Call For CU Student Body Participation in Presidential Debate

As preparations for the Republican presidential primary debate to be held in late October on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus get underway, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on debate organizers to ensure at least 50% of the tickets to the debate are made available to CU students.

“The Republican presidential debate at CU Boulder is a chance to hear first-hand the positions of over a dozen presidential candidates,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “It’s a great opportunity that CU students have come to expect from their world-class educational institution–and it’s critical that students be given the chance to attend.”

The Boulder Daily Camera reported Friday that preparations for the October 28th Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado are underway, but no decisions regarding the distribution of tickets have yet been made. The Coors Event Center on the CU Boulder campus has a seating capacity of over 11,000 attendees.

“The Republican Party is partnering with the University of Colorado to host this debate, and enlisting the credibility of Colorado’s flagship educational institution to elevate the GOP and the participating candidates,” said Runyon-Harms. “The audience for the debate therefore must be representative of the students of the University of Colorado.”

“Colorado progressives support the University of Colorado’s choice to host this important debate,” said Runyon-Harms. “We’re asking debate organizers to guarantee today that at least 50% of the tickets to the October GOP presidential debate will be made available to CU students.”

Jeb Bush in Denver next Tuesday: your help needed

We’ve just received details on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s town hall meeting in Denver next Tuesday to discuss veterans issues. This meeting is open to the public, and we need as many progressives as possible to attend and ask the hard questions Bush needs to answer:

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs is swamped with injured veterans of wars started by Jeb’s brother, former President George W. Bush. Will Jeb Bush continue to involve the United States in reckless wars, and if so, how will he take responsibility for the thousands of new injured veterans who will need care?

What about fellow Republican Mike Coffman’s failure to oversee the Aurora VA hospital project as chairman of the VA’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee?

Massive cost overruns for military weapons programs barely make the news these days, while a VA hospital running over budget is a nationwide headline. As President, would Jeb Bush continue to sink billions of dollars into unnecessary and expensive weapons, or will he direct that money to ensure veterans have the care they need?

Those are just a few questions we would like Jeb Bush to answer, and we know you’ve got your own as well. If you can make it, click here to get a ticket for Jeb Bush’s town hall in Denver next Tuesday morning.

Englewood Town Hall with Governor Jeb Bush
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 8:30 AM (MDT)
VFW Post 9644
2680 W Hampden Ave
Englewood, CO 80113

Thanks very much for your help holding Bush accountable. We hope to see you there! Let us know if you have questions.

To Ben Carson, GOP: Stop Animas River Political Circus Now

(Perhaps he brought a shovel? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Sizable crowd for Ben Carson in Durango, as photographed just after 2PM today:

carsondurango

The factual basis may be lacking (see below), but you can’t deny it: Carson is grandstanding while the grandstanding is good. Will other Republicans don their Animas River hip waders, metaphorical and/or literal? We’ll be watching to see.

—–

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

As the grandstand against the Environmental Protection Agency over an accidental spill of contaminated mine wastewater into the Animas River nearly two weeks ago continued Tuesday with a visit to Durango by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on right-wing politicians to stop misusing this disaster to further their own political agendas.

“Ben Carson is just the latest and most obvious example of the right wing shamelessly politicizing the Animas River mine water spill,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Carson’s campaign trip to Durango is a distraction that the people working to clean up the Animas River spill, and to prevent future mine waste disasters, do not need. Carson is in Durango to grandstand and misrepresent the EPA’s work cleaning up not just Silverton’s polluting mines, but environmental disasters across the nation caused by irresponsible private industry.”

“When Congressman Scott Tipton was asked if he thought the investigation into the Gold King Mine spill was going to be an ‘exercise in congressional theatre and extended EPA-bashing,’ he said he didn’t think so,” said Ellen Stein of Durango. “Today’s visit to Durango by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson proves Tipton wrong. Carson has nothing to contribute to cleaning up the Animas River.”

