peace. That's what I feel really completes who I am.

Warner: Greg Lopez, thanks for being with us.

Lopez: You betcha, Ryan. It's my pleasure.