Archive for the '9News' Category

Once an Endangered Species, Journalists Make a Comeback at the Colo Capitol

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Like endangered fish that seemed destined to disappear from a once-important lake, journalists have made a miraculous comeback at Colorado’s Capitol, which is now teeming with about the same number of reporters who were assigned there from the 1960s through the 1990s.

“I would have to say, yes, your perception is correct,” said Charles Ashby, Capitol reporter for the Grand Junction Sentinel, when asked if his species of journalist was thriving at the Capitol, compared to the old days. “While I can’t speak on how many people were around in the 60s, 70s and 80s (because I may be the Capitol dean and Oldnewsman, I’m not THAT old), my understanding is there are about the same or maybe slightly fewer people covering the Capitol these days.”

Ashby estimated that when he started at the legislature in 1997, the Capitol press corps, which is the group of journalists assigned to cover the general assembly, consisted of three to four from The Denver Post, two each from the Rocky Mountain News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, and the Associated Press, and one each from Pueblo Chieftain and Longmont Times-Call—with an “occasional” reporter from Boulder Daily Camera and “less occasionally” from the Fort Collins Coloradoan and Grand Junction Sentinel. Other reporters would “parachute in for specific stories,” said Ashby.

That’s a total of 11 to 15 Capitol reporters in the late 1990s, before the numbers started to decline in the next decade.

Today’s list totals at least 17 reporters.

Colorado Independent: Two.
Colorado Politics: Two.
Denver Post: Two (versus a high of five in the 1960s and 1970s)
Colorado Public Radio: Two.
Colorado Sun: Two.
Associated Press: One.
Chalkbeat: One.
Denver Business Journal: One
Denverite/CPR: One.
Durango Herald: One.
Grand Junction Sentinel: One.
Rocky Mountain Community Radio: One.

“The competition for office space around here this year has been pretty intense, because there just isn’t enough room to accommodate everybody,” said the Capitol’s second-longest-serving journalist Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics, an online and print weekly.

That wasn’t the case over the past 15 years, when the Denver and rural dailies were cutting their Capitol bureaus—and online platforms weren’t filling the gap.

“A lot of publications stopped sending people here around the time the Rocky Mountain News closed, so you had this dearth of coverage of the legislature, and it’s just now on the rebound to where it was before,” says Goodland, who started covering the legislature in 1998. “It’s a different business model with a lot of niche reporting for which there is a clear demand. Everybody is growing.”

The number of journalists in the Capitol press corps doesn’t include reporters for local television news stations, who have a bigger presence at the legislature than they did during the heyday of the print dailies, according to longtime journalists.

Nor does the Capitol press corps include the many journalists, from The Denver Post, Colorado Politics, Colorado Public Radio, the Colorado Sun, and elsewhere, who drop in for a story or two.

“We have John Frank and Jesse Paul at the Capitol full-time,” Colorado Sun Editor Larry Ryckman said via email. “We have freelancers Brian Eason and Sandra Fish covering state government issues part-time, and we have other full-time reporters — including Jennifer Brown, John Ingold and Chris Osher — who cover issues at the Capitol from time to time.”

Kevin Dale, the Executive Editor at Colorado Public Radio, described a similar approach.

“We have two full-time reporters: Bente Birkeland and Sam Brasch,” Dale said via email. “We also send other beat reporters to monitor bills that are important to that beat. We now have a photographer and often send them there. Last, because we just acquired Denverite, we are making use of their statehouse reporter Esteban Hernandez, though you might already be accounting for him with Denverite.”

Could we have arrived at the surreal situation where Colorado has too many reporters at the Capitol, given that other critical beats, like municipal government, education, courts, etc., aren’t getting the attention they deserve–or not attention at all?

“Media outlets rightly believe that what happens in the Legislature greatly impacts their readers, and therefore is important to follow and report on.” Ashby emailed me. “And I wouldn’t say there is too much emphasis on the Legislature over local government coverage. For example, I’ve had to remain in Grand Junction more often than normal this session because of some turnover here. While they are seeking a new county government reporter, I have spent the past several weeks covering both county government and the Legislature.”

