An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.

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‘Prayer Caucus’ forms in Legislature

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Colorado chapter of the Congressional Prayer Caucus has formed in the Colorado Legislature.

Though the initial group of state lawmakers in it include two Democrats, 25 other charter members are Republicans, including Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction.

The group says it was formed "to preserve our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage and protect our individual religious liberty."

It's main goals:

  1. Ensure that Christian beliefs have unfettered access in the marketplace of ideas.
  2. Reverse the dismantling of our nation’s Judeo-Christian foundation.
  3. Sustain and equip leaders to uphold Judeo-Christian principles in government.
  4. Create the architecture within federal and state governments for the protection of religious and individual freedom.
  5. Communicate the constitutional truths that establish America’s freedom.
  6. Protect public expression of prayer and faith in God.

The members include:

  • Senator Scott Renfroe, Senate Minority Whip (R) – Co-Chair
  • Representative John Soper (D) – Co-Chair
  • Senator Mike Kopp, Senate Minority Leader (R)
  • Senator Greg Brophy (R)
  • Senator Bill Cadman, Assistant Minority Leader (R)
  • Senator Kevin Grantham (R)
  • Senator Ted Harvey (R)
  • Senator Keith King (R)
  • Senator Kent Lambert (R)
  • Senator Kevin Lundberg (R)
  • Senator Mark Scheffel, Senate Minority Caucus Chair (R)
  • Representative Amy Stephens, House Majority Leader (R)
  • Representative David Balmer (R)
  • Representative Mark Barker (R)
  • Representative Jon Becker (R)
  • Representative J.Paul Brown (R)
  • Representative Brian DelGrosso (R)
  • Representative Rhonda Fields (D)
  • Representative Chris Holbert (R)
  • Representative Janak Joshi (R)
  • Representative James Kerr (R)
  • Representative Tom Massey (R)
  • Representative B.J.Nikkel, House Majority Whip (R)
  • Representative Ray Scott (R)
  • Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R)
  • Representative Ken Summers (R)
  • Representative Spencer Swalm (R)

Senate leader announces congressional bid

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

As expected, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, announced his plans to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Garder for the 4th Congressional District.

Shaffer, who's facing term limits in the Colorado Legislature next year and won't be able to seek another term, had been expected to jump into the race for months. He did so Monday at a July 4 barbeque with friends and family. He is to file his paperwork to become a candidate later today.

Shaffer and Gardner know each other fairly well. Gardner, who was elected to Congress last year, also served in the Legislature, but in the Colorado House.

Shaffer is a third generation Coloradan and former naval officer who served two deployments to the Persian Gulf. He has served in the Senate since 2005 and was chosen by his peers to serve as one of the youngest Senate presidents in Colorado history.

He lives in Longmont with his wife, Jessicca, and two children, Madison and Dylan.


Hickenlooper replaces DOR head

By Charles Ashby
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today that Barbara J. Brohl will be the executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Brohl served as corporate counsel for Qwest Corp. in Denver since 2003. She is an attorney and has more than 24 years in business.

Brohl worked at Qwest, and previously US West, since 1983. She handled all business and legal matters regarding large wholesale carriers, negotiating commercial transaction contracts and settlement agreements, resolving billing disputes, and customer service. She developed legal strategy and direction for the regulatory affairs of a 23 state territory.

As Executive Director, Brohl will be the principal officer for Colorado’s Tax Division and the Division of Motor Vehicles. Included under her umbrella of responsibility are the Divisions of Gaming, Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages, Lottery, Racing, Hearings, and the recently added Division of Medical Marijuana.

She will oversee a department that has more than 1,500 employees and brings in more than $11 billion in fees and taxes for the state on an annual basis.

Brohl earned a bachelor’s degree from the Regis University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from University of Denver College of Law.

Brohl replaces Roxy Huber, who held the post through former Gov. Bill Ritter's four-year term. Huber stayed on to give Hickenlooper more time to fine a replacement.


