(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Stealing a page from Congressman Ed Perlmutter's constituent services playbook, Congressman Mike Coffman faced Aurorans one-on-one in the public library a few blocks from his home this morning. About seventy-five constituents stood in line to speak with him, and each was given about five minutes alone, or with a small group. Outside, an organizer from Colorado Fair Share signed up voters on a petition for universal pre-school. While his constituents waited, we discussed questions we wanted to ask him, like the ones listed at bottom, speaking loudly enough that his Secret Service detail paced around us. At one point, I scrapped my questions and nervously told him what was really on my mind. After awhile, Congressman Coffman appeared angry and stood up, and his aides (henchman?) escorted me out of the room. It would have been much more fun to dress up in green and wave to voters with Congresswoman Diana DeGette, but someone had to do it.
Some of the questions we had for Congressman Coffman this morning:
"When you were Secretary of State in 2008, you were ordered by a federal judge to stop purging recent voter registrants, following massive voter registration by Democratic-leaning groups, particularly in Aurora. Do you believe Aurora voters will remember this story when they vote in November?"
"A member of the Board of the Human Rights Campaign once said that he could meet with any Congressman, regardless of whether or not they supported marriage equality, except for one – Mike Coffman. Since marriage equality is now overwhelmingly supported by Americans, have you started allowing gay representatives into your office?"
"You supported your friend Tom Tancredo in his past races. Are you supporting him for Governor?"
"You recently started meeting with many leaders in the Asian Community for the first time. Does this foreshadow support for increased outsourcing to China, or is this just to get minority votes in Aurora?"
"The majority of Americans favor common sense background checks for guns. Given that Aurora is within 20 miles of famous school shootings and the shooting at the Century Theatre, will you finally stand up to the NRA gun lobby to protect your citizens by getting guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues and previous felonies, including domestic violence abusers?"
"What do you plan on doing to address the growing income equality between the rich and the poor in this country?"
"One quarter of all children in the United States now live in poverty – the wealthiest country in the world — and many of them have parents who work in low-paying jobs. Will you support raising the minimum wage?"
"Jessica’s Law offers penalties that are not as punitive as the laws we already have on the books in Colorado, and actually makes things worse for at-risk children, according to many national children’s advocacy groups across the country. When your former opponent Joe Miklosi voted against it, you refused to denounce a third-party ad equating him with pedophiles. In a debate, your furthered that narrative. Do you have any guilt for slandering the reputation of an upstanding citizen?"
"In 2009, more than one thousand health care reform advocates gathered outside your office building to demand Obamacare. Without batting an eye lash, your staffer lied and told the press they were mostly against Obamacare. Does he still work for you?"
"This towne hall is one of the very rare public appearances you have made in Aurora. People who have lived near you all their lives say they never see you in public. How much time did you actually spend in Aurora before you started campaigning this cycle?"
"Your Highlands Ranch office was on private property so you could turn away constituents easily. Will that continue to be your policy if you are re-elected?"
"You take huge donations from Big Oil. What do you think you owe them in terms of votes?"