Not a good start

The 2015 legislative session in Colorado got off to a slow start–but yesterday, the new right wing majority in the Colorado Senate showed everyone their true colors.

In just one day, conservatives in the Colorado Senate did a shocking amount of damage. The state's Pay Equity Commission, which was working to outline best practices to make sure women and men receive equal pay for equal work, was effectively killed in a senate committee. Conservatives also killed a study looking into election modernization systems, another step in their long campaign to make it harder to vote. Another common-sense bill to make sure Colorado's civil unions law works was killed by anti-LGBT Senate Republicans.

Neglecting basic responsibilities and pandering to the far right is not what Senate President Bill Cadman promised he would do. Sign our petition now demanding the Colorado Senate majority stop killing legislation vital to Colorado's economy, voting rights, and basic fairness.

It could get worse. Dozens of great bills are set to be debated in the Colorado Senate in the next few months: relief for credit card holders, student borrowers, families who need child care, and many more. These bills deserve a fair hearing, not to be killed in committees stacked with conservatives before ever reaching the floor of the Senate.

Sign our petition now: tell Bill Cadman and the Colorado Senate Republicans to give every bill a fair hearing.

Three years ago, we watched as another slim Republican majority in the Colorado House broke the rules to kill the 2012 civil unions bill. It took another election, but they lost their majority and civil unions became the law of the land.

If that's what Bill Cadman wants for the Senate, so be it–but here is their chance to do the right thing. Tell Cadman now: give every bill a fair hearing in the Senate.

Thanks for standing up. If we work together instead of against each other, we can make the voters of Colorado proud. That's all I want this legislative session.

Sincerely,

Amy Runyon-Harms

Records Request Reveals Investigation of Pueblo GOP Chair For Election Document Theft

(Nothing up her sleeve! Not sneaky enough - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

WEDNESDAY POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post's editorial board weighs in:

Chostner's letter says the "evidence would support filing a misdemeanor election offense," but he declined to do so. Why? Undermining election security is a serious matter, and DAs need to impress that upon everyone.

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POLS UPDATE: The Pueblo Chieftain's Peter Roper reports:

Becky Mizel, chairman of the Pueblo County Republican Party, received a stern letter from District Attorney Jeff Chostner last month that said video evidence showed she took confidential election records from a Nov. 18 county election canvass board meeting — a misdemeanor charge that Chostner said would not be filed against her because Mizel argued it was inadvertent.

Chostner's letter, dated Dec. 10, acknowledged that Mizel insisted the episode was an accident, but the letter clearly challenged that, citing video records of the meeting…

Chostner's letter said Ortiz provided the canvass board with a "direct recording election" report and an abstract report of results to review. Ortiz advised those at the meeting that those reports could not leave the room.

Chostner's letter said video showed Mizel later putting the documents in her satchel, attempting to leave by a different door than the rest of the people at the meeting, only to find that door locked.

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ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, today called on Pueblo Republican Party Chair Becky Mizel to publicly apologize and explain her apparent theft of a confidential election document. ProgressNow Colorado obtained video and documents in an Open Records Act request regarding elections procedures and meetings in Pueblo County.

According to video [1] and documents obtained from the Pueblo District Attorney and Clerk & Recorders offices, available from ProgressNow Colorado upon request, Mizel only narrowly avoided criminal charges related to the disappearance of a document from an election certification meeting on November 18, 2014. The document contained confidential information from ballots cast in person on voting machines.

"The kind of shenanigans we're learning about in Pueblo are shameful and unacceptable," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "As an elected official representing the Republican Party, Mizel should be held to a higher standard. At the very least, Mizel is guilty of juvenile nonsense unworthy of any legitimate stakeholder in our elections. At worst? The Pueblo GOP is not above cheating to achieve their goals."

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What the Lame Duck Session Means to our Federal Courts

After the 2014 Midterm elections in early November, the Senate will return to work for what is commonly called a “lame duck” session. While a “lame duck” session sounds…well…lame, this winter, it must not be an excuse for inaction. Among other pieces of business, there are many judicial nominees that must get confirmed to fill vacancies on our nation’s federal courts and keep the wheels of justice moving. 

