Governor candidate Victor Mitchell discusses school gun violence, abortion, higher education

Samantha Ye

Man stands
Victor Mitchell discusses his biggest rivals in this year’s election and answers questions about his budget at CSU Thursday afternoon. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell came to speak at Colorado State University Thursday evening to introduce his platform for healthcare and school gun violence.

Mitchell answered questions from the audience on topics such as abortion, sanctuary cities and higher education at the event, which was hosted by College Republicans.

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When it comes to school gun violence, Mitchell said he would assemble an expert task force — potentially composed of behavioral psychologists, FBI profilers and people from both sides of the gun debate to study the issue — to gather empirical evidence and come up with specific actionable plans to implement based on the findings.

Mitchell said politics should be taken out of the issue, which he cited as the reason for lack of progress on a solution.

“I’ve come to terms that the United States Congress is basically dysfunctional,” Mitchell said. “They’re not going to get anything done, so we have to fix this as a state.”

As for healthcare, Mitchell said he would like to give block grants to set up entrepreneurial nurse practitioner clinics across the state. Nurse practitioner clinics are primary care clinics staffed by nurse practitioners with no physicians, according to Marketplace, and are thus significantly less expensive to operate.

“My vision for any Coloradoan — rich or poor, urban or rural, young or old — should be that you should be able to access high-quality, primary-care without insurance — where insurance goes back strictly for its primary purposes of specialty care and chronic illness,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell also said he advocates for transparency in healthcare costs.

Asked on the issue of abortion, Mitchell said he is a pro-life practicing Catholic, but Roe v. Wade is settled law, so he would focus on destigmatizing unwanted pregnancies, promoting adoption and lowering the number of abortions overall. He also said he advocates for legislation banning late-term abortions.

While late-term abortions do not have a set definition, most states have laws restricting abortions past 18-25 weeks or pregnancy, according to the National Journal. Colorado is not one of them.

For sanctuary cities, Mitchell said while, as governor, he cannot stop cities from being sanctuary cities, he would cut off their funding.

“There should be real consequences to cities who refuse to follow federal (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) laws and cooperate with federal ICE agents,” Mitchell said.

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He also said he supports holding any elected official who does not cooperate with ICE agents to be civilly liable for any crime committed by an undocumented immigrant.

Mitchell’s plans for education focus largely on investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and lowering the cost of getting those degrees. He hopes to triple the number of STEM graduates in Colorado and get more women into STEM fields.

He also wants to work with public university alumni to build “no-frills” affordable student housing. Mitchell said there would be no tuition increases in public universities as long as he is in office.

Mitchell said he supported Carly Fiorina for the 2016 presidential election and then Marco Rubio. According to the Colorado Independent, he did not vote for Donald Trump.

After the event, junior sociology major Ethan Burshek said he liked how Mitchell was big on restraining the government.

“I always like less government and I like more entrepreneurial competition, free market,” Burshek said. “Some things I was a little cautious about was the way he’s approaching healthcare. I think that’s going to be a lot more difficult than he’s making out.”

Burshek said if Mitchell makes it to the November ballot, he would vote for him.

“(This event) was a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially with someone like (Mitchell) who’s for small government,” said Caspian Banki, a senior sociology major. 

College Republicans Vice President Kristen Horodyski said it was an awesome opportunity to actually meet a candidate and maybe it would get students to vote.

“I feel like in college it’s hard to get involved (in politics), so by us bringing (candidates) here it’s a good opportunity for students to actually meet them,” Horodyski said.

Mitchell had reached out to the College Republicans to come onto campus, said President Veronica Morin. Morin said although it was too early for College Republicans to support any one candidate, she hoped hosting candidates like Mitchell on campus would get more students involved.

“The more things like this we can do, the more people I figured we can bring in to the state elections,” Morin said. “People really care about the presidential stuff but honestly, I think state almost matters more.”

Collegian reporter Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.