Sad Rural Republicans Suspend Sad Plan to Change Legislature

State of Northern Colorado

It’s not over yet, non-rural people.

The Grand Junction Sentinel follows up on a press release sent over the weekend announcing that the "Restoring Colorado" (Secession 2.0) movement was being suspended on account of nobody cares.

Ballot Initiative #111 sought to re-allocate seats for the State House on the basis of land size — rather than the far-more appropriate method of population size — but organizers of "Restoring Colorado" announced in an email on Saturday that they were "suspending" the campaign. From "Restoring Colorado":

It is with a sad heart that we ask you to suspend your efforts to get Ballot Initiative #111 on the November 2014 ballot to redesign the Colorado House of Representatives.  Even taking into account our Fourth of July push, we simply do not have enough petitions out in the hands of volunteers to make the goal of 86,105 signatures in the next 26 days.

We had hoped, in late June, that parties might step up to fund paid circulators to get us over the top, but that did not materialize.  It will take time to build that financial foundation.

Since state statutes allow only tax issues on the ballot in 2015, our plan is to use the next eighteen months to build a stronger network across the entire state.  We welcome—and need—your help in that.  In January of 2016, we plan to go through the initiative process at the state level to begin the petition drive again, with much more time and a wider support base.  Our new goal is to have this issue on the November 2016 ballot. 

"Restoring Colorado" plans to return in 2016 with a similar ballot measure, though by then enough time will have passed since the 2013 Secession debacle that potential supporters may be inclined to just move along to something else. But that doesn't mean that this issue won't still have ramifications in 2014. Remember, Rep. Cory Gardner — the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate (in Colorado) — is one of the few Northern Colorado politicians who has somehow managed to avoid taking a position on the idea of seceding from Colorado. The Editorial Board of the Denver Post called out Gardner last November for repeatedly ducking the issue. As the Post wrote on Nov. 1:

"When asked about the 51st state initiative previously, Congressman Gardner has said that he loves Colorado," [Gardner spokesman Alex] Siciliano added.

OK, but does he love Colorado enough to stay a part of it?

By choosing to "suspend" its campaign rather than just give it up altogether, "Restoring Colorado" is leaving this big 'ol matza ball hanging in the air for Gardner. The discontent among rural Republicans with their "big city" neighbors continues to fester, with State Sen. Ellen Roberts recently bemoaning the plight of rural Coloradans. And in an interview on KOA's Mike Rosen Show in late June. "Restoring Colorado" organizer Randy Schafer (who is also a Phillips County administrator), really upped the rhetoric:

"Rural people are the new disenfranchised minority."

          — Randy Schafer, on the Mike Rosen Show in June 2014.

Last November's vote on secession failed miserably, and ever since, the 51st State movement has become increasingly absurd. But they haven't yet become irrelevant — not when the Republican candidate for Senate is still silent on whether or not he would prefer to serve as Colorado's Senator or as the first Senator of a new Northern Colorado state. It's worth noting, after all, that the man who will succeed Gardner in Congress — Ken Buck was openly opposed to the idea of secession even before ballots were cast last fall.

Complete email announcement from "Restoring Colorado" follows after the jump.

 

Restoring Colorado

Suspending Campaign and Thank You!

July 5, 2014
 
To all of the great volunteers fighting for fair representation for ALL Coloradans:
 
It is with a sad heart that we ask you to suspend your efforts to get Ballot Initiative #111 on the November 2014 ballot to redesign the Colorado House of Representatives.  Even taking into account our Fourth of July push, we simply do not have enough petitions out in the hands of volunteers to make the goal of 86,105 signatures in the next 26 days.
 
We had hoped, in late June, that parties might step up to fund paid circulators to get us over the top, but that did not materialize.  It will take time to build that financial foundation.
 
Since state statutes allow only tax issues on the ballot in 2015, our plan is to use the next eighteen months to build a stronger network across the entire state.  We welcome—and need—your help in that.  In January of 2016, we plan to go through the initiative process at the state level to begin the petition drive again, with much more time and a wider support base.  Our new goal is to have this issue on the November 2016 ballot. 
 
We have heard so many say that this proposed change is needed.  We passionately want and need a stronger voice in how we are governed in Colorado.
 