Former Rocky reporter Lynn Bartels, who started covering the legislators in the year 2000, says the legislative coverage now is “overwhelming.”

“There’s almost too much to read in the morning,” Bartels told me, explaining that she will open just one of many morning emails from the outlets, look up, and find that she “hasn’t gotten any of her work done.”

“There is an amazing concentration on the Capitol, and I sometimes think that’s to the detriment of other beats,” she said, explaining that the Rocky had a Denver Public Schools reporter, a suburban reporter, police, higher education, religion, city hall, and more.

Maybe in an ideal world, you’d spread the journalistic love across the community, but alas it doesn’t work that way.

So let’s just accept this as great news for journalism and Colorado—and appreciate it while it lasts.

FACT CHECK: Journalist Should Correct Gardner He Says He’s “Consistently” Opposed Government Shutdowns

Friday, January 25th, 2019

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is trying to sound like a good-government crusader, saying on Twitter that he’s “consistently been against government shutdowns,” and specifying on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News that “it’s a position I’ve taken since 2013, opposing the shutdown then.”

But in 2013, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen that he favored a government shutdown to de-fund Obamacare, and he said Obama would be at fault. Here’s the exchange:

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work. 

Listen here

In 2014, Democrats used the fact that Gardner supported a government shutdown in a political ad.

In a TruthTest of the ad, then 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman wrote:

“Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.”

The ad claimed that “Congressman Gardner stood with his party in Washington, voting to shut down the government, right when Colorado was recovering from historic floods.”

Rittiman wrote that the statement, “The overall claim here is true, but the wording requires some additional context.”

Here’s Rittman’s analysis:

CLAIM: “Just one year ago, Congressman Gardner stood with his party in Washington, voting to shut down the government, right when Colorado was recovering from historic floods.”

VERDICT: True, but needs context

The overall claim here is true, but the wording requires some additional context.

Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.

That didn’t happen by passing a bill to shut it down, the way this ad makes it look by referencing votes on screen.

Those votes were Republican spending packages, which passed the House. They would have funded the government, but also contained language aimed at curbing Obamacare.

For that reason, the president made it clear he wouldn’t sign that bill, which had no chance of passing the Senate regardless.

Republicans knew they could cause a shutdown by forcing the healthcare issue to be part of the discussion about keeping the government open.

However, it takes two to tango, and the Democrats didn’t want to mix the ACA into the spending debate. It would have been possible to accept the GOP plan and avoid a shutdown.

Whether it was fair to bundle those concepts is the core of the debate.

It’s also worth pointing out that Gardner did eventually voted to end the shutdown as well, which most House Republicans did not.

Coffman’s support for killing Obamacare via repeal-later raises questions

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Recall that Congressman Mike Coffman of Aurora promised to vote for the first House measure to kill Obamacare, a measure that would have taken away health insurance from millions of people.

Then he voted against the second House bill, which also would have pushed millions off the health insurance rolls, and it seemed his first promised vote disappeared.

Now it turns out that he’d have also voted for the repeal-later measure, which would leave an unknown number millions with no health insurance.

Asked by 9News’ Marshall Zelinger Aug. 6 (at 1:30 here) if he’d support a “straight repeal,” Coffman replied:

Coffman: “If you said, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to repeal,’ and the date certain for the repeal was long enough out, where it wouldn’t disrupt the markets, and it gave Congress adequate time, I think that would be appropriate.”

It’s worth getting more details from Coffman, whose office doesn’t return my calls, in case it comes up again.

Why does he think there could be agreement on an Obamacare replacement in the future when there was no agreement in seven years?

When he says he wants a date-certain for an Obamacare repeal to be “far enough out,” does he mean longer than seven years? How long?

Why wouldn’t the uncertainty of not having a replacement in hand disrupt the markets no matter how “far out” the repael date is, given the inability of Republicans to agree on a replacement in seven years?

Those are a few of the questions for Coffman.

An early version of this post incorrectly characterized Coffman’s proposal as repeal-now-and-replace-later.

 

Reporters should persist in asking for Gardner’s nonexistent Obamacare replacement

Monday, May 1st, 2017

 

Appearing on a conservative radio show last week, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said it’s “politics at its worst” to be “celebrating the defeat of a replacement” for Obamacare.