“Since the mine water spill almost two weeks ago,” said Stein, “we’ve seen a steady stream of Republican politicians trying to use this event to score political points in their longstanding fight against the federal government on unrelated issues. Mr. Carson is no different. The EPA is taking responsibility for this spill, and the responsible parties will be held accountable. Here in Durango, we know the real problem is the privately-owned mines draining polluted water into our river. That’s the problem the EPA is working to solve and tens of thousands of people along the Animas River, and more further downstream, are counting on them. We need partners and problem solving, not litigation and grandstanding!”

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened, but we can’t allow the vital work the EPA is doing to protect us from Colorado’s legacy of mine pollution to be disrupted by politics,” said Runyon-Harms. “Yesterday, the EPA’s Inspector General announced an investigation into the cause of the Gold King Mine spill. Instead of playing politics and misusing this disaster to undermine the EPA on issues that have nothing to do with cleaning up polluted mines, we call on politicians visiting Durango to support the EPA’s vital work to protect everyone who depends on the Animas River.”

Animas River disaster: what you need to know

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: AP reports on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s visit to Durango today:

Colorado’s governor thinks a mine spill accidentally triggered by an EPA crew will move the state and federal government to more aggressively tackle the “legacy of pollution” left by mining in the West.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said Tuesday that much of the wastewater has been plugged up, but the state and the Environmental Protection Agency need to speed up work to identify the most dangerous areas and clean them up.

The former geologist says that if there’s a “silver lining” to the disaster, it will be a new relationship between the state and the EPA to solve the problem.

During a visit to the Animas River in Durango, downstream from the spill, Hickenlooper said tremendous progress has already been made. He hopes the river will be open for recreation in the next few days.

—–

Last week, a crew working for the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce pollution from abandoned mines near Silverton accidentally released a torrent of mine wastewater into a tributary of the Animas River. This polluted water flowed through the city of Durango, turning the Animas bright yellow and forcing water users along the river to shut off irrigation and drinking water. Rafting and other tourism-related businesses in the area have been devastated by the sudden loss of income at the height of the tourist season.

It’s a very difficult situation, and unfortunately, some are trying to make it even worse by playing politics and misleading the public about the true cause of the disaster. Here are a few important points to help understand what happened and what it means for the future in southwest Colorado. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

Q. Did the EPA “cause” the Animas River mine water spill?

Yes and no. Abandoned hard-rock mines in the mountains above Silverton have been a source of water pollution for many years. The EPA was investigating ongoing water pollution from these mines. A large quantity of wastewater had built up behind loose debris and rushed out suddenly after the entrance to the mine was cleared. In short, the EPA did cause the spill, but not the pollution itself. The EPA was working to clean up the pollution.

Q. If these mines have been polluting for decades, why isn’t the cleanup operation a Superfund site?

Unfortunately, the designation of abandoned mines near Silverton as an EPA Superfund cleanup site, which would allow far more resources to be deployed to clean up mine water pollution, has been opposed by the local government of San Juan County and mining interests. Some say the designation would hurt tourism revenue, but more importantly, mining interests fear restrictions on future operations if the Superfund were used to clean up existing pollution. Mining companies have consistently failed to take responsibility for the longstanding pollution problems near Silverton and thousands of other mine sites across Colorado and the West.

Q. What happens next?

As water conditions in the Animas River slowly return to their pre-spill state, the state and federal governments are working together to assess the extent of the damage and restore the river to health and economic prosperity. It’s critical that local businesses and water users get help and compensation to minimize their losses. But above all, it’s time for mining interests and local politicians who support them to get out of the way of properly cleaning up Silverton’s polluted abandoned mines. Without the full resources of the federal government to treat mine wastewater and prevent catastrophic build-ups, downstream communities along the Animas will continue to be threatened by disaster.

Please take a moment to share this important information with your friends and neighbors–especially in the areas affected by the spill. Traditional opponents of the EPA like oil and coal companies are misusing this incident to unfairly attack good people who are working to leave our state better than they found it. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to clean up the mess caused by the mining industry in the past. And when the news cameras are gone and the politicians are done talking, the EPA will still have an important job to do in southwest Colorado.

Thanks very much for helping us set the record straight.

