My Interview with House District 49 Candidate, Karen Stockley

(I think Pols has become the go-to place for in-depth interviews – promoted by DavidThi808)



Its 2:45 pm on a Sunday afternoon. I am standing at the front of Front Range Antiques on College Ave in South Fort Collins looking at a 1945 issue of the Denver Post, which was published in the wake of President Roosevelt’s death. On the front page is a series of headlines enumerating the numerous challenges facing Harry S. Truman, the new President of the United States.

The headlines struck a chord with me because like then, the country now appears bogged down by challenges of immense proportions, ranging from a deep and protracted recession, chronic fiscal issues at the state and federal levels, and a deeply polarized and distrustful electorate. My thoughts were then suddenly derailed because, even though I was 15 minutes early for my appointment, a young girl approached and told me that Karen was on her way up to meet me.

My appointment was with Karen Stockley, who is a Democrat running for the state house of representatives for district 49.  I sat down with Stockley and talked to her about her campaign, her politics, and the direction she wants to take Colorado if elected.  

For several years now, Stockley has been watching this house seat and positioning herself to run for it. Now, in 2010, she believes she has an opportunity to fulfill that goal. The only problem is that district 49 is unfriendly territory for Democrats. It is a heavily Republican district that hasn’t voted for a Democrat to fill that seat in over thirty years, and it encompasses nearly all of rural Larimer county-including Berthoud, Estes Park, and Wellington-as well as a small portion of conservative Weld County that includes Windsor.  

In addition to the sprawling geography and tough demographics, the political climate is not looking good for Democrats across the country this year.  Even in Colorado, which has been trending Democratic over the last three election cycles, Democrats are on the defensive and facing strong headwinds because of voter despondence and pervasive unemployment. Senator Michael Bennet and Congresswoman Betsy Markey, both of whom are fighting for their political lives, will appear on the same ballot as Stockley.

Yet, Stockley remains optimistic. Her optimism stems from the changing demographics of the district, the unprecedented organization of her campaign compared to past Democratic challengers, and strong fundraising figures.

She is also hopeful because the district voted Democratic in 2008, by an almost six-point margin, when it voted for Betsy Markey over Marilyn Musgrave, the staunch conservative firebrand and cultural warrior whose most notable achievement while in office was her failed attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.  

For Stockley, this creates an opportunity because her opponent is Republican incumbent, B.J. Nikkel, a woman who worked as a senior aide and district director to Musgrave for four of her six years in the House of Representatives.  What’s more, Nikkel is a relatively unknown political operative who was not even elected to her current position in the state legislature. She was appointed by a Republican committee, in an 8 to 15 vote, after Kevin Lundberg vacated the seat in 2008 .

With her low name recognition and close connections with Musgrave, Stockley hopes to define Nikkel to the voters and tie her to the unpopularity of her former boss.  ”By mentioning that our opponent was a Musgrave staffer who was appointed with the help of Kevin Lundberg,” Tim Kubik, Stockley’s campaign manager, wrote in an email message to me, “we get an instant reaction that tells us whether they’re likely to be open to Karen.  Most are open, and many blurt out ‘Oh, in that case, I’m for Karen.’”  

“BJ’s political career has been marked by her willingness to ‘carry water’ for the agenda-setters in her party,” he continued. “We’ve talked to a lot of voters since Karen got into this race in October of 2009,” Kubik concluded, “and we’ve heard far more about more practical concerns like jobs, defending education, and coming up with the resources to keep our small towns thriving….A partisan purity test is not enough to represent HD 49 any more.  Voters need someone who listens to them” and  ”Karen has a demonstrated track-record of doing precisely that.”

And Stockley herself used every opportunity to expound upon that campaign theme in my conversation with her.  ”B.J. doesn’t know the issues in Colorado…[She] is a Party person and she is to the right within the Republican Party, obviously [since she] worked for Marilyn Musgrave for so long, something she has done a good job of covering up.”

                   *****

Stockley has most of her life in Colorado and has spent the last several years in the Berthoud area. She describes herself as a type-A personality, but she conveys a humble, albeit fiercely intelligent, persona.  She is even-tempered, yet driven by an innate passion-a passion for public service and community involvement.    