Politics at its worst looks more like Gardner’s vicious opposition to Obamacare for seven years, then being unable to point to a replacement he actually supports.

Even now, after all the embarrassing GOP drama on this issue, Gardner is trashing Obamacare without offering a solution.

On KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show April 27, Gardner said it was “way too early” to comment on Trump’s latest Obamacare replacement proposal.

And Gardner was undecided, even vaguely critical, of the last month’s failed Trump-Ryan bill that was crashed with such drama.

But Gardner has the audacity to continue to insist that some unknown replacement be produced.

“But what I will tell you is this,” Gardner told Caplis, “We have to put something in place of the Affordable Care Act that actually works. And the Affordable Care Act has hurt hundreds of thousands of Coloradans through higher premiums, made access to insurance nearly impossible because of those higher costs, costs people their doctor. We have to do better. And for anybody, particularly for partisan reasons, to say they want to keep the Affordable Care Act in place, and it’s an absolute failure. And they are celebrating the defeat of a replacement. You know, that’s politics at its worst.”

Gardner was more subdued on 9News’ Balance of Power on Sunday, telling Brandon Rittiman,

“What I am looking for in a health care bill is something that is going to reduce costs and give access to people in the state of Colorado and across the country that they otherwise wouldn’t have. I hope we’ll have bipartisan support to do that.”

So, whether media figures see the hard-edged edition of Gardner (e.g., on talk radio) or the softer Gardner (e.g., on 9News) they should keep asking what health care bill Gardner supports.

 

Coffman again slides by most reporters, this time on Russia

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

This is yet another story about Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) making a head-spinning change on a serious issue, acting as if no shift had occurred, and sliding by reporters who barely noticed or ignored it.

This time it’s the evolution of Coffman’s stance on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In response to a question on whether he supported an independent commission to investigate Russian meddling in the election, Coffman told 9News anchor Kyle Clark April 13 that he believed, based on government investigations, that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. “I think the Russian meddling part has been resolved,” Coffman told Clark, adding that he wasn’t sure about Trump’s involvement.

You’d have been surprised to hear Coffman say this on 9News if you were listening to Colorado Public Radio in January.

During an interview with CPR’s Ryan Warner, Coffman said Jan. 11 he didn’t yet accept that Russians had tried to influence the election, because intelligence reports are frequently politicized.

Sounding like Trump, Coffman maintained this stance even after Warner pointed out that multiple intelligence agencies had concluded the Russians had intervened.

“I can tell you as an Iraq war veteran, I think sometimes that the intelligence at the highest levels tends to be politicized to make a certain point,” Coffman told Warner, adding that he thought the allegations against the Russians should be investigated.

Just two days later, after attending a full house intelligence briefing on Russian interference, Coffman told the Voice of America something quite different. VOA reported:

“I think it’s a wake-up call beyond our security officials, when we look at what they’ve been doing in Europe and wake up to the fact that they’ve been doing it in America,” Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, told reporters.

Coffman, one of a handful of Republicans who avoided associating with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election season, described House members’ reactions to the briefing as aggressive, with pointed questions about the role Russia had played in the election of Trump.

“I think they consider the United States an adversary and I hope the incoming administration recognizes that fact,” Coffman said.

Yet, in the ensuing months, Coffman never issued a wider statement about his new confidence in the intelligence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

In fact, in February, with Trump attacking the CIA and calling for an investigation into FBI leaks that led to the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Coffman joined the president and also called for an investigation of the FBI.

During his April 13 town hall meeting, he joked about the need for an independent commission to investigate Russian interference. The Aurora Sentinel reported:

“The most dangerous place to be in Washington D.C. right now is between David Nunes or Adam Schiff and a TV camera,” Coffman told the crowd. “I’m not there yet for an independent council, but I’m moving there.”

It was after the April 13 town hall when Coffman told 9News’ Clark that the question of Russian meddling had been settled, but Coffman was still undecided on the independent commission.

The Obama Administration had done an investigation and “members of Congress, myself included, were briefed about Russian interference, which was predominately the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Podesta’s email accounts.”

