Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Does Doty’s enthusiasm for Palin have anything to do with her backwards worldview?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Doty upside down EarthI’ve been trying to convince journalists to find out why state senate candidate Nancy Doty thinks Sarah Palin gave a “Spot on” speech in Denver, in which the former Alaska governor raved about Donald Trump. (Here’s a funny video to emphasize the point.)

From where I sit as a progressive, the world is pretty backwards if you think Palin is “spot on.”

And it turns out, judging from the recent Doty advertisement on your right, that’s exactly how Doty sees the Earth–transposed, ass backwards, if you will.

So, does the inverted worldview on Doty’s mailer have anything to do with her enthusiasm about Palin and Trump?

Or is Doty’s backwards Earth related to the ability of kids to “count on NANCY DOTY” for a “WORLD CLASS” education?

I doubt it, to be honest, but she’s yet to be questioned about Palin, so we don’t know. And if there’s one thing you learn as a journalist, it’s that you never know what someone will say until you ask them.

Doty’s Arapaho County race against State Rep. Daniel Kagan is key, along with an Arvada state senate contest, in the GOP’s struggle to maintain their one-seat majority in the senate chamber and thereby block Democrats’ hopes of controlling state government next year.

Does Woods want Soros turned over to Russia?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Does Woods Want Soros Turned Over To Russia?I’m constantly telling my wife there’s no way Trump can win in Colorado, and she tells me I have no credibility, because I’ve said for the last year that Trump won’t win anything, here or anywhere.

How that ruins my credibility, I don’t know, but anyway, it’s a useful exercise to look for examples of politicians who’ve won in Colorado, despite exhibiting Trump-like behavior.

I’m not talking about talk-radio hosts, some of whom are deep on the Trump spectrum. Like Peter Boyles. And I’m not referring to politicians in deep red districts.

I’m talking about politicians from purple districts.

Who comes to mind? State Sen. Laura Woods, who has that same erratic quality as Trump. Woods won once by 650 votes. But can she win again, if she behaves like Trump?

Case in point, Woods recently shared an article on Facebook about billionaire Steyer’s political donations in Colorado, as part of his evil agenda to stop global warming, as well as donations by George Soros.

Woods’ Trumpish behavior came out in the comments, where she “liked” this:

“Russia has a bounty on his head and an arrest warrant in place for Soros. We need someone to turn them over to them.”

Does Woods want Steyer to be turned over to the Russians to be killed? Seriously? Does she think there’s an actual factual bounty? Does she think Soros chould be shipped out? Is this a joke?

Woods and Trump are similar on a lot of issues (guns, immigration, choice), but “liking” the bounty comment is the kind of Trump behavior I’m talking about. Throwing something out there that raises a ton of questions.

In Woods’ case, however, despite the fact that her race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important contest in the state, few reporters are asking Woods to explain herself. And she’s not talking to me.

Of course, Woods has been loving Trump since she first heard him speak at Boulder’s Republican presidential primary debate—and just she recently told The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning that Trump is “the people’s candidate.” That’s high praise. Is she modeling herself after him?

What is Trump’s impact on races that will determine control of Colorado state government?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

This is the moment for reporters to dig into Donald Trump’s impact on state legislative races in Colorado, and no races are more important than those in swing state senate districts, like Republican Laura Woods’ contest against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger and the race between GOP Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty and Democratic state Rep. Daniel Kagan.

Both Woods and Doty have said they’ll back Trump, with Woods enthusiastically calling Trump the “people’s candidate.”

But reporters have yet to question Doty in any substantive way about her support for Trump. We have more than a hint that Doty thinks highly of Trump, because Doty called Sarah Palin’s July 12 endorsement speech of Trump “spot on,” and Doty said she “really enjoyed hearing Trump himself speak.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on! She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump,” Doty told KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches.

If Republicans lose their one-seat majority in the state senate, Democrats will likely control state government. So the stakes are high for Doty and Woods.

In a light-hearted attempt to encourage reporters to ask Doty about her “spot-on” Sarah comment, I offer this video:

Libertarian presidential candidate’s spokesman responds to Woods’ “gun grabber” comment

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

In a post yesterday, I reported that Arvada State Sen. Laura Woods referred to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate as “gun grabbers.”

