Republican Frazier seeking to unseat Bennet
Ryan Frazier admits he’s different than many of his colleagues in the Republican Party.
“I’m focused on solutions to the challenges we face as a country,” said the former Aurora city councilman now trying to win the Republican nomination to run against Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.
“We’ve gotten so polarized in this country. At the end of the day, it’s not about Republican or Democrat. It’s about what’s best for our country.”
Frazier, one of five men vying for the Republican Senate nomination, said Thursday on a campaign swing through Aspen he would absolutely negotiate and compromise with Democrats if elected to the Senate.
“I’m bringing ideas to the table that all people can agree on,” he said. “I believe we can agree on these issues. It’s more about where we can find agreement.”
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Frazier, 38, is a North Carolina native but has spent the past 19 years in Colorado. He initially came to the state through his service in the military, where he worked in Naval Intelligence and also spent five years working for the National Security Agency.
Frazier’s political career, so far, has consisted of two consecutive terms on the Aurora City Council, where he was first elected in 2003 at age 26. He was considered a rising star in state Republican politics when in 2009 he entered a crowded field seeking to unseat Bennet, according to a Denver Post profile of Frazier published earlier this week.
Frazier dropped out of that race and ran against U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in 2010 but was defeated by 11 percentage points. In 2011, he ran for mayor of Aurora and lost.
While on the Aurora council, Frazier also demonstrated his willingness to differ from party doctrine by leading an effort to provide same-sex benefits to city employees. On Thursday, he talked about that effort and spoke hypothetically of a gay firefighter running into a burning building.
“To say to their partner that there’s no access to benefits is not right,” Frazier said. “Your partner should have access to your benefits.
“It’s not a judgment about whether being gay is right or wrong. Who they love is who they love. Nothing is more fundamental to me as a Republican than to leave people alone to live their lives.”
Frazier also is uncertain about Donald Trump, the probable Republican nominee for president.
He said he wants to “further evaluate” Trump’s ability to lead the country in light of his recent remarks about whether a judge of Mexican heritage who is handling a lawsuit against Trump University could remain impartial. Frazier, an African-American, said he thought the statements were racist.
“I found that statement to be ignorant,” he said. “I expect better from our Republican nominee for president.”
Frazier declined to speculate about what position he might take should Trump continue to make such statements throughout the summer and fall.
“I intend to support the Republican nominee for president,” he said. “We’ll have to see how it plays out. But to support Hillary Clinton is just not an option for me.”
Frazier’s core campaign issue is job creation. He said he wants to focus on producing energy “here at home,” including solar, wind, oil, natural gas and coal, because those jobs pay well. He said he would use the royalties from those leases to improve roads and transportation infrastructure in Colorado.
“Economic growth under (President Barack) Obama has been anemic,” Frazier said. “We’ve got to get American working again.”
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