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt has got to go

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s most infamous far-right Republican legislator, Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, is at it again.

In a new video posted by Rep. Klingenschmitt this past week, Klingenschmitt claims that allowing gay scoutmasters to serve in the Boy Scouts of America “will lead to sexual abuse” and goes on to quote a Bible verse that says for those who cause “little ones to sin,” “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Klingenschmitt then says it would be “better” for “child molesters” like the scoutmasters he previously described to be drowned.

Understand this: a sitting member of the Colorado legislature has called for gay scoutmasters to be killed. Sign our petition demanding that Rep. Klingenschmitt resign from the Colorado legislature immediately.

After Rep. Klingenschmitt claimed that a member of Congress from our state wants to “behead Christians,” and that the tragic attack on a pregnant woman in Longmont last March was “the curse of God,” we called for him to resign. Instead, House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso restored Klingenschmitt to his committee assignments as soon as the media stopped paying attention, and swept the matter under the rug. That was a huge mistake, and today Republicans are paying the price as Klingenschmitt once again brings shame upon the entire state of Colorado.

(more…)

Mike Coffman: weaker than ever

Our action alert sent to ProgressNow Colorado members in Mike Coffman’s district this morning.

Last month, Mike Coffman decided not to run for the U.S. Senate and instead will try to hold on to his seat in Congress representing Aurora. The reason is simple: Coffman is out of touch with the people of Colorado, and he’d lose the race.

In 2016, the voters of the Sixth District–that’s you–will have the chance to stop Mike Coffman once and for all. Click here to tell us you’re ready for change.

Mike Coffman is afraid of you. He has tried to reinvent his political image in recent years, but he’s the same politician who in 2012 told fellow Republicans at a fundraiser that President Barack Obama ‘is just not an American.’ He’s the same politician who claimed the DREAM Act ‘would be a nightmare.’ And he’s the same politician who called Social Security a ‘Ponzi scheme.’ Coffman is hiding from his record and hoping you won’t ever hear the truth.

Pledge to help us stop Mike Coffman in 2016. We’ll be in touch over the coming weeks with lots of ways you can help.

As a resident of Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, you will have the privilege of helping decide one of the most important and competitive congressional races in the entire nation. Mike Coffman is running scared from his long extremist record and is trying to change his public image into a “moderate” who supports the middle class, women, and the diverse population of his district. The only thing stopping him is you. Because you know better, and know the truth about Coffman’s record, you have the power to stop him in 2016.

Take the first step right now: pledge to fight back against Mike Coffman in 2016.

In the last month, the “Coffman brand” has taken a yet another serious hit as a scandal involving Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Mike Coffman’s spouse, has rocked the Colorado Republican Party. Just before that scandal, Mike Coffman faced criticism over his irresponsible comparison of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the terrorist group ISIS. For years, Coffman has skated by on an agenda of confusing voters about his real agenda and making worthless promises that neither he nor his fellow Republicans in Congress intended to keep.

If there’s any justice at all, 2016 will be the year Mike Coffman’s luck finally runs out. Thanks for doing your part to demand better from our elected officials.

Call For Criminal Investigation of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

(Making it formal – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus updates the story, with Tom Tancredo admitting that the name of Steve House’s alleged mistress was indeed brought up during their confrontation–a key confirmation:

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo said Thursday that the name of the woman who Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House allegedly had an affair with came up in a meeting last week in which several fellow Republicans expressed concerns with House’s leadership.

Tancredo’s comments to The Durango Herald come as a left-leaning group, ProgressNow Colorado, called on Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to investigate Tancredo, along with Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and a well-known Pueblo Republican, for extortion related to the meeting. The DA’s office Thursday afternoon declined to take the case…

The Herald asked: “Why would her name have come up?”

Tancredo responded: “There was essentially concern, I’m sure that that was a problem.”

The Herald then asked, “What would that problem be?”

Tancredo said: “What do you think? He immediately walked out and called her.”

The Herald also asked: “Is it fair to say that her name was brought up because you were trying to let him know this is something you guys know about, and that it could come back potentially to haunt him?” [Pols emphasis]

Tancredo answered, “Yea, I think that’s probably the correct context.”