The Senate has a constitutional duty to advise and consent on the President’s nominees to serve as judges on our Nation’s federal courts. Going into the 2014 lame duck period, there are 64 current judicial vacancies and 34 nominees pending in the Senate. It is vital for the Senate to stay in session until every judicial nominee on the floor gets a yes-or-no vote. If these judges are not confirmed, our federal courts will not be able handle the issues – from marriage equality to voting rights to health care to immigration – that affect all of us.

Click here to tell our Colorado Senators to make judicial nominations a priority during the lame duck session.

Although Senators may want to get home for the holidays, Senators from both parties should stay in DC and put aside political differences to confirm needed judges. There is a historical precedent for this: In 2010 and 2012 lame duck sessions, a total of 32 judicial nominees were confirmed. Senators should apply a similar focus this session. In the 2002 lame duck session, Democrats controlled the Senate. In a spirit of bipartisanship, even though they were the opposition party, they nonetheless confirmed 20 of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Republicans today should put aside politics and get to work to get nominees waiting for a vote confirmed. 

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Equality at last: but don’t forget

What happened yesterday was a very big deal.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not hear the appeal of Utah's same-sex marriage ban. Because Colorado is part of the same group of states as Utah in the federal appeals court system, this means that Colorado's same-sex marriage law has also been struck down as unconstitutional.

After years of struggle for equality, committed same-sex couples in Colorado are finally seeing their fundamental rights acknowledged once and for all. Today is a day to celebrate.

But as we celebrate this historic victory for equality, not everyone is celebrating. Here in Colorado, politicians who have fought against marriage equality don't have much to say today. Bob Beauprez, who once claimed that "proponents of gay marriage want to tear apart the institution of traditional marriage itself," has yet to release a statement on yesterday's ruling. Cory Gardner even voted against allowing same-sex couples to have joint custody of children, which has been a settled matter in Colorado for years.

While we congratulate our LGBT friends, neighbors, and family members on their historic victory, it's important to remember that two politicians vying to represent Colorado are on the wrong side of history–and we won't forget.

Years from now, it will be considered bizarre that anyone would have opposed the right of all committed couples to marry. I'd like to believe that those who opposed marriage equality will apologize some day to the Americans whose rights they refused to acknowledge until the courts forced them. Until that happens, though, we have to hold them accountable.

Send a message right now to Bob Beauprez and Cory Gardner: they were wrong about marriage equality, and it's time to admit it. We'll share your names and comments with Beauprez, Gardner, the press, and other public officials.

And today, take a moment to reflect on how far we've come as a nation. Times like these make me so proud to be an American. The American Dream is big enough for every family, and that should give us all hope. Thanks for being on the side of equality when it mattered most.

Beauprez’s Shame

Just when you thought you knew everything about Bob Beauprez, it gets even worse.

During Beauprez's last run for governor, he proved himself to be hopelessly out of touch on issues that matter to women voters. Beauprez was even forced to apologize for claiming in a Colorado Public Radio interview that 70% of African American pregnancies end in abortion–a claim which is ridiculous, offensive, and bigoted in the extreme.

Another portion of this same interview was published this week. Here is what Beauprez says about abortion, even in cases of rape:

RYAN WARNER: A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn't be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BOB BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I'll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don't think it's the child's fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don't. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few…

Tell Beauprez right now: this is totally unacceptable.

Not since Todd Akin said that rape victims "have ways" of preventing pregnancy have I heard such a sickeningly offensive comment from a politician. This morning, I hosted a press call with Dr. Rebecca Cohen, an OB/GYN doctor and Family Planning Fellow, as well as a brave survivor of sexual assault to respond to Beauprez's horrifying remarks. You can listen to the recording here.

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No Means No: Fight Colorado’s Amendment 67

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

All across the country, women are fighting for control of their own bodies, to make their own choices. Access to birth control, safe, legal abortion options, the ability to decide when, and if, to have children—these rights seem to be under constant attack.

Nowhere is the fight fought harder than here in Colorado. Personhood USA, the leading group in the country working to ban all abortion by giving rights to a fertilized egg, is based right here in Colorado.

The polling has shown that if Amendment 67 were voted on right now, it would pass and Colorado would face the harshest restrictions on women’s rights in the country.