Please send in any petitions with signatures minus notarization and toss empty ones.  We hope to include signers as we widen the educated base you have begun for this initiative.  We will give you a final recap once petitions are back in.  We think we will all be encouraged to see how far we came in the short time available.  Jeff Hare has been an integral part of this initiative push and will continue our Web site, restoringcolorado.org, as we work together in Restoring Colorado, as our name and our plan says.
 
We offer you our sincere thanks.  You have worked long and hard, and we appreciate your drive and your spirit.  Please let us know at rjschafer at haxtuntel.net that you have received this so we can be sure we’ve contacted all volunteer circulators.
 
May God bless you all.
 
The proponents of changing how we elect our House of Representatives,
 
Joe Kinnie and Randy Schafer

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Their flag says it all…………….

    • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

      Agreed- except for the Two Republicans the nodding donkey and the pitcfork which most Northern Coloradans would not know how to use it does resemble the flag of Mozambique.

  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    One peculiar institution is enough. Dirt should never be equal with people.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    "rural people are the new dis-enfranchised minority……."  Baloney, they're actually living on the gravy train, courtesy of Front Range taxpayers, whether liberal, moderate, or conservative. My tax dollars are going out to subsidize road & bridge departments, K-12 education, social services in rural Colorado. If the secession movement was to return and be successful, I'd also expect immediate reimbursement of all the Front Range tax dollars that have gone to Univ. of Northern Colorado, Sterling Community College, and other higher-ed institutions.

    Regards,  C.H.B.

     

    • BlueCat says:

      Guess they'd have to radically raise taxes or throw themselves on the mercy of the big bad federal government as some third world basket case within the USA, a political entity they claim to love to patriotic pieces (proud to be an American, tra la la and all that stuff)) but also hate with a passion as in their hatred of the federal government which is the USA. Without it we're just separate states and the one they propose would be a poverty stricken disaster. Let them all migrate to Texas, let Texas secede from the Union and good riddance. And they can take Oklahoma with them. Maybe we could get the Spurs.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        They are treading in to some very precarious waters by keeping this narrative alive. (I can't wait to watch Gardner dance around this one).  From a federal treasury perspective, Colorado is a 'Blue State", which means it gives more to Washington than it gets back.  That is true for almost every Democrat-leaning state in the US.  The fact is, we're subsidizing the Reds.

        In Colorado terms that means that every federal dollar received in the hinterlands from the agricultural subsidy programs is generated by the mostly-Front Range Colroado taxpayers.  The very people they're attempting to divorce.  This narrative will only get worse and worse as time goes on.  Don't get me wrong – this was (and should continue to be) the "social contract".  US citizens funded the rural electric infrastructure; you continue to subsidize our farms, our roads and our small attendance centers of public educaiton.  We grow food; 40% of our military are young men and women from rural communities, although they compromise only 17% of the national population.

        Until we're willing to embrace the fact that we're interdependent in this economy – and stop with these uselss soundbites like "don't complain about a farmer with a full mouth"…. this freak show will continue to have smaller and smaller amounts of available oxygen.  And then, spontaneously combust.  And then we can start with the adult discussions.

        • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

          It's been true since the '40s that a large fracton of young military enlistees are from rural areas. There's not much non-agricultural work to be had where they are and mlitary service is their ticket out.

  4. Old Time Dem says:

    This form of districting was declared unconstitutional in Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964).

    • gaf says:

      They are counting on the fact we have a different Supreme Court from 1962 and 1964–the majority of which, they know, has no respect for judicial precedent that conflicts with their ideology.

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    I spent last evening with a small group of conservatives from a small town in the Dump huckistan region.  We had a frank talk about this movement and the opportunities they have before them if they'd pull off their ideological blinders.  They intuitively know they're being lied to.  I was encouraged.  In regards to the first secession movement, and the now-failed Initiative 111, it's nothing but 'arithmetic' – something the leaders of this theoretical movement apparently failed at repeatedly while students. 

    C.H.B – you're points are salient, and this narrative is an embarassment to those of us from the region that have more than two active firing neurons in our brain matter…and can perform simple equations.  We do love us some victim status out east. Unfortunately, I don't see the next crop of non-term limited representatives indicating their rhetoric is going to change while under the Dome next session.

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