Whatever the Denver DA thinks of the request you read below, these are some potentially damning admissions.

—–

Attorney General Cynthia CoffmanAs questions continued to grow about the involvement of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in an alleged attempt to blackmail Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House into resigning from his position, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, submitted a formal request to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to open a criminal investigation into the incident.

“For ten days now, we’ve been trying to get answers from Colorado’s chief law enforcement officer about her role in trying to push Steve House out of his job as Republican Party Chairman,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Yesterday, we asked Attorney General Cynthia Coffman if she discussed the possibility of legal proceedings or action against Steve House in any way to persuade him to resign. Coffman’s own statements in press interviews this week appear to admit her reasons for being involved in this scheme against House, as well as admitting that allegations of an extramarital affair ‘came up’ in an attempt to convince House to resign.”

In a letter to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, ProgressNow Colorado asserts that “Mr. House’s allegations appear to support a finding that General Coffman, Mr.Tancredo and Ms. Mizel committed criminal extortion. C.R.S. § 18-3-207…[y]our office is reported to have stated that it has not been contacted regarding any potential crime described in Mr. House’s statement. Please consider this a formal request to begin an investigation into whether an extortion attempt occurred in your jurisdiction.”

Read ProgressNow Colorado’s letter to DA Morrissey here.

“Again, if Coffman was in any way involved in criminal activity, even to sanction it with her presence, she has violated the trust of Colorado voters and cannot remain in office,” said Runyon-Harms. “Colorado law is clear that any person who makes a ‘substantial threat’ to damage the reputation of another person in order to coerce them into a decision is committing a felony crime. As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Cynthia Coffman must be held accountable for her actions in this case. Even the appearance of such unseemly behavior on the part of the Colorado Attorney General renders her unfit to serve.”

“For the sake of the rule of law, and confidence in our law enforcement, we have to get to the bottom of this,” said Runyon-Harms.

Demand For Preservation of “Coffmangate” Records

(Drip, drip, drip – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

pipercoffmanToday, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, filed a Colorado Open Records Act request for all correspondence between Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and specific individuals named in a growing blackmail scandal involving Coffman and Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House. As the likelihood of an outside investigation grows, ProgressNow Colorado further calls on the Attorney General’s office and other parties to preserve all records that could be pertinent to the case.

“Coffmangate is the biggest political scandal to hit Colorado in years,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Allegations of criminal blackmail and libel involving the Colorado Attorney General personally, as well as high-ranking Republican officials from across the state, are much too serious to sweep under the rug. It’s absolutely vital that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Tom Tancredo, and others involved in this incident fully cooperate with investigators and come clean with the public about their role in the attempted ‘shakedown’ of the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.”

Read ProgressNow Colorado’s Open Records Act request here. This morning, the Office of the Attorney General acknowledged receipt of this request.

“Given the seriousness of the criminal acts alleged to have occurred, we are very concerned about the possibility that incriminating records may be destroyed,” said Runyon-Harms. “We demand that any information about the events of the past week be preserved in their entirety for investigators and the public to review. The people of Colorado must know if their chief law enforcement officer was a party to criminal extortion and other crimes in attempt to remove Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House from office.”

“The possibility of our state’s chief law enforcement officer being involved with a felony crime she should be prosecuting is, needless to say, totally unacceptable,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for accountability and for the truth to come out.”

Call For Brauchler To Apologize For Endangering Aurora Shooting Trial

Following the dismissal of three jurors from the trial of the alleged shooter from the 2012 mass murder at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded an apology from Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler for putting justice for the victims of the Aurora shooting in jeopardy to boost his political standing.

“The eyes of the entire nation are on Aurora as the trial of the alleged killer proceeds,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “District Attorney George Brauchler’s political ambitions are well known, and he never misses an opportunity to promote himself. Unfortunately, Brauchler’s irresponsible tweets from the courtroom have now resulted in the dismissal of jurors who were tainted by his actions.”

