In multiple interviews, Glenn attacks Keyser for exploiting his Bronze Star for political gain

April 15th, 2016

Republican U.S. Senate Jon Keyser is “running on, ‘I have a Bronze Star,’” GOP U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn told 9News today, for a “Balance of Power” show to be aired fully on Sunday morning at 8:45 before Meet the Press:

In a teaser for the program, Glenn says, “Jon Keyser is a nice guy but does not have a lot of depth or breadth of experience. He’s running on ‘I have a Bronze Star.’” Glenn told 9News. “I respect him for that, but he didn’t even finish a term in the legislature.”

9News anchor Kyle Clark reported on the interview:

Glenn assailed Keyser for lacking a conservative voting record that would qualify him for the Senate.

“You can’t just go in there and drop your Bronze Star and say, ‘This is how I’m going to vote.’” Glenn said.

The Keyser campaign fired back sharply.

“Darryl Glenn is embarrassing himself and further proving why he will never be a United States Senator,” said Keyser spokesman Matt Connelly.

Glenn, who won a GOP election Saturday to appear on the Republican primary ballot, presented a similar version of his attack on Keyser on KVOR radio in Colorado Springs April 11, stating:

Glenn: “You hear a lot of people pandering out there, saying great things.  And I’m personally offended at Mr. Keyser.  He needs to stop campaigning on the fact that he has a Bronze Star.  I love the fact – I honor him because he has that.  But I represent, here, five military installations.  I have people on my own team that have that.  And the one thing they don’t do is campaign on it. These people do things that most people don’t want to do.  But you don’t use it for personal benefit.  So he needs to dial it back!”

Listen to Glenn on KVOR radio April 11:

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/darryl-glenn-attacks-keyser

CO Secretary of State, Who Sees “a Lot of Good” in Colorado’s 2013 Election Law, Explains Why He’d Still Oppose It

April 15th, 2016

Last month, on Rocky Mountain Community Radio, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams praised a Pew study for, as Williams put it, “highlighting some of the improvements and the innovations that we try to look at in Colorado.”

The Pew study gushed about Colorado’s 2013 law, which, among other things, mandated that mail-in ballots be sent to all voters, authorized same-day registration, and shortened the length of residency required for voter registration.

The reforms, according to Pew, reduced election costs by 40 percent, and over 95 percent of voters surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied.

Even though he opposed Colorado’s election-modernization law when it passed in 2013, Williams subsequently praised Colorado’s election reforms, well before the Pew Study was published. For example, he lauded the new voting centers and options in Colorado Springs.  And prior to touting Colorado’s wide use of mail-in ballots at a 2015 conference, he issued a news release saying, “Colorado continues to lead in a host of areas.”

So it was an interesting journalistic moment, after the Pew study came out last month, when Colorado Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland asked Williams if he’d oppose Colorado’s election law again, after seeing how it’s worked.

Yes, Williams said he would oppose it, “Because it didn’t include the kind of give-and-take that we’ve tried to do since I’ve been Secretary of State, which is to sit down with the stakeholders of both sides ahead of time and work things out.”

I wondered if Williams had substantive reasons for his opposition, or if it was just a procedural problem for him. His office provided me with a detailed list of alleged “improvements” made after  the 2013 bill, which was referred to as HB13-1303, passed. A list of  bills that would fix current “issues” was also provided, as well as a list of “additional issues that still need to be addressed.” (See these lists below.)

“HB13-1303 made a number of good changes,” Williams said in a statement,  “but because of the above issues and because it violates Colorado’s Constitution with respect to recall (even with the changes made), I could not support it because of my oath to uphold the Constitution. If introduced today, I would work to fix the above issues through the amendment process—something that was denied in 2013 because of lockstep votes to approve by the controlling party.”

Asked to respond to Williams’ lists, Elena Nunez, Director of Colorado Common Cause, told me via email:

Secretary of State Williams has shown a great willingness to partner with stakeholders on election issues, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done together this year.

Having said that, it is discouraging to hear the Secretary laud Colorado’s election law nationally while trying to roll back the parts of the law that make it such a success. Our approach is innovative because it gives Coloradans convenient options to both register to vote and cast ballots, while creating administrative efficiencies.

…All of his examples of “1303 fixes” in the bipartisan cleanup bill, SB16-142, are election issues that would need to be addressed even if HB13-1303 had never become law.

Here’s is Williams’ statement and list in its entirety.