Woods’ comment was confusing because Johnson is an uncompromising gun proponent, opposing virtually every gun-safety proposal out there, including proposals to stop suspected terrorists, whose names appear of the federal “no-fly” list, from buying guns.

Informed of Woods’ gun-grabber comment, Joe Hunter, a spokesman for Johnson, said Woods may be upset about Johnson’s willingness to have a “conversation” about how to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“There is no gun grabbing going on here,” said Johnson, adding that Woods’ attack may be “coming from” her opposition to Johnson’s statements about guns and the mentally ill.

Hunter: “Johnson has acknowledged that when someone is clearly mentally ill and clearly capable of doing harm to others and him or herself, [Johnson] has said we should have a conversation about how to handle that, about what to do about that.”

Woods still won’t return my call seeking to know if this is, in fact, why she called Johnson a gun grabber, so we’re forced to speculate.

Woods, who’s running against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger to represent the Arvada/Westminster senate district, stated on Facebook:

Woods: “Dana Kirsch (sp?) Said Johnson isn’t any different than Obama on 2A. How is that a libertarian idea? I’ll never vote for him.”

A search for what “Dana Kirsch” wrote about Johnson, Obama, and the Second Amendment turned up nothing, but I struck gold with “Dana Loesch,” a right-wing gun extremist and talk radio host who tweeted a sentence very similar to Woods’ comment on Facebook:

Loesch: “I’ll post the audio of my past interview with Gary Johnson on 2A. His answers were in line with Obama’s positions on the issue.”

Loesch: “I see a lot of people talking Gary Johnson but after I interviewed him on 2A I found he’s not much different from Obama on gun laws.”

So, it’s pretty clear Woods was actually referring to Loesch, who is also upset with Johnson’s willingness to have a conversation about guns and the mentally ill.

So, by extension, it looks like Woods’ beef with Johnson is about guns and the mentally ill. She sides with Loesch in wanting no conversation about that topic.

I can’t figure out any other reason Woods would be mad at Johnson over his stance on guns, and she won’t return my call to settle the matter.

Why is Laura Woods attacking a candidate who, like her, opposes gun safety laws

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Woods Calls Libertarian a Gun GrabberIn a Facebook post last week, State Sen. Laura Woods referred to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate as “gun grabbers.”

A Republican from Arvada/Westminster, Woods has made no secret of her hard stance against all gun safety laws, including her opposition to Colorado billls requiring mandatory criminal background checks on people purchasing guns.

She also opposes a Colorado law limiting the number of bullets a person can load into a gun at one time. Woods wants gun to be allowed to hold, for example, 100 bullets if the shooter wanted.

And on Woods’ website, she emphasizes her belief that all people should be allowed to openly carry a gun in public, without concealing it and without obtaining a permit. Woods’ website explains that she favors passing bills enacting this extreme pro-gun position, called “constitutional carry” legislation.

But the strange part is, Libertarian Johnson, whom Woods called a gun grabber, seems to be just about as far from a “gun grabber” as you could possibly imagine, having once told Slate Magazine, “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.”

Johnson recently told USA TODAY he supports gun sales to suspected terrorists who can’t fly on airplanes because they’re on America’s terrorist watch list. And Johnson opposes a ban on automatic weapons.

Yet, Woods thinks Johnson is a gun grabber?

That’s a term used to describe someone who is believed to favor government confiscation of guns from ordinary citizens.

What could Johnson possibly say that would make him sufficiently opposed to basic gun safety to meet Woods’ standards for gun craziness?

Woods wants total-freedom-to-own-and-buy-guns, but so does Johnson, as you’d expect from a Libertarian, who sees these safety measures as an intrusion on privacy. Woods doesn’t return my calls, so I’ll leave it to another reporter to find out what she’s thinking.

Meanwhile, Woods’ views on guns will likely not fly so well in her Arvada/Westminster swing district, where she faces a challenge from Democrat Laura Zenzinger.

An overwhelming 80 percent of Coloradans support background checks for all gun purchases, and 60 percent support limits on the number of bullets allowed in a gun’s bullet holder, called a magazine, according to a Denver Post poll.

“I’m really disappointed in you, Senator. Promoting the lie that Gary Johnson is a gun grabber,” commented Stacy Petty, a former conservative talk-radio host in response to Woods’ Facebook post. “You need to check your facts before you post.”

