An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.
By Charles Ashby
Friday, March 12, 2010
State Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, has won the support from the Western Slope Conservative Alliance in his bid to be the Republican Party's nominee to run against U.S. Rep. John Salazar, the Democrat who represents Colorado's third congressional district.
The alliance is to formally announce its endorsement of Tipton at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Tipton's Grand Junction office, 337 S. 1st St., which is just next door to the Pufferbelly Restaurant.
In a release announcing that pending endorsement, WSCA president Jennifer Bailey said:
“While we do not imply that we speak for our members or for the tea party movement, we want to share with our members that, after a careful vetting process by the board that included a candidate questionnaire, board member interviews with each candidate and our recent candidate forum, Scott Tipton is the conservative Republican candidate that the board supports for the third congressional district.”
The other GOP candidate in the primary is Bob McConnell of Steamboat Springs.
The WSCA calls itself "a non-partisan organization dedicated to finding solutions to today's challenges by empowering the individual and limiting the role of government." For additional information, visit its Web site at www.wscaonline.org.
By Charles Ashby
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Mesa County Young Republicans will host it first after hours event later this month.
The group, which hopes to hold such events at least once every quarter, will meet at the Ale House Bar & Restaurant, 2531 North 12th St., on March 29. The event will be from 5-7 p.m. The group normally meets for lunch once a month.
The group is inviting all Republican candidates running for office to attend. The cost for participants will be $5, and is not restricted to members.
By Charles Ashby
Monday, March 8, 2010
Last week, the three GOP candidates for state treasurer came to town. Prior to that, I wrote a story about one of them -- Muhammad Ali Hasan -- criticizing the other two -- Walker Stapleton and J.J. Ament -- for not saying they would divest the state's funds in U.S. companies that accepted bailout funds regardless of whether they have since paid them back with interest.
A political insider (who asked to remain anonomous) then send me video of an interview Hasan had given to a conservative Web site called Face the State. In it, Hasan lambasts former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (who's now running for the U.S. Senate) and the Democrats for passing a new law in 2007 requiring the state (and not just the treasuer's office) to divest all funds in companies doing business in the Sudan. That divestment, which also impacted the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association, was designed to protest genocide in Darfur. (PERA on it's own a year later also said it would do the same for Iran.)
In questioning Hasan about why it's OK to divest in U.S. companies, but not those engaged in businesses in a country were genocide is occuring, he had this to say in an email response:
"I personally do not support geographic divestment against outside countries. Sanctions and economic divestment against countries ran by corrupt dictators often empower the dictator we are trying to weaken. The best defense against a corrupt dictator is a strong middle-class that has the money, power, and influence to demand honest governance. Sadly, sanctions reduce the amount of outside influence and international investment, thus consolidating most capital with a corrupt dictator. Such a situation took place in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, where international sanctions continually increased Hussein's power in Iraq. Our sanctions and divestment actions against Sudan are hurting the innocents of Sudan, much more than they are hurting President Omar Al-Bashir. I fully support the arrest and prosecution of Omar Al-Bashir, who should spend his life in jail due to human rights abuses. Lastly, I would never support divestment from Israel, as they are a great American ally.
"From there, I fully stand by my promise to divest from entities that have received or requested federal bailouts. As an investor, I am not convinced that these bailout entities, CitiGroup, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others, are in good financial position; thus, state funds invested with bailout entities run the risk of evaporating should our federal government decide not to continue their bailouts. For what it is worth, banks receiving TARP funds are currently getting even more cash from the Federal Reserve. More importantly, there is not a dearth of good investments - there are plenty of entities that offer great returns on our money, create jobs in Colorado, and do not rely on federal bailouts. I'm proud to carry this campaign point and I will continue to argue it against my opponents, both Republican and Democrat."
For the record, it should be noted that while Hasan blames Romanoff and the Democrats, that new law passed 65-0 in the House, and 34-1 in the Senate. Only Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, voted against it.
Also, the video has been removed from Face the State's Web site for unknown reasons. Regardless, here it is:
By Charles Ashby
Friday, March 5, 2010
A new Rasmussen poll released Friday shows U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff moving ahead of his Democratic Party rival, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, and in a statistical dead heat with former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, the likely frontrunner in the race for the GOP nomination.
The polster has Norton leading Romanoff 44 percent to 42 percent. Barely two months ago, however, the Grand Junction native led Romanoff by 12 points. Last month, that had narrowed to seven points. Norton still maintains a nine-point lead (48 percent to 39 percent) over Bennet, down two points from January.
The two other Republicans in the race for the GOP nod, Ken Buck and Tom Wiens, also gained some ground in the poll. If Buck were to be the Republican Party's candidate, the poll showed him slightly leading Romanoff 41 percent to 40 percent, and a six-point lead over Bennet. A Wiens and Romanoff matchup was dead even at 41 percent, but Wiens led Bennet 44 percent to 40 percent.
"Bennet’s continuing inability to gain ground suggests that incumbency is one of his biggest problems," the poll said. "Voter unhappiness with the national health care plan championed by President (Barack) Obama and with the continuing bad economy is causing problems for a number of incumbent Democrats."
By Charles Ashby
Thursday, March 4, 2010
On the floor of the Colorado Senate earlier today, Broomfield GOP Sen. Shawn Mitchell either said something offensive to another senator, or maybe he was just joking.
Either way, it was much to-do about nothing, said Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.
During a floor debate on House Bill 1001, the measure that would increase the state's renewable energy standard for large utilities, Mitchell (right) referred to Sen. Bruce Whitehead (left), D-Hesperus, as a one-year lawmaker. Whitehead was appointed to the Senate last year after Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, resigned to accept a post with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He's running for the seat against Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango.
Penry released the following, lengthy response:
"With all due respect to those who were offended by Sen. Mitchell's statement, I say, let's take a deep breath and not get too carried away in our own self importance. Sen. Mitchell made a flip, throw-away statement. He was gavelled by the chair and said he deserved it. Given that, let's slow the rush to put Sen. Mitchell on trial for the high crime of having a sense of humor," the senator said, pictured here with Democratic Sen. Dan Gibbs of Silverthorne on the Senate floor.
"In my time down here, I've been accused of not caring about children, even though I have 2 children. Not caring about public schools, even though I went to public schools. And of doing bidding for oil and gas instead of the citizens near gas fields, even though I live near those gas fields.
In no case did I ever come down and seek the censure of the offending member. That's because I know this is the Senate - the Senate - a place where sometimes fierce debates take place. And in those fierce debates, fierce and sometimes sarcastic things get said. And in just about every case I know, life presses forward.
One of the reasons that partisanship and acrimony have reached such epic levels in Congress and legislative bodies around the country is because people have forgotten that public discourse doesn't have to be about grandstanding and fearmongering. It can also be fun.
Of course, civility is important and decorum with it. Every person in this room has earned a threshold of respect and deference and courtesy. But let's not forget, this room is also a political arena, where important debates about controversial issues take place. So let's not allow the imperatives of Senatorial decorum to deteriorate into a politically correct culture where word-policing and whining become norm. This is, after all, the Senate - a place where fierce debate ought to take place.
Senator Mitchell was gavelled, and admitted to deserving it. So let's bring the gavel down on this silly side-show too, and move forward with the important debate at hand."