After fourteen years of staying home and raising her five children, Stockley started getting active in the community, first involving herself in the schools, then as a volunteer at the museum.

“I did Victorian fashion shows for the museum with my daughters,” she told me with a soft smile.

But soon, her volunteering took on a more political bend. She served on Berthoud’s Zoning and Planning committee and, more recently, has spent the last three years on the Thompson R2-J school board, where she served on its legislative coalition, which goes to Denver and confers with the legislature on any bills pertaining to education.

And because of her years of community involvement, she has steeped herself in many of the issues central to Colorado, namely job creation, the economy, and education.    

“Jobs,” Stockley blurted emphatically, when I asked her what the major legislative challenge was going into the next legislative session. ” I see [joblessness] all the time in my business, she added.  ”I have heard so many sad stories buying antiques from people on the streets; I have seen so many people facing incredible hardships.”

She continued that, “there is so much desperation out there that most people don’t see. You sure don’t see it if you are just working in an office in Denver every day.”

Indeed, the economy in Colorado has been hit particularly hard by the recession. Although Colorado has a lower unemployment rate than the country at large, the percentage drop has been greater in Colorado than the rest of the country because the state has historically outpaced everyone else.

According to Focus Colorado, an economic and revenue forecast prepared by the Colorado Legislative Council in June, state per capita personal income fell 3.9 percent between 2008 and 2009, more than the 2.6 percent drop nationwide. Moreover, mortgage debt is contributing to the financial strain that is dampening consumer spending. In the first quarter of 2010, twenty-eight percent of mortgage holders in Colorado were at or near negative equity, meaning that they owe more on their mortgage than the value of the home.  That puts Colorado among the worst in the nation. Only eight states have a higher negative equity share, including California, Florida, and Nevada.  And Colorado banks are constrained more than most because of the heavy concentration of loans moving into foreclosure, thus making new lending difficult.

As a business owner herself, Stockley feels she is uniquely qualified to help get the Colorado economy back on track.  ”If I wanted to expand my business right now and I needed to get a loan to do it,” she explained to me, “I couldn’t do it because the banks aren’t loaning money, even with a good credit rating…. So we have to find a way to fix the banks in Colorado before we can move forward with jobs.”

“We also need to look at tax incentives,” she continued, so people can work on new and innovative projects, especially in the newly emerging green economy.  When asked about the feasibility of creating new tax incentives at the state level given the projected budgetary shortfalls projected for fiscal year 2011, which are looming around 175 million dollars, Stockley suggested that it was “important to look at priorities.”

“It seems,” she began, “that large corporations are always getting the tax breaks. The small businesses don’t get the same sort of tax breaks that large corporations get.  We need small businesses to get those tax breaks and incentives because they are the ones employing most of the people.” She concluded that all “large corporations do is outsource jobs out of the United States. They shouldn’t get the tax breaks. Tax breaks need to go to small businesses and the businesses creating jobs.”

                  *****

Even though Stockley’s campaign focus is on the economy, it is clear that her passion is with education reform.  Last spring, the state legislature passed SB191, a series of education amendments that changed the way teachers achieve and maintain tenure.  Nikkel voted in favor of the legislation, but Stockley opposed it.  ”I don’t think it had enough protections in the bill for teachers.”  Berthoud elementary, she told me, is one of the highest performing schools in the state and it has a great learning environment.  

But compare that school to a school in intercity Denver or elsewhere, where students tend to be poorer and more transient and lower performers, she said.  Teachers in both schools are equally responsible for 50% growth even though teachers in Denver schools face greater challenges. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges,” she argued.  ”I say you are held accountable for your eight hours in the class room every day, and you’re accountable for keeping them safe and for educating them as best as you can.”  

“Outside forces,” she asserted,  make up 50% of a child’s learning environment, however. “You can’t force a child to do that homework at home if they don’t have a good parent.” According to Stockley, moreover, SB191 was rushed through the state legislature and did not reflect the careful thought required for a major overhaul of Colorado’s education system. “We all agree,” she concluded, “that we need to do a better job graduating kids but we can’t just blame teachers.”