When was this briefing? It doesn’t make much sense that intelligence briefings could have swayed Coffman, because it was no secret that there was a consensus in January on the issue of Russian interference, as Warner had pointed out to Coffman Jan. 11, when Coffman was broadly trashing the intelligence.

So, what changed between January and April that convinced Coffman of the Russian attacks on U.S. elections?

What happened to his concerns about top-level intelligence being routinely politicized to the extent of not being trustworthy?

What’s Coffman’s explanation for his radical shift on Russian interference? Was there insufficient evidence on the table in January when Coffman continued to doubt the intelligence? Did Trump’s stance against the CIA play a role? What happened?

Sentinel publisher still preparing to sue lawmaker over “fake news” allegation

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel insisted last night that he’s getting his “ducks in a row” in preparation to sue State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) for labeling the Sentinel “fake news.”

“Have you attempted to patch things up with Sen. Scott?” 9News anchor Kyle Clark asked Jay Seaton, publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel last night, prior to the streaming of a panel discussion on media issues streamed on Facebook. “You’re going to be covering him for years to come. There’s nothing to be gained by media outlets fighting with public officials like this.”

“The only valuable currency in the court system is truth, and so I would like to see how a court actually handles this kind of false allegation,” responded Seaton, insisting that he’s preparing to file a lawsuit against Scott for his claim that the Sentinel is “fake news.”

The panel, titled Getting to Truth in the Age of Alternative Facts, was held to mark “Sunshine Week,” which promotes openness in government. The event was organized by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, and it was hosted by 9News.

Panelists offered varied takes on fake-news issue, ranging from, “It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” according to State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), to, “It’s become incredibly cliche; it’s an easy way out for people to attack us,” according to Denver7 investigator Tony Kovaleski.

In its online description of the panelists, 9News pointed out that Neville “recently posted an article that that was found to be 100% false by Snopes.com.”

“Politicians know how to weaponize [fake news] against us,” said Corey Hutchins, a reporter with the Colorado Independent, a progressive news site. “That’s what we’re seeing. The new problem is, it’s being weaponized by politicians against the media.”

Libertarian writer Ari Armstrong, also on the panel, argued that it’s inevitable that journalists will make mistakes, and he’s troubled when folks conflate “actual fake news, people intending to mislead their readers, with reputable newspapers.”

“What I want to strive to do is, yes, point it out when I think journalists get it wrong, but be quicker to applaud all those times when they do a great job, which is most of the time,” said Armstrong.

Also on the panel was Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute in Tampa Florida, Linda Shapley, managing editor of The Denver Post, Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, Anastasiya Bolton, a reporter at 9NEWS.

Watch the entire panel discussion here. You’ll definitely enjoy it.

 

 

Are Colorado Republicans really guaranteeing that people who have health insurance now will continue to have it under an Obamacare replacement?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Last week, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) if he could guarantee to his constituents that they’d “have coverage if you have it now.”

“The answer to that is no, right?” asked Hayes.

“Yes,” replied Sanford. “The answer is, we don’t know with precision.”

Colorado Republicans need to be asked the same question, because over the past months they’ve repeatedly implied that no one will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. But am I hearing them right? Is this a promise?

For example, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stated KOA 850-AM Feb. 17, “And let me just say, nothing will be repealed unless it’s concurrently replaced.”

If nothing means nothing, then no one will lose their health care coverage, at a minimum, much less all the other benefits of Obamacare (e.g., coverage for under-26 family members, pre-existing conditions, no caps on coverage).

Coffman’s office sort of confirmed his stance to 9News this week.

9News: Coffman’s office told us he wants to keep the changes Obamacare made for pre-existing conditions, the ability for parents to keep children on their plans until age 26, and maintaining coverage for people who gained it under the ACA—including the Medicaid expansion, which has been criticized by some of Coffman’s fellow Republicans.

But that’s a aspiration, not a promise, and Coffman’s constituents want to know if Coffman would vote for a still-unkown Obamacare replacement that would throw people off the health insurance rolls.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) expressed the same promise in the form of an aspiration, as he likes to do when dealing with a tough question.