There have been a number of improvements to the procedures in 1303 since it was originally passed, including

1) 2014 – Requiring individuals to actually live in a district instead of merely having an intent to live as provided in the original bill.
2) 2014 – Eliminating inconsistent residency requirements where voters could only vote on some issues but were precluded from voting on others (there are still inconsistencies with home rule municipality charters)
3) 2014 – Addressing inconsistencies in special districts and expensive requirements for special districts
4) 2016 – Fixing deadlines for VRDs that precluded VRDs from collecting registrations (potential 1st Amendment violation)
5) 2016 – Eliminating violation of federal law (NVRA) by incorrect use of terms and related issues

There are several bills this year to fix issues with 1303 that are pending:
1) Correcting errors in judge requirements
2) Eliminating ability to vote in multiple states
3) Correcting affiliation issues with primaries
4) Adjusting electioneering requirements to match law
5) Correcting requirement that military and other UOCAVA voters have to apply for mail ballot (1-5 are in the bipartisan clean up bill, SB16-142)
6) Allowing counties to use fewer VSPCs based on actual voter usage. Because of this excessive requirement, efficient counties experienced significant cost increases under 1303. ($200,000 in El Paso County)
7) Requiring photo ID for same day registration and voting – USPS said 40 such voters did not exist when they were sent confirmation card
8) [potential late bill] Correcting problems with watcher provisions

There are additional issues that still need to be addressed:
1) Ensuring that rural Coloradans are not denied equal protection because of disparate mail delivery times by providing 24/7 drop boxes (Voter Choice Act)—reference is 2014 Conejos Democratic primary for sheriff
2) Permitting Coloradans to have choice to avoid coercion or undue influence by opting out of receiving mail ballots (Voter Choice Act)
3) Constitutional change needed to prevent recall procedures in 1303 and 2014 fix bill from violating state constitution (replacement candidates constitutionally have until 15 days before the election to file, but bill requires all voters to be mailed ballots ahead of time)
4) Fixing vacancy procedures to coincide with new timelines

HB13-1303 made a number of good changes, but because of the above issues and because it violates Colorado’s Constitution with respect to recall (even with the changes made), I could not support it because of my oath to uphold the Constitution. If introduced today, I would work to fix the above issues through the amendment process—something that was denied in 2013 because of lockstep votes to approve by the controlling party.

Flip-flop exposed. Thank you journalism.

April 13th, 2016

You hope that the weakening of journalism doesn’t translate into politicians thinking they can flip flop to their hearts content, without being asked to explain themselves in proverbial print. But you fear fewer reporters means more politicians getting off the hook.

So you’re gratified when reporters, in our diminished media environment, continue to hold politicians accountable, for example, when they vote the opposite way this year than they did last year.

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus noticed that J. Paul Bown (R-Ignacio) had voted last year for a program offering contraception to low-income women and teens, but this year he voted against it.

Last week, Marcus asked the question everyone wants journalists to ask, even if they don’t want to pay for it. Why?

Brown: “I still feel that it prevents abortions, but there’s a difference of opinion, and I just felt like I ought to stick with the caucus today with that amendment. There’s a lot of money needed in a lot of different places, it’s tough making those priorities. It’s a tough decision. We have to make some tough priority decisions up here.”

To his credit, Marcus reported that “supporters” of the program, which is credited with reducing teen abortions and pregnancies by over 35 percent, point out that “for every $1 invested in low-cost contraception, Colorado taxpayers save about $5.85 in Medicaid costs.”

Those are actually state government figures, from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

The next time he interviews Brown, Marcus might as him –or others who’ve opposed Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative on budget grounds–if they believe the state figures.

Despite Brown’s opposition, Colorado’s House and Senate passed a budget bill last week with $2.5 million for the Family Planning Initiative, marking the first year Colorado has funded the program, assuming the budget bill is signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The initiative was funded the past six years with private dollars.

 

State GOP chair fires back at Trump Campaign

April 12th, 2016

Colorado GOP State Chair Steve House fired back at Donald Trump’s presidential campain yeseterday, saying campaign staffers know they were treated “fairly” in Colorado, but are attacking state Republicans anyway because they want to advance a “narrative” that “typical politics” is “unfair and improper.”

“Alan, [Colorado Trump Campaign Director] Patrick [Davis], even [Senior Trump Advisor] Stephen Miller, who visited us out here, they know I didnt send out the tweet,” House told KNUS 710-AM yesterday. “They know that’s not who I am. They know I didn’t treat them unfairly.