Colorado is unique in terms of K-12 education because of what scholars call the ‘Colorado Paradox’-this is, Colorado boasts one of the most educated populations in the country, but in terms of student achievement in the state, its students achieve below-average rates of college attendance and completion. The implication is that Colorado imports a large percentage of its educated labor force, while not properly preparing its own children to fill the state’s most highly paid jobs.

The implication is that, according to Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute’s report on “Working Colorado,” there is a growing disparity between the highly educated, economically prosperous, and largely non-indigenous workforce that has fared well during the recession and Colorado natives who are less educated, have higher unemployment, less economic stability, and more wage stagnation.

For Stockley, this paradox is a function of the way K-12 education in the state is grossly underfunded. “I know they say you can’t throw money at education,” she exclaimed, “and before I joined the school board I kind of bought into the idea that there is so much fluff in education and so much waste, but now I know there is not. I’ve looked at our budget. We’ve gutted programs. We have made cuts over the last few years; we are looking at cuts again next year; and we are looking at the cliff the following year. We do amazing things and get amazing results with very little money, but we are still underfunding education in Colorado.”

And the statistics seem to confirm Stockley’s bleak view. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, between 1992 and 2001, Colorado declined from 35th to 49th in the nation in K-12 spending as a percentage of personal income. And using statistics from 2006, Kids Count Colorado notes in its 2008 annual report that per capita state expenditures in Colorado were nearly $1,000 less than the national average, $2,600 less than in New Mexico, and $3,500 less than in Wyoming.

                                                                     *****  

In my conversation with Stockley, we covered a broad range of issues from health care to Colorado’s state pension crisis. On health care in particular, she was appalled by Nikkel’s vote against a bill in the state legislature (SB244) that would have required insurance plans to cover treatments for autism.

Although largely supportive of the massive health care overhaul passed by Congress earlier this year, Stockley nevertheless remains willing to look at an option for Colorado to legally opt out of the new federal health care reform law by activating a little known provision in the law called the ‘Empowering the States to be Innovative Amendment.’ It would allow Colorado to create its own health care system-with or without a public option, and with or without an individual mandate-provided that the state still meets the coverage requirements of the federal bill.

“The national bill was so onerous and I don’t think a lot of people could get their heads around the bill, especially with all of the backroom deals and political games, Stockley suggested.  She then added that if “we can do the same thing at the state level in a cost effective way, I think we can sidestep that fear people have of an ever more intrusive federal government….I think that would be a way to get people to really buy into this new system.”

                  *****

Karen Stockley’s path to the state legislature in Denver remains uncertain.  Although no doubt more liberal than the average voter in her district, Stockley’s main strengths are her capacity for compassion towards others, love of her community, and an ability to connect with those around her.  They are strengths that play well with her message to listen to the voters in rural Larimer county and Windsor and her promise to reflect their interests in Denver.

Its a message that voters are desperately looking for in their elected representatives but live in perpetual disappointment because it has been turned into a cheap talking-point. In an era when trust in government is in short supply, the question remains whether Stockley can convince her fellow voters to believe again.

http://ryanpolitics.blogspot.c…

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. IndividualLiberties says:

    Any reader should be thoroughly dizzy from the spin after reading this blog. It talks about Rep. Musgrave’s results in 2008, but more importantly, it leaves out then Rep. Lundberg’s results. He won the 49th HD by 58% of the votes–the most he ever has, and that was in a down year for Republicans.

    Furthermore, Rep. Nikkel has been an execptionally effective legislator. Her most important action was when whe outmaneuvered Bill Ritter by sponsoring the Colorado Taxpayer Transparancy act and getting it passed into law, rather than Ritter’s preferred executive order. She has been exemplary in her service on a child welfare panel with Sen. Lundberg and Rep. Kefalas, bringing to light deficiencies in the state’s department of health and human services.

    Additionally, BJ has been nationally recognized and has served on a child welfare panel at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and received the highest award of recognition from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    Stockley is duplicitous when she states that “jobs” and “tax breaks for small businesses” are her concerns, when she has stated that she would have voted in favor of all of the “dirty dozen” tax increases that the democrats in thelegislature passed without a constitutionally mandated vote of the people–all of which have hurt all business in the state.

