Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, August 28, 2018

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Coffman, Mike


Date:        August 28, 2018


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CO-HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: [00:00:06] Lawmakers in D.C. [are] grieving the loss of Senator John McCain this week, but they’re also continuing to do their work. Colorado GOP Congressman Mike Coffman is on the live line to talk about all of that. Good morning, Congressman.


ZESBAUGH: [00:00:18] You’re a veteran. You represent veterans in your various committees in Washington. [What were] your thoughts when the White House didn’t release an official statement after McCain’s passing?

COFFMAN: [00:00:27] Oh, I — um, you know, I — obviously, there was always friction, I think, between the President and John McCain. And I think John McCain was fairly explicit that he didn’t want the President to be at his funeral or to participate. I think the Vice President is going. But I think we’re going to — I think the central issue is, “What is the legacy of John McCain?” And I think it’s an extraordinary one of bipartisanship. And I think he’ll remembered in the Congress — in the House and in the Senate — for his extraordinary work and his ability to reach across the aisle.

CO-HOST MARTY LENZ: [00:01:05] It’s probably true, but I’m going to back — [correcting himself] push back a little bit here because to me, the President, who wraps himself in the flag quite often, showed a lot of disrespect to somebody like McCain while McCain was alive, talking about he didn’t like how people were captured, delaying the flag. You, somebody who has served, you have to sit there and honestly say it was totally disrespectful and hypocritical of the President.

COFFMAN: [00:01:25] Well, he did walk the comment back about the the prisoners of war, which was an extraordinary — I think — insult, not just to John McCain but for — I think — any veteran who had [an] experience that horrific, you know, treatment as being a prisoner of war and what that was like particularly during the war in Vietnam where we had quite a number of POWs, mostly shot down over North Vietnam as John McCain was. But, you know, McCain, I think — Senator McCain, I think, was — in terms of his colleagues in the House and Senate — I think he had an ability to get over things and was fairly forgiving.

ZESBAUGH: [00:02:13] [We would] love to get your thoughts on whether you think we’ll see another lawmaker who is able to straddle the aisle as well as McCain did.

COFFMAN: [00:02:19] Well, I think in respect to [inaudible], Senator McCain had accomplished — I think — on the Senate side and the House side, what we’re doing is there’s a group of what we call Problem Solvers, a group of Republicans and Democrats that have come together to try and bridge the partisan divide in Washington D.C.. And what we’re going to be doing next month is doing a very public –making a very public statement about how we’re going to push reforms in the House where there’s too much power in too few hands, with too little getting done for the American people. So, I think that’s something that I think Senator McCain would like.

LENZ: [00:02:59] With the few moments we have left, Congressman, your Veterans Treatment Bill [is] heading to the President for a signature. How would that impact veterans here in our state of Colorado?

COFFMAN: [00:03:07] That was the last bill, I think, that John McCain had cosponsored that is going to the President’s desk, that it will affect in Colorado and across the country. What it will do is expand veterans’ treatments courts. Those are basically a way to — the veterans who come off of active duty, who get tangled up in the criminal justice process in their difficulty to adjust from military to civilian life — what it does is offers them a second chance, that in lieu of incarceration, generally for a minor offense we put them in a jail — a county jail facilit in, say, in Colorado — that they could undergo a treatment program — that would be on mental health, on substance abuse, and maybe even anger management for those in multiple combat tours, that they — if they undergo that treatment process, then they could do that in lieu of a sentence. If they in any way default on that obligation, then they would have to serve that particular sentence. So, it’s a great program to divert veterans from from incarceration. I witnessed it in Adams County. I know in Arapahoe County they’ve got a similar program is very successful in the 18th Judicial District. But it’s got a proven track record. And I’m proud to have passed this legislation, and it’s now headed to the President for his signature.

ZESBAUGH: [00:04:31] All right. We’ll be following it. Colorado GOP Congressman Mike Coffman, thanks for coming on. And [we’re] so sorry about your collective loss on Capitol Hill.

COFFMAN: [00:04:38] Thank you.