“They also know they weren’t in a great position to win delegates here, but at the same time they have a campaign to run and there’s sort of a narrative out there about the syestem and typical politics being unfair and improper. And they are trying to keep that narrative up, and it’s going to come a little bit at my expense.”

House is referring to a tweet stating, “We did it. #NeverTrump,” launched on the state GOP Twitter feed Sunday, after it was clear Trump didn’t win a single Colorado delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

On the radio, House again denied that the state party was responsible for the tweet, and he said an investigation is underway.

House said on air his office is “very, very close” to figuring out who sent the tweet, and he promised he’d announce exactly what happened as soon as he knows.

In response to the GOP anti-Trump tweet, and other issues, the Trump campaign tweeted, “This will not be allowed,” implying that Colorado might figure into a challenge of the outcome of the Republican National Convention.

Trump’s attack on the Colorado GOP exploded across all media platforms yesterday, generating death threats and 3,000 calls to the state party, House told KNUS afternoon hosts Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer yesterday.

State senators’ amendment would (again) ban fetal-tissue research with state dollars

April 11th, 2016

Last week, Colorado Senate Republicans inserted an amendment in the budget bill prohibiting the use of state funds to purchase fetal tissue for research—even though state funds are already barred from being spent for this purpose.

But the sponsors of the amendment, state Senators Tim Neville of Littleton and Laura Woods of Westminster, wanted to “clarify” things in the wake of discredited videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.

The tissue, as university researchers in Colorado have pointed out, is used to help find cures for terrible diseases. It’s obtained under strict federal guidelines that include a consent form from the donor of the tissue authorizing its use in research. A processing charge is allowed but money making on such sales is illegal.

“This is an important issue,” said Woods on the Senate floor (here at 445:30) “We were horrified by the videos that we saw. And the callousness that was associated with those videos. And it deserves our attention…”

“We are not just concerned about Planned Parenthood. We are concerned about the abortions behind this tissue that is being used for research.”

Officials at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado State University rejected demands by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) last year that all fetal-tissue research be halted. They noted that funds for such research come from NIH or private sources, not state dollars.

Richard Traystman, the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Director of Research, said it was “not acceptable” to stop research using fetal tissue.

Traystman said at the time:  “[Fetal cells]  are very often used in research on diseases of the central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord, a variety of diseases that involve brain abnormalities and diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, for example. They are also used in research on the heart and cardiac tissue and to create vaccines. I could go on.”

Traystman emphasized that researchers who use fetal tissue “must go through the Institutional Review Board process, get consent, and follow all the rules and regulations related to human consent forms.”

All this does not persuade Woods or Neville, whose fetal-tissue amendment is expected to be from the budget bill by a conference committee, sources say.

“We do have moral opportunities,” said Neville. “And I look at this as an opportunity to do the right thing.”

Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the fetal-tissue amendment had been deleted from the budget bill by a conference committee. It has not yet been deleted.

 

Colorado may play role in possible Trump challenge at national GOP convention

April 11th, 2016

Republican Dolnald Trump is hopping mad at Colorado Republicans:

“The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Trump posted on Twitter.

In his story about the comments, The Denver Post’s John Frank reported:

The problems with Trump’s ballots [as Frank put it, "riddled with errors"] — and the candidate’s comments — raise questions about whether Colorado will figure prominently into a challenge at the national convention about the state’s delegates.

Another issue that could lead to a challenge by Trump is the fact that Trump actually won at least one straw poll vote earlier this year, and these results could be binding.

National Republican rules state that if Colorado held a straw poll, delegates would be bound to the candidate for whom they voted.

That’s one reason Colorado Republicans decided against having a straw poll–in addition to concerns that too many people would show up.

But some Colorado precincts held straw polls anyway, arguably flouting the rules, calling the straw-poll votes symbolic.

But straw polls are symbolic by definition. And holding them could have violated GOP rules.

Trump didn’t win all of the straw polls held in Colorado, but he won at least one of them, in Adams County, according to a report in The Denver Post.

They key question is, did any of Trump’s delegates in Adams County or elsewhere go on to be selected to attend the the national GOP convention–even if they’re now saying they are like Cruz. If so, they may actually be bound to Trump.

So Trump’s possible challenge at the natioal convention could also include questions about delegates he may have won due to the symbolic straw-poll process.

This post was updated at around 11 am April 11.