    Stockley has also stated that she would have voted to give in-state tuition to illegal aliens, stating that it makes no sense to “throw these ‘citizens’ to the wolves”, despite the fact that Colorado taxpayers have already generously given illegal aliens a free K-12 education. Enough is enough.

    BJ Nikkel is an oustanding advocate for the Colorado taxpayer, and will easily win reelection this November.

  2. Clear Blue Skyster says:

    It’s disappointing that the ONLY candidates ever interviewed and supported on Pols are DEMOCRATS.  What does that say? Pols is bought and paid for by Stryker and Company? uh huh. Great blog – NOT….

    Nikkel is hardly has was described and any novice who does interiews could at least be honest about that.  

    If you look at her record as a freshman, she passed 9 substantial bills in her two short years in office – that being a Republican in the Minority to boot. And, that doesn’t include resolutions passed.

    The Windsor newspapers have cited not only her outstanding effectiveness as a legislator in her ability to work across the aisle with her colleagues, but also described her as a “breath of fresh air.”

    That’s because she obviously knows how to communicate – even with people that she may disagree philosophically with and she is very well respected at the capitol and in Northern Colorado.

    She’s been an outstanding representative for House District 49 and if Stockley banks on linking her to Musgrave or Lundberg, she’s totally lost the race.

    What did Stockley do on school board?  Nothing.

    And, lose she will because Nikkel is actually very well known and liked in her district because of being in the public eye as a leader in music community, for having written a weekly newspaper column for 3 years and for also being a great non political representative for the congressional office she worked in.  She’s well liked and has served her district well.

    Stockley’s simply another cookie cutter liberal trying to sound like a moderate (as usual for Dem candidates running for election).  The tide is totally against her.  

    Hopefully, she keeps her drawers up in relation to her affiliation with Save the Poudre’s embarrasing bare assed envirowackos and maybe she’ll do okay – but she’ll never win… Ever.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      It’s disappointing that the ONLY candidates ever interviewed and supported on Pols are DEMOCRATS.

      I’ve interviewed every major elected Republican in this state except Doug Lamborn. And I didn’t get Lamborn because he turned me down. There’s plenty of Republicans interviewed here – but you need to open your eyes.

  3. susanalt1 says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that the Republicans feel they have to attack Karen Stockley, because she is obviously the better choice in this race.  Nikkel’s has long been a disappointment to her constituents in her appointed seat (remember, she was never elected by the voters for her job).  A Marilyn Musgrave Wannabe, Nikkels simply carries water for the party line, with no leadership and advocacy for the working and middle classes. Nikkels worked for Marilyn Musgrave and apparently picked up a lot of bad habits along the way.   Musgrave was a severe embarrassment to the state of Colorado, a a radical righty with a perverse one-note career goal of seeking to stop gay marriage (other issues be damned), and this kind of insult need not, indeed, must not, be repeated.

    Karen Stockley cares about the issues that face Colorado.  She will work hard to protect the things that we love about living here. She has and will work hard to strengthen the resources in her community. She will fight to keep the Republicans from rolling back laws that protect our clean air and water.  She will work to protect the environment in ways that will create clean energy jobs.  She will work to increase tourism, a vital source of income to the state. She will make sure that quality health care is available to all our children. Nikkel’s inexcusable vote against supporting health care reform that would have included increased funding for caring for the mentally impaired and those with autism is  a badge of her own dishonorable conduct towards individuals in special need.  Voters will notice.

    Karen believes an education should not have to cost a fortune, but it should not simply be under funded because Republicans want a tax break for the wealthy. Teachers need to be given the resources to help raise standards of education, increase the quality of class time, and insure that our students learn more than the basics.   Karen knows that increasing the quality of an education, including making sure that our students have

    access to classes in music, creative arts, and physical education strengthens the vitality of our schools and allows students to thrive.  Our children in K-12 need a strong advocate in our Congress, because under funding education will not only strip our children of the resources they need to achieve, it will dim prospects for insuring Colorado stays a great place to raise a family.   As it is, we are steadily falling behind other nations in our students’ achievements in math and science and creative arts.  Do you want to continue this trend?  Then vote for Nikkels.

