Rep. Jared Wright in the driver’s seat with Legislature’s ‘clown-car caucus’
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” — Abraham Lincoln
Please be seated. I hope your blisters aren’t too tender and your sensibilities aren’t offended by what follows. But maybe we should all be offended.
District 54 state Rep. Jared Wright says he didn’t break any laws. He’s apparently correct, though something called reckless endangerment comes to mind.
Common sense? Responsibilty? Well, that’s another matter.
By now readers have probably heard the story of the Fruita GOP lawmaker leaving his loaded handgun unattended in a bag in a committee room following a hearing at the state Capitol earlier this month. He’s promised to “be more careful” in the future.
Despite rules that prohibit you and me from carrying a loaded gun into the Capitol, Wright says it’s his privilege as a certified (former) police officer and “first responder.” Perhaps he might consider whether or not his “first responsibility” might be to do that safely, without putting others in danger.
And, more to the point, as one mother asked: “How can someone respond to an emergency situation when they can’t even locate their weapon?”
It’s just the latest example of how Wright has earned a place in what one statewide political blog has termed “the clown-car caucus” in the Legislature. Right now, he may be in the driver’s seat.
We’re all to blame, you and I. We’re all “sitting on our blisters,” as Honest Abe would put it.
Republicans are to blame because Wright was their choice in 2012 in District 54. Democrats because, once again, they couldn’t or wouldn’t field a candidate in that race, leaving the token opposition to Libertarian Tim Menger. Tea partiers and other local conservatives because they seemingly are willing to let his right-wing stances on a few issues override any other considerations.
It really doesn’t matter that most of us, over a beer or in private conversation, would probably agree that picking one of us at random off Main Street in Grand Junction or Aspen Avenue in Fruita would likely result in more effective representation. As the late New York Times political columnist, James “Scotty” Reston, once wrote: “All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.”
Perhaps we’ll make a better choice this time around. There will be more to choose from, thankfully.
Attorney Yeulin Willett will challenge Wright on the GOP side. Democrat and winemaker Brad Webb will finally hoist the flag for his party. There’ll also be a candidate, businessman J.J. Fletcher, running unaffiliated. Heck, given Wright’s antics, even Tim Menger might look better a second time around.
The saddest part of all this is not that Wright left a loaded gun unattended in that hearing room on Feb. 6. It’s the fact that with that gun, and even if he added a knife, he apparently doesn’t have the power, ability or inclination to get a single piece of meaningful legislation passed.
Instead, Wright spends his time and wastes his five-bill limit on junk legislative proposals he knows don’t stand a chance of passage but will bolster his standing with the tinfoil-hat brigade.
I’ve argued in the past that we’ve been saddled lately with a bunch of back-benchers representing us in Denver. It’s a sorrowful turn of events after benefiting from the work of stellar former lawmakers such as Tillie Bishop, Bernie Buescher, Tim Foster, Ron Teck, Matt Smith, Gayle Berry, Dan Prinster, Jim Robb and even my former neighbor, Josh Penry. Penry was a contributor to Wright’s campaign and the author of the “just give Jared a chance” column that appeared in The Daily Sentinel a while back.
Wright’s not only at the far end of the bench, he might even be out of the room and is most certainly out of his league. We’d be no worse off if, a la the Fruita experience, he answered the morning roll call in the House and then went home for another cup of coffee.
Is this really the best we can do?