Woods and Neville fail to stop teen-pregnancy-prevention program

April 7th, 2016

On a voice vote late yesterday, the Colorado Senate rejected an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and Laura Woods (R-Westminster) that would have deleted funding for a state-run program credited with decreasing the teen pregnancies and abortions by over 35 percent.

It was a watershed moment for backers of the program, whose efforts to procure state funding were killed last year by Senate Republicans–as chronicled by national news outlets and lowly blogs alike.

But the watershed moment was nearly eclipsed by the water cooler discussion of why in the world Woods would go out of her way to oppose an astonishingly successful teen pregnancy prevention program, given the spectacular bipartisan allure of lowering teen pregnancies and abortions?

Woods doesn’t return my calls, so someone else will have to ask her, but the stakes are about as high as they can get, as control of state government likely depends on who wins Woods’ swing senate district in November.

Politics aside, Woods has been consistent in standing up for her anti-choice and Tea-Party positions, from the day she started running for the legislature until now–as opposed to other state Republicans who’ve essentially re-invented themselves (Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman) when faced with tough election campaigns in moderate districts.

Woods didn’t speak at last night’s senate hearing, leaving her co-sponsor Sen. Tim Neville to explain their hostility toward reducing abortions and pregnancies among teenagers.

Neville started out by saying he was concerned about the “widespread and temporary use of sterilization products on women and girls in Colorado.” Arguably, you can describe the program that way, if you must. Under Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative, which has been privately funded, low-income women and girls receive free or reduced-cost long acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Neville, who’s the leading GOP contender to defeat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, went on to say (Listen here at 535:35).

Neville: These IUDs and other issues do nothing to prevent the spread of STDs [sexually transmitted diseases]. There is nothing to suggest that the psychological and medical risks and costs associated with the increased sexual activity will be managed or addressed by these funds or this legislation.

The use of IUDs has never been shown to encourage more sex, as you might suspect. So the psychological risk-benefit analysis should focus on the mental-health impact of being a teen parent or having an abortion versus avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.

Neville, who was bothered by lack of parental notification in administering the contraception under the program, argued that the LARC program isn’t necessary because “birth control is already provided, free, to anyone who needs it who qualifies” under the Affordable care act.

But it’s specifically the use of implants and long-acting contraception that makes the program successful, and some forms of LARC birth control, along with the training needed to provide them, are not covered currently by Obamacare.

Neville’s closing comment was also incorrect and probably the most frustrating to LARC backers. He alleged:

Neville:  “Colleagues, this is a program that, if it went through a vote through the Senate and went through its natural process, would not have made it.”

In fact, just last week the state house defeated an amendment, almost exactly like the one offered by Neville and Woods, with the support of all Democrats and three Republicans. And it’s nearly a certainty that one Republican or more would have joined Democrats in the state senate to pass a stand-alone LARC bill last year and this year. That’s probably one reason Republicans allowed funding in the budget in the first place–to take it off the table.

Neville did not make the anti-LARC argument, among the most popular last year, that IUDs cause abortions, but Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs raised it last week,  as quoted in the Colorado Springs Gazette.:

Klingenschmitt: “I would be fine with family planning. I would be fine with some kinds of birth control, but when the taxpayers are funding post-conception abortion pills, that crosses the line.”

Klingenschmitt’s and other GOP objections will be irrelevant once the budget bill clears the state senate today and is signed by Hick.

Then all eyes (or at least the eyes of the political world) will turn to Woods, Neville and other Republicans to see how this issue plays out on the campaign trail.

Gardner says he might not back Cruz or Trump, if one of them is the GOP prez nominee

April 5th, 2016

As Colorado Republicans appear to be lining up behind Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner is saying he may not support Cuz–or billionaire Donald Trump–if one of them becomes the Republican nominee.

“Look, any of these nominees are going to have to earn my support,” said Gardner on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis show yesterday (here at 1:40), when asked if he’d support Trump, if Trump were the GOP nominee.”But the fact is I don’t think it’s going to be Donald Trump.”

Gardner said it was “nonsense” to think the ultimate GOP nominee will be anyone “other than the nominees that are going to be before the voters at the state convention this weekend.”

“I think it should be somebody who’s put themselves forward over the past year and a half, if not longer, before the people of Colorado. They are the ones who have skin in the game. They are the ones who will ultimately be our nominee.”

Gardner has waffled on whether he’d support Trump, if Trump were the nominee. On the radio yesterday, Gardner again criticized Trump.