Gardner: “What we have to do is create a bipartisan health care plan, health insurance plan, to make sure that we can do better than Obamacare,” said Gardner on KOA 850-AM Jan. 13.

Is he saying his constituents won’t lose their insurance? I think so, but he needs to be asked point blank–and repeatedly, because that’s often what it takes with Gardner (e.g., Will he vote for Trump? And will he hold a town hall? And what about the federal personhood amendment?)

In some communications, Colorado Republicans are stopping short of promising that their constituents won’t lose their health insurance, but they’re guaranteeing that elements of Obamacare won’t be lost.

“…[U]nder the Republican replacement plans, no individual with a pre-existing condition will be denied insurance coverage or see their rates spike,” wrote Congressman Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton in The Denver Post Jan. 13.

That’s a serious promise.

But the larger question remains. What exactly are you saying? Will you vote for a bill that doesn’t guarantee health insurance for all Americans who have it under Obamacare? If not, how many are you willing to throw off the rolls or put at risk of losing their coverage?

Reporter does his best to find out if Gardner will hold town hall meeting

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George made journalism proud today as he pressed U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to answer the straight-forward question of whether he’d be hosting an in-person town hall meeting.

But, exhibiting the same allergy to direct questions that Gardner’s had before, the junior senator from Colorado flat-out refused to answer the question, leaving it open to be asked again (and again) until it’s answered. (Click here to see St. George’s interview.)

St. George: As you know, there’s been protests outside your office. There’s a protest outside this hotel, people wondering, during this week of recess, why aren’t you hosting a town hall?

Gardner: Well look, we’ve had a number of opportunities to engage with a number of Coloradans around the state. And we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s through this opportunity to visit with the Governor’s Agriculture Forum. I just spoke at the Colorado Space Coalition. I was out at Ft. Morgan and Burlington earlier this week. We’ll be in northern Colorado today and tomorrow. And so it’s a great opportunity to hear from Coloradans, and I appreciate the people who are expressing their points of view, whether they support what the President has done or whether they oppose what the President has done, it is very good to hear what’s going on.

St. George: But no town hall? Will you commit to doing a town hall sometime in the future?

Gardner: In my time in Congress, we’ve held over 100 town halls. Last year, we were across all 64 counties in the state. We’ve met with protesters. My office has met with protesters. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll hold a number of tele-town halls in the future. And I hope that people will go onto our website and join them.

St. George: Is a tele-town hall a way to avoid that confrontation, because as you know, some of these town halls are getting heated. Is that why people like yourself are choosing telephone town halls?

Gardner: Well, I think it’s a great opportunity to reach people across the state. And we try to do it as often as we can. We do it at different times in the day. Sometimes we do it in the morning. Sometimes we do it at night, just depending on when people are able to answer the phone. That’s why we want to vary the time of day that we do this at. And we can reach out to more people. We take positive questions. We take negative questions. We take them all. It’s a great way to hear what’s on people’s minds. In addition to the many meetings we’ve held with people across Colorado. The office outreach that we’ve had. The time to meet with protesters throughout the state, individually at these forums as well. It’s very important.

St. George: So as of right now, no plans to hold a town hall?

Gardner: Look, we’ve had a number of tele-town hall opportunities. We’ve had a number of opportunities to go to open forums–

St. George: But no in-person town halls?

Gardner: We’re going to continue working on meetings where we can meet people across the state. That’s what we’re doing today. That’s what we’re doing tomorrow. We’ll continue doing it throughout the week.

If Gardner’s dodges look familiar, it’s because they are. This is how he treats reporters on a regular basis, insulting them with non-answers. You recall this exchange with the Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols during the 2014 election campaign.

Stokols: You don’t support the personhood amendment at the state level anymore. Why keep your name on that Life At Conception Act at the federal level?

Gardner: There is no such thing as the federal personhood bill.

Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote that bill, Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Broun of Georgia, they say–Personhood USA says–that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.

Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that’s when this outcry started from the Senate campaign of Senator Udall.  That’s what they are trying to do. This is all politics. It’s unfortunate that they can’t focus on–

Stokols: But the facts are —

Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill.