    Karen Stockley’s experience with educational and business concerns (mother of five children, school board member, business owner) obviously makes her the better choice for the job.  If you want to bring about change for a better future for our kids, then vote for Karen Stockley.  

    • IndividualLiberties says:

      It is quite entertaining how you begin your post decrying someone for “attacking” Karen Stockley, right before you start attacking Rep. Nikkel.

      Though, if you are referring to my earlier post, you will notice that all I do is directly point out the stands that Stockley has taken on issues and why she is wrong. Discussion of the issues is not “attacking”, and you will notice I did not try the “guilt by association” gambit, which is an intellectually weak argument at best, nor did I resort to childish name-calling such as “wannabe” or “radical righty”, or have to regurgitate the silly “carries water for the party line” comment from the article. I understand that this is probably the best you have, and that’s frustrating you.

      The only constituents that Rep. Nikkel is likely to have disappointed is the far left-wing who seek ever increasing government spending and intrusiveness financed on the back of Colorado taxpayers.

      Stockley is a member of the Thompson Board of Education. We have local control of school districts in Colorado. What has she done to raise revenue locally? Has she proposed a mill levy override to fund these ideas, or is she just waiting for the state to backfill the districts needs? With power shared between the legislature and local boards of education as enumerated in Article IX of the state constitution, local school districts have as much, if not more, responsibility than the legislature to raise money for their own district. Stockley has been in a position of power to directly affect that, and what has she done? Nothing. Nothing but pass the buck to the state, and complain about their unwillingness to backfill. Nothing but empty rhetoric and inaction.

      Stockley’s own comments about providing illegal aliens with in-state tuition speaks volumes of her opinion of the free K-12 education those illegal aliens have generously received from Colorado taxpayers. From her own words: “it makes no sense to me that as a state, we fund educating undocumented students from K-12, and then throw them to the wolves after they graduate if they choose to go forward with their education. I believe it is vital to our economy to have the best trained young people. And that includes all of citizens.”

      First: Does Stockley have such a low opinion of the K-12 education system that she is a part of that she considers them “thrown to the wolves” if taxpayers do not choose to award these adults in-state tuition? Hardly the position of someone who is supposed to be “strong advocate” for K-12 “in our Congress” (You might want to look up the difference between Congress and the General Assembly, by the way).

      Second: Does Stockley have such a poor concept of citizenship that she considers illegal aliens to be citizens?

      Also of interest in Stockley’s duplicitous positions towards the rights afforded to taxpayers: In her radical stance against water storage in Colorado, Stockley actually expressed concern for compliance with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Her exact words: “Revenue bonds are an end run around TABOR and taxpayers”.

      Now, I have to admit, it is almost refreshing to hear a democrat express concern against actions that circumvent the requirements of our state constitution. However, her own statements stating that she would have voted in favor of the twelve measures that raised taxes on businesses and consumers this year without the vote of the people mandated by Article X, Section 20 of our constitution reveals her supposed concern for our constitution for what it is: An opportunistic argument of convenience, not a deeply held principle for the charter that the people of Colorado have formed with their government.

      Representative Nikkel has been an outstanding advocate for the Colorado taxpayer. Because of her efforts, we all now have the ability to see the state’s checkbook online. That’s why she is referred to as the “Queen of Transparency”. Rep. Nikkel’s advocacy for child welfare will improve the state’s services to those who have suffered abuse and neglect. Rep. Nikkel has been accessible to her constituents, and has served them well, and has been nationally recognized for her service. The Colorado 49th House District has been extremely well served by Rep. B.J. Nikkel, and will continue to receive the advocacy it deserves by returning her to the Colorado House of Representatives.

