8th Congressional District: Republican Gabe Evans

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans speaks on the House floor, May 8, 2024, the closing day of the legislature. Evans is now running for Congress.

Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans is finishing his first term in the statehouse. He lives in Fort Lupton and previously spent a decade working as an Arvada police officer. 

Before entering law enforcement, Evans served in the U.S Army, including a combat tour in the Middle East, and with the Colorado Army National Guard. He and his wife currently operate a family farm and according to his campaign website, Evans also teaches concealed carry classes.

In a statement announcing his entrance into the race last year, Evans said he’s running, “to help restore pride in this great nation for which I fought.”

Among the issues he’s said he wants to work on in Congress are support for law enforcement, reducing inflation, securing the border and parents’ rights.

Evans sits on the House Judiciary and Energy and Environment committees, as well as the bicameral Audit Committee. A number of his bills have focused on justice issues, including ensuring public employees get time off for National Guard service and studying whether judicial personnel are being properly trained on how to work with crime victims. He said he does a lot of what he calls “common sense policy work.”

Evans spoke with CPR News about his positions on issues voters in the district said are most important.

On democracy and good governance

Evans believes one reason Congress was more bipartisan in past generations is because more lawmakers were also veterans, whose service in WWII, Korea and Vietnam gave them a shared experience to work from.

“And that enables a lot of that good government conversation to happen, where it's not so hyperpartisan, it's actually getting down to the nuts and bolts and they have that common experience of shared language via the military,” Evans told CPR News. 

On his social media, Evans bemoaned the flurry of legislation passed in the final days of session, at one point posting a photo of a pile of papers with the caption, “Here's the 100s of pages of law the ruling Left passed just yesterday. Solving problems requires thoughtful dialogue, not knee-jerk, last-minute, government-expanding red tape.”

On the economy and cost of living

Evans said government growth, overspending and red tape lead to a higher cost of living for citizens.

“Every time you turn around there's a new fee, a new tax, a new form, a new hurdle that has to be cleared. And that just hurts the economy overall. That hurts affordability, that hurts cost of living. And it's happening not just on a statewide level, it's happening on a national level.”

He said his top priority is to let people live their lives without a lot of government interference and to help small businesses and entrepreneurs.

On immigration

In talking about immigration, Evans turns to his own family's story; his maternal grandparents immigrated from Mexico and his mother’s family spoke Spanish in the home. But Evans said immigration must be done the right way.

Evans said he experienced the state's policies toward undocumented immigrants first hand as a police officer; state law prevents local law enforcement from being able to contact federal immigration offices when they come in contact with “somebody that we thought was here illegally. And quite often they were here illegally doing something bad: stealing drugs, stealing cars, stealing from the Home Depot.”

He said the large numbers of people crossing the border are driving up the cost of uncompensated health care at hospitals and that the first step needs to be controlling the border.

“Then we can move on to step two and figure out, ‘okay, how do we address all of the millions of folks that are in the country without legal authority?’ But if you don't solve the border, it's difficult to move on to step two of that conversation.”