But Woods holds to her extreme stance on guns, despite its apparent unpopularity, just as she stands behind her extreme position against abortion, even for a women who was raped.

“If you’ve looked at my voting record at all, what you will know is I’m an independent thinker,” Woods told Denver Post reporter John Frank in January.

“Republicans like Laura Woods see their party falling apart, and they are doing everything they can to trash anyone else who might potentially take away votes from whatever consevative base they might have,” said Hans Romer, the Libertarian candidate running against Woods and Zenzinger. “Laura Woods is playing politics.”

The outcome of Woods race against Zenzinger will likely determine control of state government, political analysts say, as Republicans hold a slim one-seat majority in the state senate. Democrats already control the governor’s office, and it’s likely they’ll retain control of the state house, after November’s election.

Stacy Petty Calls out Laura Woods

This post was updated with a comment from Romer.

Woods’ strategy of standing behind her right-wing positions deserves more media scrutiny

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Woods shares video opposing abortion for incest

State Sen. Laura Woods continues to differentiate herself from Colorado Republicans, like U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman, who’ve tried to disavow their extreme anti-choice records–or dodge questions about abortion.

Woods, on the other hand, has embraced a personhood abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape and incestthroughout her political career, starting in the 2014 primary and general election and continuing at the Capitol, where she not only sponsored a abortion-ban legislation but also a bill requiring women to be offered an ultrasound prior to having an abortion (and also to wait 24 hours before having the procedure).

Today, as in July 21, 2016, the stakes are higher than ever. Woods’ district will likely determine control of Colorado state government, and Woods isn’t doing the Buckpedal–or whatever you want to call the dance senatorial candidate Ken Buck, Gardner and Coffman have performed as they tried to distance themselves from right-wing positions they’d taken during their careers.

Woods, a Republican from Westminster/Arvada, isn’t trying to hide her opposition to all abortion, even for incest, even though political observers say it will hurt her in November.

Take, for example, the video Woods shared on Facebook this week from LiveAction, a anti-choice group.

It shows a woman who’s asked the question, “Do you support aborting the child if it was a case of incest?” (at 2:55 here)

“Yeah,” she replies.

Then the woman is pictured watching a video of an abortion, which convinces her that abortion should not be allowed in cases of incest.

Woods does not return my calls, so I can’t talk to her about the video or whether she thinks her no-compromise stance against abortion, even for incest, will help her hold back a challenge from pro-choice Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in November.

But, judging from other interviews, it appears that Woods thinks she need not take middle-of-the-road positions to win in her swingiest of swing districts, where she won by 650 votes in the Republican wave year of 2014. She’s vowed to stand by her conservative principles.

Woods’ anti-Buckpedal dance, which you could call a form of political chest thumping, deserves more media scrutiny than it’s getting.

Republican TV star’s policy stances absent from media coverage

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

What does it take to score national media coverage even before you decide to run for a northwest Denver state house seat? Try being the star of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelor.”

Bachelor star Ben Higgins has been stacking up the news coverage for his decision to run, as a Republican, for Colorado House District 4, which is an incredibly progressive northwest Denver district. I should know; I live there. Voters in HD 4 sent Democrat Dan Pabon into office with a 78 to 22 percent margin in 2014, and it’s hard to imagine his DUI arrest would turn voters to any Republican.

So how is Higgins possibly going to win in HD4? Is Higgins going to be some kind of anti-Republican Republican?

News coverage of the race didn’t illuminate his specific policy positions. So I called him with questions, and he had time to answer four on my list, leaving 21 queries for later, I hope.

This week, the biggest question for Republicans like Higgins is, will they vote for their party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump?

“How everybody votes is up to them,” said Higgins, declining to answer my question of whether he’d vote for Trump.

It’s a “good thing” that Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is from Indiana, said Higgins, who’s also from Indiana, but he doesn’t know enough about Pence, a right-wing conservative, to comment on him.

Higgins would not say whether he’s pro-choice.

“My goal as a representative will be to listen to people’s stories,” said Higgins. “We can get in the weeds and the gray areas all the time. When it comes to any social issue, my decisions we be based on my foundation, which is my faith, and I will listen to people’s stories.”