Yesterday, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour dismissed three jurors from the Aurora shooting trial “over concerns they had been tainted by a prosecutor’s Tweet last week.” [1] DA George Brauchler was admonished by the judge last week after his social media posting about the trial was publicized, telling DA Brauchler, “If you’re bored, and don’t want to pay attention to the proceedings, then you’re welcome to leave.” [2]

“George Brauchler has a growing reputation for letting his political ambitions get in the way of good judgment,” said Runyon-Harms. “The victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting deserve justice, not a circus of gaffes by a politician prosecutor that could endanger the outcome of this trial. It’s time for Brauchler to apologize for his irresponsible actions, and stop putting justice for the victims of this terrible act of violence at risk for political gain.”

Progressives, Consumer Advocates Call For Veto of Interest Rate Hike Legislation

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, joined today with Colorado Senators Lucia Guzman and Jessie Ulibarri, along with the Bell Policy Center, the Colorado Center for Law and Policy, and other concerned stakeholders to deliver a petition to Gov. John Hickenlooper requesting a veto of House Bill 15-1390–legislation that passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session to allow lenders to dramatically increase interest rates on specific kinds of personal loans.

“Today, we’re here to deliver the signatures of hundreds of Coloradans to Gov. Hickenlooper, asking for a veto of House Bill 1390,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Lobbyists for the subprime lending industry sneaked in this last-minute bill to allow huge interest rate increases on specific kinds of personal loans used by working families in Colorado and others trying to re-establish their credit. The Colorado Attorney General’s office estimates that this legislation could mean increases of almost 40% to the total cost of a supervised personal loan.”

“Passing bills that could cost thousands of Coloradans millions of dollars at the last minute with no debate is just plain wrong,” said Runyon-Harms at today’s press conference. “There was no opportunity to properly debate this legislation–and that was by design. This bill to allow lenders to hike interest rates on personal loans was passed by both chambers in less than a week. Lobbyists for large financial corporations like Citigroup pushed this legislation for the sole purpose of enriching their clients–at the expense of Colorado’s hard working families who need access to credit.”

“We believe that once Gov. Hickenlooper has a chance to examine the issue in its entirety, a veto of this legislation will be an easy call,” said Runyon-Harms. “We support access to credit, and we want financial services in Colorado to be profitable. If the laws need changing, let’s have an honest debate–not a last-minute swindle that denies citizens a voice in this important decision.”

Veto the “loan shark giveaway,” Gov. Hickenlooper

In the final hours of the legislative session last week, something bad happened.

Lobbyists for the subprime lending industry sneaked in a last-minute bill to allow huge interest rate increases on certain personal loans. The Colorado Attorney General’s office estimates that this legislation could mean increases of almost 40% to the total cost of a personal loan.

Send a message to Gov. Hickenlooper right now requesting a VETO of House Bill 15-1390.

There was no opportunity to properly debate this legislation–and that was by design. This bill to allow lenders to hike interest rates on personal loans was passed by both chambers in less than a week with almost no debate. Some lawmakers have already expressed regret over their rushed vote for this legislation. Passing bills that could cost thousands of Coloradans millions of dollars at the last minute with no debate is just plain wrong.

Tell Gov. Hickenlooper to VETO House Bill 15-1390, the “loan shark giveaway” bill. Your message will be delivered instantly to the Governor’s office.

Thanks for your timely assistance stopping this bad anti-consumer legislation. This time, the money saved could be your own.

Mike Coffman and the Aurora VA Hospital: Coffman’s Part of the Problem

(Right back at ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Rep. Mike Coffman appeared in Aurora today to grandstand at a U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing about the troubled VA Hospital project in Aurora, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a new report documenting Coffman’s own oversight responsibility over the project, and failure to take action for years despite knowing that massive cost overruns were occurring.

“We all know the situation with the VA hospital in Aurora,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms, “a project that will drag on for years beyond its target completion date and is currently estimated to be a billion dollars over budget. But there are some key facts in this situation that have been conveniently overlooked.”

“Representative Mike Coffman, who represents district where the hospital is being built, has recently become very outspoken about this issue,” said Runyon-Harms. “Coffman can be outraged. He can be frustrated. But he cannot be shocked or surprised when as Chair of the Oversight Committee, he had known this information for years–and until recently has done almost nothing to fix the problem.”

