Checking in with Joe Garcia



Wednesday afternoon, we spoke with Joe Garcia, Colorado's next lieutenant governor.

Joe was understandably in good spirits over the decisive win last night. We asked him to reflect on the night and look toward the future.

Indy: Were you surprised by the race being called so early in the night?
Joe: "We were feeling pretty confident that we'd done everything we could, and we did think that the polls didn't really capture the amount of support that we thought we had."

Indy: There were some really tight races last night. What did you think of Michael Bennett's narrow win?
Joe: "I know how hard Senator Bennet worked. He was everywhere, and he was getting more and more aggressive toward the end of the campaign."

Indy: So what's next?
Joe: "I will be co-chairing the transition effort. [A biopartisan committee being put together to choose a cabinet for Hickenlooper and identify key issues.]

Indy: The budget seems like the biggest issue, any early ideas of how you'll deal with that?
Joe: "The budget is going to be a challenge, and the first thing we want to do is sit down with Gov. Ritter and his budget director and go through the budget."

Indy: Is it true Hickenlooper won't move into the governor's mansion?
Joe: "That's a family decision ... John Hickenlooper has a young son and they live in a neighborhood where he has a lot of friends."

Indy: Were you relieved last night learn the "Bad 3" (Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101) failed?
Joe: "Had any of those passed it would have made our job quite a bit harder ... Everybody from both parties, or at least most people, breathed a sigh of relief when those went down."

Indy: You're a Pueblo guy. Were you surprised to see John Salazar lose last night?
Joe: "Certainly I was surprised. I saw how hard John campaigned ... It was clear that there was some backlash against some of the moves made by President Obama with Congress' help."

Indy: What does this election say about the Colorado Democratic Party? Do the big wins for Dems mean the state has gone permanently blue, or do you think this was a lucky break?
Joe: "I think the fact that Democrats — at least some — were able to win in a year where it was difficult to win anywhere in the country says this state is very open minded ... [Also] I don't think this state really supports people who are viewed as extreme on the left or the right."

Indy: You've said that John Hickenlooper was successful in the election because he got support from both liberals and conservatives. But it seems like it will be difficult to keep everyone happy as he runs the state.
Joe: "It's a problem for everyone who's elected because you can't please everyone ... But even if people don't agree with [Hickenlooper], they understand his reasoning."

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