Perlmutter talks marijuana, Trump and his plans to be governor

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) stopped short of saying he’s sick of being in Washington, but the Arvada Democrat acknowledged that’s part of the reason he’s running for governor.

“Quite frankly I thought I could do more here in Colorado than I can in Washington,” Perlmutter told 9NEWS in a wide-ranging interview Monday.

Perlmutter joins a growing number of candidates on both sides of aisle in the race to be Colorado’s next chief executive. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) can’t seek re-election because of term limits.

Democrats Cary Kennedy, Noel Ginsburg and Mike Johnston have announced. Republican George Brauchler announced his candidacy last week.

Perlmutter acknowledged the challenge he faces to stand out in a crowded primary.

“I will continue to work for the hard-working people in the middle. And that’s who most Coloradans are … ,” Perlmutter said. “And I think my record is one of a person who sits down, works with all of the interested parties and then moves forward. And I think that’s something that I’m proud of and will set me apart.”

If Perlmutter and Brauchler win their respective primaries, one issue that wouldn’t be on the table is the fate of Nathan Dunlap, the man who killed four people and wounded one more at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant in Aurora in 1993.

Gov. Hickenlooper paused the death penalty process for Dunlap but wouldn’t stop it altogether, prompting bitter criticism from Brauchler, the current district attorney in charge of the Dunlap case.  

But unlike Brauchler, Perlmutter said he is open to the legislature reviewing and potentially ending the death penalty in Colorado.

And he’s largely supportive of Hickenlooper and his record as governor.

“There aren’t many places where I would differ with this Hickenlooper administration,” Perlmutter said.

Although he would like to see more local control on issues like fracking.

“I don’t want to see a complete, absolute ban, but, you know, we’d have to look at it completely,” Perlmutter said.

The Arvada Democrat also signaled a willingness to work with President Donald Trump on issues like transportation.

“I think that’s the one place there may be some common ground,” Perlmutter said. “But I also see the role being a check and balance.”

He promised to defend against rollbacks on environmental protections.

“I don’t think Coloradans want that,” Perlmutter said. “We love this state; we love our environment; we love our open lands.”

Perlmutter has about a year and a half left to serve on his congressional term.

During that time, he plans to continue to push for legislation that would exempt states like Colorado from the part of the Controlled Substances Act that deals with marijuana.

“Especially to be able to conduct business as a normal business would,” Perlmutter said. “Credit card accounts, checking accounts, payroll accounts and not develop this pile of cash that is then a target for robbery and violent crime.”

As to who will replace him in Congress, Perlmutter said he has no plans to support a candidate during the Democratic primary. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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