In the Colorado governor's race, Republican Doug Robinson is an outsider – a trait he celebrates.
Robinson is a former investment banker and a self-proclaimed conservative. He is also a first-time candidate, but is no stranger to politics.
“I have been active in the Republican party for a long time,” said Robinson, who also happens to be the nephew of politician Mitt Romney.
Robinson said Colorado is an “amazing place like no other,” but is not without its own set of problems.
“I feel like the quality of life in Colorado is slowly declining every year,” he said. “I am concerned we are heading more toward California, rather than sticking to the Colorado we have always been.”
Robinson, a father of five, said he is concerned for the future of Colorado schools.
“A lot of kids do not have the same opportunities that my kids did in school,” he said.
In an effort to increase the technological literacy of high-risk and low-income students in Colorado, Robinson helped start the nonprofit KidsTek more than a decade ago.
KidsTek provides after school, project-based enrichment programs, and in-school technical certification programs.
He is an advocate of bringing more STEM education into the classroom, and promoting charter schools and innovative approaches to learning.
Robinson also plans to target the growing legal marijuana industry through a regulatory structure that will “drive tax compliance and take untested, potentially dangerous high-potency products off the market,” according to his campaign website.
“It's not to make marijuana illegal, but it is to protect our kids,” he said. “This has been a passion of mine. How do we make this industry work for Colorado?”
When it comes to other state issues, Robinson plans to focus on improving infrastructure – specifically, Colorado's roads – and fixing the state budget through evaluating the effectiveness of its spending.
Other prominent GOP 2018 gubernatorial candidates include Cynthia Coffman, Colorado's attorney general; former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, who pledged to put $3 million of his own money into the race; and Walker Stapleton, who is serving his second term as state treasurer.
Robinson said some of the best governors are “people outside of the system,” touting his experience as a businessman.
“This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever done, and I've started businesses and nonprofits,” he said.