      • susanalt1 says:

        You right-wingers  never fail to amaze me with your rants about how Nikkel is a great “advocate for the taxpayer”  and how she is the “Queen of Transparency.”  Well, this queen lacks substance! Your Republican mantra gets tiresome when you realize that the advocacy they support is for the extremely wealthy, not the middle guy.  Those of us who work for a living recognize that failure to commit dedicated funds the our school systems means that children are necessarily going to be left behind.  Republicans don’t care for teachers; hey, they figure theirs is only a baby sitting job.  Nikkel is the same as Musgrave.  She certainly inhaled while working around  Musgrave, who in the end became just  a tired, pedantic sourpuss of a woman who was so enraged that she did not win re-election that she never even bothered to congratulate Markey for winning the seat.  Nikkel, too,  is a very poor choice because she and her party are the people responsible for denying the very needy in this state the resources that they need to overcome poverty and their circumstance.  The whole notion of illegal immigration has you people pushing your vehement prejudices and hatred towards people who are probably working for you right now.  Republicans wail at “illegal aliens”  (these people are not from outer space, you know) but when push comes to shove your corporate heads hire them because they will work for less money.  And yet you want to deny them adequate education and health care.  It is cheaper in the long run to provide them with these benefits; emergency rooms will not deny care, even to an illegal (do you really want to be responsible for immigrants dying in the street because they were denied health care?); and emergency room care is very expensive.  An education is provided to all children in this state because all children living here require by law an education, and whatever immigration reform the Democrats come up with, they will have to become a part of our communities and our culture.  Many of them already pay taxes, probably more than any of you do.  Loopholes, you know.  Republicans are all about controlling where taxpayer money goes; they will circumvent the good of the people in order to maintain their corrupt choices.

        Let’s talk about water storage!  Many of the proposals on the table are fraught with problems, mainly, too expensive and not enough water to go around.  You can’t just build a reservoir and the water will come!  We live in a desert, and have no need of green lawns to the point of wasting millions of dollars to build receptacles that will be very expensive mudflats for years to come.  You people want to cut human services so that you can build wasteful capital projects that will only make  your crony contractors rich.

        Conservation is the key to our water management, not trying to store water in empy reservoirs that will only have enough water for distribution downstream 4 out 10 years! (Corps of Engineers report, look it up!).

        Karen Stockley is the better candidate for congress because she will not forget the middle class and the poor.  She understand that we need to keep Colorado “green” and beautiful.  She understand that we must use our resources wisely, but that doesn’t mean cutting taxes for the top 2% and leaving the rest of us to pay all the taxes.  We are a nation of immigrants, and it is still amazing that Republicans don’t get it.   Karen understands that if you guys are going to allow corporations like Monfort to hire illegals, jobs for which they pay their share of taxes, then you have to provide them with essential access to some public care.

        Rep. Nikkel is hardly the great advocate you speak of.  She maintains the same narrow minded view of her job as Musgrave.  Any person of decency would have to consider the obligation we as taxpayers have in helping the least among us. ( Isn’t that what Jesus would have required of you? )   The government has to provide a safety net, because I don’t see you people out their assisting the poor.  Nikkel turns her back on voting for legislation and taxes that would have improved the lives of mentally impaired children.  Hardly the national champion for children’s rights you speak of.  Karen Stockley will be a true advocate for children’s rights, for all children, for insuring they have the resources they need to grow and learn and be.  Isn’t that what Colorado should be all about?

        • IndividualLiberties says:

          Your posts are so entertaining. They are a lot of empty rhetoric, emotional outbursts, childish name-calling, inaccurate generalizations, blatant lies, intellectually-weak guily-by-association accusations, an inability to make the distinction between an immigrant an illegal alien, and, of course, can’t leave out playing the race card when race has nothing to do with the issue. They have no real discussion of the issues, of course, but I understand that would put you on the losing side of the argument, and we can’t have that, can we?

          Look at Rep. Nikkel’s record on fiscal transparency with an objective eye–HB09-1288, also known as the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act. It’s a good record, and it speaks for itself.

          I am well aware of the call by Jesus Christ to charity–charity being the giving of one’s own wealth to others free of coersion. I am also aware of the difference between charity and the use of the law to forcibly transfer the wealth of one person to another. Rep. Nikkel understands that people work hard for what they earn, that what they earn belongs to them, and understands that our constitution and its underlying framework of securing the rights of the people do not entitle her nor the state to the property of anyone to transfer to anyone else.

