Hickenlooper and Beauprez debate marijuana, same-sex marriage and tuition

Jonathan Matheny

Video by Patrick Enslow, CTV11


Gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez and John Hickenlooper squared off in a debate Thursday night in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University.

Incumbent, John Hickenlooper (left), responds to a question by challenger, Bob Beauprez (right), in the gubernatorial debate held in the LSC ballroom Thursday night.
Incumbent, John Hickenlooper (left), responds to a question by challenger, Bob Beauprez (right), in the gubernatorial debate held in the LSC ballroom Thursday night.

Recreational Marijuana

Among the issues debated was whether or not Colorado should continue to allow recreational marijuana sales.  Beauprez surprised the audience by officially condemning the sale of recreational marijuana.

“Yes, I think we’re at that point where the consequences we’ve already discovered may be far greater than the liberties people thought they were embracing,” Beauprez said in response to being asked if he thought Colorado should repeal Amendment 64. Among the consequences Beauprez discussed were the negative effects on brain development in adolescents who use marijuana.

In response, Hickenlooper stuck to his original stance on marijuana: that it should remain legalized, but that every measure needs to be taken to keep it away from children.  Hickenlooper also mentioned that dosing should be more clearly communicated to users, in particular with the issues that have been seen with edible marijuana.


ASCSU President Sam Guinn asked the candidates what they will do to lower tuition costs and student debt in higher education.

“Students should not be walking out with $120,000 in debt.”  Hickenlooper said. “We need to have a cap on the amount of debt that somebody is going to walk out of school with.”

Beauprez took a different approach. In a sweeping statement, he both condemned government mandates and called for an increase in career and technical education in high schools.  Beauprez said this will provide another opportunity for students who may not be able to attend a traditional four-year university.

Same-sex Marriage


The candidates were also asked about their stance on Colorado’s recent legalization of  same-sex marriage.  Both candidates said they support same-sex marriage and would be willing to preside over a same-sex marriage ceremony if asked.

“I think we have made the logical progression as a society,” Beauprez said.  He said that Colorado needs to ensure that legalization of same-sex marriage does not block the first amendment right of religious organizations to define marriage as being between a man and woman.

Natural Gas

Hickenlooper discussed the need for a middle ground on the natural gas debate between environmental concerns and Colorado’s energy needs. Beauprez called to create certainty with natural gas by opening up Colorado’s reserves to the market.

Death Penalty

Hickenlooper said that he would support the elimination of the death penalty if he feels like the backing is present.  Beauprez said that he is fully in support of the death penalty due to his religious beliefs.

Housing Costs and Homelessness

Beauprez said that the state should allow for tax breaks for affordable housing construction.  Hickenlooper called for support for affordable housing on a statewide level.

Illegal Immigration Reform

Beauprez said that action needs to be taken to secure the border and stop making taxpayers pay for undocumented immigrants by allowing them to achieve legal status.

Minimum Wage

Hickenlooper said that he supports an increase in Colorado’s minimum wage as long as it does not affect student’s ability to obtain minimum wage jobs.

Birth Control

Both candidates said they were in support of the availability of birth control to women.  Beauprez said that he did not think birth control is something taxpayers should pay for.

Collegian ASCSU Beat Reporter Jonathan Matheny can be reached at news@collegian.com.