As far as I can tell, Gardner has not stated whether he’d back Cruz, if Cruz were the nominee.

Reporters should take note of talk-show host’s line of questioning on abortion

April 5th, 2016

KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman has been doing us all a favor by interviewing Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate candidates, but his interview with El Paso Country Commissioner Peggy Littleton Saturday stood out, because he dug in with follow-up questions.

Silverman: If Roe vs. Wade is overturned then states will have the right to criminalize abortion. Do you think abortion is a form of murder?

Littleton: [no answer]

Silverman: Are you pro-life or pro-choice, Peg Littleton?

Littleton: When we look at life, Craig, we have to consider that all life is valuable. And it is a decision of those people who chose to have an impact on their own lives. I personally am pro-life. I would always prefer that people choose life. But I would never judge them for making a decision that I have no impact on. I’ve never been in a position where I had a 14 or 15- year old who was raped or was a victim of incest. I would never put myself in a position to make a judgment call for someone else. And I will just leave it there. So let’s go back to why I would be the next Senator who would be best.

Silverman: No, No! I’m sorry. I just feel like you’re ducking and diving a little bit. I don’t know why you’re all over Trump for saying that he’s pro-life and he thinks a woman should suffer a sanction. Why would you give immunity to a woman under such circumstances? It’s not a 14- or 15-year-old who’s been raped. Let’s talk about a 32-year-old career woman who has an unintended pregnancy and says, ‘You know, this is not the right time or place.’ And she goes to Planned Parenthood and has an abortion. Or uses the morning-after pill. So, do you think she should she be sanctioned for that?

Littleton: I will not sanction the right of people to do what they feel is in their best interests. That is not my judgment call. But I’d like to get back to some the reasons why I would be the best choice for the next U.S. Senator that would be able to take Michael Bennet out of the Senate, if we could, please.

Silverman: Well, I’m afraid that I am going to control the questioning. And if I feel you dodge the questions, it’s going to make me ask them over again.

Silverman has a valid and important line of questioning here–trying to clarify who should be punished (the woman? the doctor?) if abortion becomes a crime. And why.

“Trump’s interchange with Chris Mathews had just happened, and my show thrives on being current,” Silverman told me via email when asked to explain why he was asking Littleton tough follow-up questions, when he’d let other candidates slide on the issue. “Beyond that, I had a fresh take on the subject before Peg came on, from this interesting link provided me by one of my longtime pro-life listeners.”

Reporters should put Silverman’s line of questioning to all candidates, as the election season heats up. It helps people understand what’s at stake if abortion were to be outlawed or restricted. And what potential lawmakers think about it.

Listen to Littleton on KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman Show April 2:

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/us-senate-candidate-peggy-littleton-on-the-craig-silverman-show-april-2-2016

Dr. Chaps’ attack video leaves some Republicans laughing

April 4th, 2016

Last week, Rep. Justin Everett posted a video in which  Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt attacks his SD-12 primary opponent, Rep. Bob Gardner. Dr. Chaps produced the video last year.

Everett wrote on Facebook: THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF GORDON KLINGENSCHMITT, but this is too funny not to share. Although I like Bob personally after serving with him for 2 years, Klingenschmitt goes a little EASY on Bob’s voting record and conservatism in this video. Enjoy!

Everett did not amplify on how Dr. Chaps went a “little EASY” on Gardner.

A couple of Everett’s colleagues joined in with comments on the video, which features Gardner doing the “Bob and Weave Dance.”

Rep. Patrick Nevelle: Too funny. I think even most Democrats would admit Gordon has a great sense of humor.

Sen. Steve Humphrey: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means….” That is funny stuff.

The video is funny and wierd, both, as you might expect. It shows off Dr. Chaps’ strange media skills.

https://youtu.be/iJLP4e8Nduc

Klingenschmitt in the video: My opponent for the race for State Senate District 12, Bob Gardner, has just started performing this Bob and Weave Dance to perfection! Here’s a quick example. If you’re following this Colorado Springs election, you know we’re both Republicans. And I’m actually conservative and Bob Gardner is a liberal who pretends to be a conservative.

Klingenschmitt provides undercover video of Gardner saying he supports the principles of liberty, but Chaps points to the Principle of Liberty website, which lists Gardner as receiving an F in 2013 2014.

“Don’t believe ratings systems that are odd, distorted,” Gardner says in Chaps’ video.