Gardner has never given a straight answer about the Life at Conception Act.

Will he try to pull off the same trick with town hall meetings? With Obamacre? You’d have to guess he’ll try, but unlike the few months leading to his election in 2014, there are long months or years ahead for reporters to demand real answers.

Coffman announces Obamacare telephone calls and “meetings” but no promised town hall

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman announced yesterday that he plans to hold “series of meetings,” beginning Feb. 20-24 and continuing in March. about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

Absent from his plans is a town hall meeting in a “very large venue” that can “handle 300 people.” He promised to hold such a town-hall-style event after his early exit from a jammed constituent meeting last month,

In place of a public town-hall discussion is a “listening tour,” which involves  1) an undefined number of “meetings” with select “healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups” and 2) “several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.”

Coffman did not offer an explanation for backing out of his plans for a big old town hall meeting, but the replacement he’s chosen offers the Aurora Republican the opportunity to screen his audiences and weed out potentially angry questions.

In other words, Coffman can’t slip out the back door of a telephone call. But he can to the equivalent by screening callers. Ditto with meetings with healthcare providers; he’s picking both the groups and the venues.

So in terms of accountability, Coffman’s proposal doesn’t fulfill his promise to do right to all those people he left in the library Jan. 14, when he slipped out the back door early. And reporters should have asked him about it.

Here’s the entire news release issued by Coffman’s office yesterday:

Coffman Announces ACA ‘Listening Tour’

Feb 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) announced that during the district work period scheduled for Feb. 20-24, he will undertake the first phase of his planned “listening tour” regarding the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coffman will use this series of meetings to gain the perspective of as many constituents, patients and healthcare professionals as possible.

“During this district work week, I look forward to meeting with many healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups. My objective is to personally hear from them on how the ACA has affected the healthcare system, medical professionals, and most importantly, how it has affected patients access to medical care. I will use their input not only to review my own plans on how to proceed, but also to communicate their concerns to my congressional colleagues—Additionally, I want to communicate again that no repeal will take place without first having a replacement.”

The ACA, which was signed into law in March 2010, dramatically impacted the health care of millions here in Colorado and across the country. Due to the ACA, thousands of Coloradans who were perfectly satisfied with their health insurance had their policies changed or in some cases even cancelled. In 2017 alone, health insurance rates rose more than 20% in some areas, and 14 counties in the State now have just one health insurance provider servicing their area. The ACA, did allow for some consumer protections to be codified into law, some of which Coffman strongly supports, such as preserving the pre-existing condition protection and ensuring those under Medicaid expansion access to health insurance coverage.

Coffman will commence the second phase of this listening effort in March when he plans to hold several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

More information on the tele-town halls will be made available in early March in the Congressman’s website: www.coffman.house.gov.

One month later: What about Coffman’s promised town-hall meeting in a venue that can “handle 300 people”

Monday, February 13th, 2017

One of the biggest national stories to originate in Denver this year was 9News’ piece about U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Aurora) early exit out the back door of a library full of people wanting to talk to him about Obamacare.

A few days after the story went viral, Coffman bumped into The Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene and told her that “right now” he was trying to secure a “very large venue” for a town-hall meeting. Coffman was looking for a place that could “handle 300 people.”

Yet, it’s now been exactly one month since Coffman announced his search for a venue, and nary a reporter has asked Coffman, “What’s up with your big shindig town-hall meeting?”

With Obamacare in the balance and Coffman in the hot seat, that’s obviously a legitimate question, which has news value even if Coffman has no further comment.

The last item listed on the “events” page of Coffman’s website took place Jan. 14 at the Aurora Central Library. That’s the one where 9News filmed him slipping out the back.

“Constituents are invited to come to Aurora Central Library to meet with Rep. Coffman and discuss the issues that are important to them,” states the description of the Jan. 14 event.

Given the wide attention on the Aurora meeting, shouldn’t a reporter hold Coffman accountable for his promise for a follow-up town hall–or find out if he’s now decided against it?Given the wide attention on the Aurora meeting, shouldn’t a reporter hold Coffman accountable for his promise for a follow-up town hall–or find out if he’s now decided against it?