Greeley lawmaker named insurance commissioner

By Charles Ashby
Monday, June 27, 2011

Gov. John Hickenlooper named Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley, as the state's new commission of insurance effective on Friday.

Riesberg, who will resign his House seat on Thursday, replaces John Postolowski, who was appointed to the post on a interim basis in December. He will return to his role as deputy commissioner, a post he has held since 2004.

Riesberg was first elected to the Colorado House in 2004 to represent House District 50, which includes the cities of Greeley and Evans. He is the ranking member of the House Health and Environment Committee and a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He is serving his fourth term in the House and would has faced term limits. The district's Democratic Party central committee will meet in the next few weeks to name a replacement.

"It's truly an honor to be selected by Governor Hickenlooper to oversee the Division of Insurance for the state and to be recognized for my decades of experience in this field," Riesberg said in a statement. "There's important work to be done, including implementing the Health Benefit Exchange. This position will require striking a balance between the needs of the insurance industry with the needs of consumers, and I'm confident this can be accomplished."

Riesberg is a Colorado native who has lived in Greeley for 30 years. He worked for 24 years at various insurance and human resource companies, including Allstate Insurance Co. and Hearth Company Real Estate and Insurance. He also spent 16 years in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations specializing in aging, hunger and housing issues. He also taught junior high school for five years.

Riesberg earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in gerontology, both from the University of Northern Colorado. He completed the Graduate Realtor’s Institute and holds numerous certificates and awards for courses in insurance, real estate, sales training and personal development.


Total vindication?

By Charles Ashby
Monday, June 13, 2011

Is former congressman Scott McInnis considering running for something else?

A somewhat cryptic email sent under the name "Friends of Scott McInnis" highlighting the Grand Junction Republican's supposed vindication in a plagiarism scandal that tanked his bid for the GOP nomination for governor last year would seem to indicate so.

That, and the fact that it was sent by Stacey Lukens, a California political consultant who's worked for McInnis over the years, including during last year's primary race, when he lost to politcal upstart Dan Maes.

The email, supposedly sent to supporters of his failed bid, talks about how he was "completely and honorably" vindicated in that scandal. Last month, the state's attorney discipline counsel declined to pursue an ethics case on his license to practice law.

Regardless, the email raises questions of whether McInnis is considering running for some other political seat, but his two Facebook sites would indicate the contrary. One, Friends of Scott McInnis for Governor includes spam, including one from a woman supposedly named Fyhfty Fghrth with the line "She is so sexy and dating interracial."

The other Facebook page for the congressman hilmself includes numerous odd postings that have nothing to do with McInnis or running for office.

Here's the full text of the email:

Dear Friends,

We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your steadfast friendship and support for Scott McInnis and to update you on a few important developments. We want you to know Scott remains committed to you and to the State of Colorado's future. Scott will continue to be involved in working for Colorado families and improving job opportunities and the business environment for all of us.

What a year it’s been…with liberal attack groups' false allegations and the resulting intense media scrutiny as well as an ethics investigation. There is now closure as the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel recently issued a ruling regarding the plagiarism allegations made by Colorado Ethics Watch and others against Scott during the 2010 primary election for Governor of Colorado. We thought you would like to know, based on a thorough investigation, related depositions, document review, and interviews by the Supreme Court it was determined that these allegations lacked merit.

In the words of Gary Blum, "total vindication."
Click here to read the full text of the letters and a related article by Law Week Colorado (also copied below).

Your support of Scott, Lori and their family is deeply appreciated. Hopefully, this will help clarify what went on last summer in the weeks leading up to the primary election which had Scott leading in most polls by double digits.

Scott has continually demonstrated his tireless dedication to the citizens of Colorado with decades of service in the Colorado State House and the U.S. Congress. Scott’s dedication and passion for Colorado, its families and future generations will continue in the years to come. Thank you.


Friends of Scott McInnis 

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