          You decry current levels of funding for K-12 education. I will say it again for you–Local boards of education have as much, if not more, responsibility to raise revenue for their district. You try to paint Stockley as a great advocate of education while decrying (inaccurately) Rep. Nikkel and Republicans in general as enemies of education. I ask again: what has Karen Stockley done as a director for the Thompson School District Board of Education to address funding needs within her own constituency? Mill levy override? Bond issue? Nothing. It’s part of her current job description, you know. Just another who passes the buck to the state and  uses that as political leverage.

          I would love to see some logical posts by you so we can discuss actual issues. You can try telling me why the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act is a bad thing. You can tell me why Rep. Nikkel’s attempts to bring to light defficiencies in the department of health and human services is a bad thing. You can tell me why your needs entitle you to the property of others (and spare me the police and fireprotection hyperbole). I suspect all I will receive in response is more empty rhetoric, emotional outbursts, childish name-calling, inaccurate generalizations, blatant lies, intellectually-weak guily-by-association accusations, an inability to make the distinction between an immigrant an illegal alien, and, of course, can’t leave out playing the race card when race has nothing to do with the issue.

          • susanalt1 says:

            Nikkel does suffer from guilt by association, having been in Musgrave’s camp for a long time before she was appointed to fill this seat.  She has never been elected.  Her close ties with Musgrave reveal a severe lack of judgment and intellect on her part.  Not being capable of voicing criticism of Musgrave’s bigotry and poor advocacy diatribes, Nikkel is certainly in the shadow of the woman known around the country as a huge embarrassment to the state of Colorado. This is a legitimate concern for voters!

            The 49th is not so unfriendly to Democrats as you would like to think.  Both Obama and Markey won the district’s votes to win their elections!  

            The illegal immigration problem is fairly simple to fix.  All it requires is that the hiring of illegal immigrants be made a crime, punishable by monetary fines and jail time FOR THE EMPLOYERS,  NOT THE EMPLOYEE.  Think wealthy corporations are going to go for that?  Heaven forbid that we actually ever do anything to turn away cheap labor in this country, illegal or otherwise!

            The current funding for our schools is pitiful when you consider how far behind other states we are.  Republicans don’t want to fund education–they don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes–we need Karen Stockley to help assure that our educational systems provide more than mere perfunctory levels of skills to our kids.  We need to insure all k-12 schools are funded without the Republicans stealing from those funds to provide tax cuts to oil and gas developers.  And Universities, too.

            Redistribution of wealth already occurs in this country, but not in the way you think.  You think of taxes as unfair.  But you drive on roads, you have access to ambulance service, to schools, to libraries, to police protection, fire department, building inspectors, etc.  What is happening now is the the poor and working classes are being forced to pay for the tax cuts of the extremely wealthy. The rich  literally make their money on the backs of the working poor in this country.  This needs to be turned around.

            Only a society whose sense of morals are deeply distorted would allocate health care on the basis of how much money the ill person has. There is no moral reason why someone born into poverty should have less opportunity to have their basic health care needs met than someone born into wealth.  Deficiencies in health and human services are directly the result of representatives like Nikkel who vote not to support funding for human services and then try to claim “credit” for exposing those deficiencies..  Karen Stockley will work tirelessly to change that.

            The Colorado Taxpayers Transparency Act is hardly the great transforming affirmation you make believe it is.  It is a redundancy, plain and simple, a mandate from all you righties who decry mandates of any kind.  It is simply more bureaucracy churlishly labeled as a “victory for taxpayers.”    It creates ambiguity on issues of privacy, reliability, and creates a watershed of probability that it will be used for political purposes.  The law Nikkel really needed to pass was a measure to kill Tabor, and restore taxpayers monies to fully fund the institutions for which our kids’ futures depend.  This means allocating all collected taxes to public projects requiring them, creating a savings account for future needs.  

            Karen Stockley has so many good ideas!  She has the strength of character and  personal grit to bring about real change on issues of education, health care, and the environment.  She is very knowledgeable about the issues and will hear her constituents out.  But she will always do the right thing, not simply peform “band-aid tricks” like Nikkel, Ms. Transparency Act.

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