In a report summarizing Rep. Coffman’s statements and actions in response to the Aurora VA Hospital’s cost overruns, ProgressNow Colorado finds that Coffman knew that the price of the new hospital would exceed a billion dollars, hundreds of millions over its original budget, since at least 2013. Coffman participated in the drafting of legislation to address problems identified in early 2013 by the General Accounting Office, but admitted delaying the bill for 16 more months.

Read the report in full here.

“As chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Oversight Committee, it has always been Coffman’s responsibility to do something about the problems at the Aurora VA Hospital project,” said Runyon-Harms. “But up until this point, all we’ve gotten is finger pointing, grandstanding, and even attempting to fundraise off of this catastrophe for his re-election. There is plenty of blame to go around for this budget-busting debacle, but Mike Coffman has spent over 5 years on the Armed Services Committee, and over 2 years as the Chair of the VA Oversight Subcommittee. So instead of political grandstands, we call on Coffman to take some responsibility for this problem, and offer real solutions instead of slogans to get it fixed.”

“Coffman is fond of the words ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way,'” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for Coffman to take his own advice.”

Call For Politicians To Boycott Western Conservative Summit

As controversy erupted over the decision by organizers of the Western Conservative Summit to exclude the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans from this year’s conference, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on prospective attendees to cancel their plans to attend.

“At a time in our history when discrimination against gays and lesbians is finally being repudiated, the decision by the Western Conservative Summit to exclude the Log Cabin Republicans is simply unacceptable,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Even many Republicans are shocked by this decision and dismayed by what it means for the party’s future viability. When will the right wing finally understand that bigotry no longer has any place in American society?”

A press release from the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans Wednesday announced that the organizer of the Western Conservative Summit, former Colorado Sen. John Andrews, had “disinvited” the Log Cabin Republicans. Questioned by reporters about this decision, Andrews claimed that the Log Cabin Republicans “exists to redefine the family” and “advocate contrary to our agenda and our core beliefs.” [1]

“If Republican presidential candidates want to be identified as supporters of discrimination just as the 2016 elections are getting underway, the Western Conservative Summit is the perfect venue,” said Runyon-Harms. “If Republicans truly want to succeed in 2016, it’s time to set aside the religious right’s agenda of intolerance and show the voters they can stand up to the bigots in their party. The best way to do that today is to boycott the Western Conservative Summit, where organizers have made it clear they are not ready to give up their prejudice.”

“Colorado Republicans from Congressman Mike Coffman to Colorado Sen. Laura Woods have all claimed they oppose discrimination against anyone,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for them to walk their talk by boycotting the Western Conservative Summit. Unless the Western Conservative Summit reverses course and allows the Log Cabin Republicans to participate, anyone who attends is legitimizing intolerance–and will pay the price in the next election.”

###

Equal Pay Day 2015 In Colorado: We Are The Front Line

As women across America participated in Equal Pay Day 2015 commemorations, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, reflected on the challenges faced by Colorado women even as conservative lawmakers voted to kill our state’s Pay Equity Commission this year.

“The data is clear: in Colorado, women face greater pay inequity than the national average,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “In the last decade, America overall has made some progress close the pay equity gap, but in Colorado the gap has actually grown over the same period.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in late January that women in Colorado earn a median weekly full-time wage of $762, compared to a median weekly wage of $978 for men. Since 2002, the pay equity gap has worsened in Colorado while improving slightly nationwide. [1]

“The choice by conservative lawmakers to kill Colorado’s Pay Equity Commission makes no sense in light of the facts,” said Runyon-Harms. “Closing the pay gap between men and women would mean huge benefits for working families and Colorado’s economy as a whole. Instead of ignoring this problem, Colorado should be leading the charge to solve it. That’s why so many people, including hundreds who signed our petition in support of pay equity, were outraged by the votes this year to kill the Pay Equity Commission. And it’s why voters will hold conservatives accountable at the polls in 2016.”