Colorado Statesman referred to Higgins’ Christian faith, but Higgins has not detailed how it would play into the mix in his policy decisions.  From the Statesman:

While producers didn’t emphasize it on the show’s 20th season, fans have flocked to Higgins in part because of his strong Christian faith, demonstrated by a prominent tattoo that has been visible in his shirtless appearances on the show and on social media. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed — Proverbs 16:34,” the tattoo reads. (It should read “Proverbs 16:3,” Higgins acknowledges, but the tattoo artist mistakenly added a “4.”)

The business analyst from Warsaw, Indiana, was considered “such a catch” that contestants competed for his affection more intensely than in any previous season, The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss told E! News in January.

Asked about gay marriage, Higgins said, “I am about everything that makes people happy. I believe love is love.”

In another Statesman piece June 2, Higgins was praised by well-known conservatives Jon Caldara, president of the right-leaning Independence Institute, and former GOP State Sen. John Andrews. For his part, Higgins was vague, according to the Statesman:

“My objective is sparking a movement to engage people in our community, working to find common ground and making a positive impact,” Higgins said, thanking Caldara and Andrews for their advice. “I know with the blessings God has given me, I can provide some of the leadership and support for such a movement.”

“My priority is giving back to my community and serving my neighbors. Since the conclusion of The Bachelor, I have been exploring how I can best be of service,” Higgins said in a statement. “I am definitely not a politician, but I have a lot to offer through my years in the financial services industry and, more importantly, my work in charitable and humanitarian organizations.”

A new reality-tv show, depicting the life of Higgins and his fiancee, is set to air in the Fall.

“In fact, this new TV program would provide the chance for me to talk directly to an expanded number of HD4 residents, rather than face the same obstacle experienced by most candidates — having their message ignored by the news media,” Higgins wrote, according to the Statesman.

 

 

Reporter should have asked candidate why Palin’s speech was “just spot on”

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Colorado state senate candidate Nancy Doty praised Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech in Colorado last week, calling it “just spot on” and “very, very good.”

Doty made the comments to KNUS 710-AM’s Julie Hayden, who bumped into Doty at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver July 2.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on!” Doty told Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches. “She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump.”

Given that she’s a reporter for Fox 31 Denver, Hayden knows that people want more details about Doty’s assessment of Palin. “Spot on” is exuberant and laudatory, but what really stood out for Doty, beyond the message to get on the Trump train? And what did Doty “really” enjoy about hearing Trump?

Doty, who’s an Arapahoe County Commissioner running against Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan to represent Colorado Senate District 26, didn’t return a call to explain, so I’m forced to speculate.

Palin’s speech amounted to a semi-understandable endorsement of Trump. So it’s not surprising that Doty, who’s said she’ll back Trump, would like it.

But Palin went beyond expressing support for Trump. She raved about him.

She derisively referred to Republicans who oppose Trump, the #NeverTrump people, as RATs (Republicans Against Trump).

If you look at the folks who vote in Doty’s district, you have to think Doty needs to win over a lot of ticket-splitting RATs to defeat Kagan. Is Doty worried about offending the RATs by, well, calling them vermin? Or saying it’s spot on to do so?

Then there was the part of Palin’s speech when she said Trump “really connects.” “We found a messenger!” said Palin.

That’s “spot on” only if you’re not a woman, not a Hispanic, not African-American, or not just about everybody.

I guess it’s spot-on true, as Palin said, that Trump is a messenger for the Tea Party.

Trump, Palin said, is the standard bearer for a “grassroots, populist movement that’s fertilized by the still passionate Tea Party, in all its glorious independence.”

Does Doty think the Tea Party is spot-on in its “glorious independence,” as in shutting down the federal government, denying global warming, blocking bipartisan immigration reform, etc?

I could go on, but I won’t.

And I haven’t even touched on why Doty “really enjoyed” hearing Trump.

Lots for Hayden dig into during her next interview with Doty.

