Small number of Republicans who support ASSET mostly absent from media coverage of bill’s introduction

Among numerous reports on the Democrats’ news conference at the State Capitol yesterday announcing the introduction of a bill offering in-state tuition to illegal-immigrant students, only Rocky Mountain Community Radio reporter Bente Birkeland found a Republican lawmaker willing back the “concept.”

That would be freshman Sen. Larry Crowder, who reiterated his support not only for reduced tuition but a path to legalization, which is abhorred by many Colorado Republicans. Berkeland reported:

“I do support the concept. I believe that if an individual has went through our school system for a period of 6,8,10 years, we already have that investment in him for public education. It’s an issue here where we want people to become legalized.”

Berkeland also quoted Republican Minority Leader Bill Cadman, who opposes the measure.

Other reporters covering yesterday’s news conference quoted Republican legislators’ opposition to ASSET.

KMGH 7’s Marc Stewart found GOP Sen. Ted Harvey continuing his opposition:

“I think they’re being honest with the voters. Last time, they mini-subsidized (tuition) if you will. This time they’re going to completely subsidize it,” said Sen. Ted Harvey, a Republican from Highlands Ranch.

The Associated Press’ Ivan Moreno quoted Rep. Brian DelGrosso, who felt the measure is unfair to out-of-state kids but, in other interviews, he saw some merit in it.

“You got a lot of students who come here to Colorado [from out of state] to go to college, and they’re paying the high, out-of-state tuition fee. And they’re like, ‘Why should I not get the same benefit as some of these other students?’” DelGrosso said.

He also said he disagrees with the notion that Republican opposition to the bill hurts the party’s courtship of Latino voters, who have largely favored Colorado Democrats. He said Latino families who have gone through the process for legal residency feel like it undermines their efforts.

“I don’t think that the entire Latino community is a hundred percent behind this. It’s unfair to say that it’s us against the Latino community because we have definitely heard from several folks in the Latino community that quite frankly don’t want us to go this route,” he said.

House Republican Leader Mark Waller, told the Associated Press’ Kristin Wyatt that a path to citizenship should come before reduced tuition:

“Let’s define a clear path of citizenship for these kids,” Waller said. “Because giving education without citizenship does nothing to providet opportunity for them.”

Wyatt should have pointed out that Obama has granted undocumented students the ability to get work visas.

Reporters were right, obviously, to quote GOP opposition to reduced tuition for undocumented students, but there’s a small minority of Republicans who are behind it, and they should be heard.

But, as they present this view, Reporters should note that the vast majority of the GOP remains opposed.

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