LISTEN TO DOTY HERE:

Last year, dozens of Colorado Republicans joined an anti-LGBT group, funded by Anschutz, in attacking Planned Parenthood

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

UPDATE: The Anschutz Foundation has issued a statement in response to Jonathan Capehart’s Washington Post column about Freedom for All Americans’ report “Enemies of Equality.” Here is the complete statement:

The Anschutz Foundation is not a member of [Washington Post columnist] Jonathan Capehart’s alleged “vast right wing conspiracy.” The Anschutz Foundation donates to thousands of worthy organizations each year, and it does not attempt to dictate to those organizations how they spend their monies. Moreover, those donations are made in accordance with our process and guidelines, and neither process or guidelines identify or reference in any way sexual orientation or gender issues.

Mr. Anschutz, and the Anschutz companies, invest in many businesses employing tens of thousands of people. In all instances, personal lifestyles are neither a requirement or limitation to employment.

Mr. Capehart’s attempt to smear individuals with unfounded allegations is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. It is unworthy of him and of the publication by which he is employed.

There is no reason to comment further on his unfounded statements or on the individuals quoted in his article.

———————–

In a report released today, Freedom for All Americans, which aims to “secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide,” documents, among other things, a trail of cash leading from Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz to 1) Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a national anti-LGBT group, to 2) anti-LGBT extremists like former Rep. Gordon (“Dr. Chaps”) Klingenschmitt and numerous other far-right Christian conservatives.

But, as I blogged previously, here in Colorado, ADF has enjoyed the embrace not only of Anschutz but of 33 Republican state legislators who joined with ADF last year to push for an investigation of Planned Parenthood.

The lawmakers, who appeared to be led by State Rep. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, included State Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, State Rep. JoAnn Windholz of Commerce City, and State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada/Westminster, whose fate in November’s election will likely determine whether Democrats gain control of state government.

Last November, Windholz wrote that Planned Parenthood was the “true instigator” of the domestic terrorism at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, and last week she wrote on Facebook that pro-choice people don’t care as much about women people with anti-choice views.

In the September 25 letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), ADF along with the 33 GOP lawmakers requested the “standards or criteria that are required to initiate an investigation” of Planned Parenthood, and the letter asked why a heavily edited video that falsely purported to show illegal dealings in fetal tissue donation would not be investigated.

The video and others like it were part of an undercover series by the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and have been discredited and their creators indicted.

The Republicans sent their letter, after CDPHE rejected a demand by many of the same state legislators to “initiate an investigation” of Planned Parenthood.

The GOP letter was signed on behalf of ADF by Michael Norton, an outspoken social-conservative attorney in Colorado, who drafted a 2006 Amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Many of the Colorado legislators who aligned with ADF were part of an unofficial “hearing” in November focused largely on the CMP smear videos and turned into a day-long condemnation of Planned Parenthood. It took place just over two weeks before three people were murdered at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.

Correction: Crowder represents Alamosa, not Colorado Springs, as stated in an early version of this post.

Windholz implies pro-choice supporters care less about women than opponents of choice

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Colorado State Rep. JoAnn Windholz, who called Planned Parenthood officials the “real culprits” in last year’s clinic massacre in Colorado Springs, took to Facebook yesterday to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision affirming a women’s right to choose.

“The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion,” Windholz wrote on Facebook, adding that that it “isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well.”

“So who cares about women more?” she asks in the post.

In fact, the Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that the Texas abortion restrictions, which, among other things, required that abortion clinics be equipped like complete surgical units, were not medically necessary.

Windholz: Who could find fault with a law that improves health and safety standards in order to protect women inside abortion clinics? You would think that the pro-abortion side would want to have additional safety measures in place for women. That is not the case. The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion in a 5-3 decision (against 2013 Texas law) to not make it a necessary for abortion doctors to have admitting privilege at a local hospital. Why – because it would mean something went seriously wrong with an abortion. It isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well. So who cares about women more?

The court found that real intent of the Texas legislature was, in fact, to unconstitutionally limit a women’s right to an abortion by requiring clinic doctors to have, for example, admitting privileges, when the health benefit of such privileges is minimal.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer  wrote in the majority opinion, “Nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely than abortion to result in death… but Texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient’s own home.”

It’s unclear what Windholz means when she wrote, “So who cares about women more?”

And Windholz did not immediately return a call seeking an explanation.

But it appears Windholz does not believe that people or even Supreme Court Justices care about women if they support a women’s right to choose.

Shortly after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last year, Windholz wrote on Facebook, as first reported by The Colorado Independent:

Windholz: Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”