Personhood USA has gotten more savvy each year they bring their “Personhood” measure forward. They only talk about “protecting the life of a pregnant women”. The ballot language is confusing and misleading and right now it is working. Polling shows Amendment 67 would pass if it were voted on today.

Which means we MUST reach each and every voter in Colorado and educate them about what Amendment 67 would really do. Ban all abortions. Outlaw common forms of birth control. Criminalize women.

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READ THIS: The Many Lies of Con Man Cory

(Link rich – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This evening, Rep. Cory Gardner will join Sen. Mark Udall in Grand Junction for the first debate of the 2014 U.S. Senate race. There are a lot of issues at stake in this race, and I wanted to take a moment to recap everything we’ve been talking about so far.

No politician is perfect, but Cory Gardner could truly be one of the most deceptive candidates Colorado has seen in years. Just this week, the Associated Press reported that one of Gardner’s latest TV ads, which you’ve probably seen, claims credit for “launching” Colorado’s green energy industry. The truth is Gardner opposed the landmark 2004 law, Amendment 37, that made Colorado a leader in the renewable energy economy. And the bill that Gardner sponsored never funded a single renewable energy project before being repealed.

Tell Cory Gardner it’s time for the lies to stop.

There’s a reason we call him Con Man Cory. From the moment Cory Gardner entered the race for the U.S. Senate, he has been covering up his long political record–a record that ranked him as the 10th most right-wing member of Congress in 2012, according to National Journal. Days after getting into the Senate race, Gardner claimed to have disavowed the Colorado Personhood abortion bans he’s supported for years, even though he is still sponsor of federal legislation that would do the same thing: ban abortion and many common forms of birth control.

On every issue that matters to women and families, Gardner is not only trying to claim a new position; he is trying to pretend his old votes didn’t happen. Gardner claims today that he "never" supported the disastrous shutdown of the federal government last year, which impeded recovery from devastating floods that impacted our state just days before. But the truth is, Gardner did support the shutdown, voted with his party at every step to shut down the government, and publicly defended the Republican strategy. In addition to impeding flood recovery, the shutdown’s closure of the state’s national parks and monuments cost Colorado’s economy millions of dollars.

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11 Definitive Reasons Bill Maher Should #FlipADistrict In Colorado

(The animated .GIFs in this post alone are worth sharing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bill Maher plans to pick one congressional district to flip this fall. Here are 11 reasons Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman should win. Sign the petition here. Help Colorado #FlipADistrict!

1. Current Representative Mike Coffman sucks at push-ups

Rule #1 for doing push-ups in the airport: don’t look like you’re dry humping the carpet.

2. He also thinks legal weed is bad for Colorado

Source: Rep Mike Coffman: Legal Marijuana Is Scary (bigmedia.org)

It’s one thing for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to drop into Colorado and tell us our quality of life is going down the tubes thanks to marijuana legalization.

But it’s another for our own elected officials to tell us as much. You recall Rep. Mike Coffman grumped on the KOA radio earlier this year that legal pot may scare giant corporations from coming to Colorado.

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Will the real Both Ways Bob please stand up?

(Skip to 4:10 in the video below for the quotes in question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As women across the country celebrate Women's Equality Day, ProgressNow Colorado demands that Bob Beauprez tell the truth about his opposition to a woman’s right to choose–even in the case of rape and incest. Beauprez claims his hard line opposition to abortion is his "personal" view, but during his last run for governor, Beauprez clearly stated he would sign an abortion ban into law with no exception for victims of sex crimes.

"It's time for Bob Beauprez to end his war on women: a woman has the right to make her own personal, private medical decisions, including victims of rape and incest,” stated Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. "It's shocking that in 2014 we are still having a debate about something so basic."

In an interview broadcast this past Sunday–transcribed below–Beauprez said, "I respect that different people have different opinions than me and I respect the law of the land which is very clear and as Governor I will enforce the law of the land…for me personally the only exception is life of the mother–that's me personally."

Yet in 2006, Beauprez said he would sign a bill that outlaws abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. (Denver Post, October 20, 2006)

"Beauprez's record shows that he would let the government interfere with decisions that should be left to a woman, her family and her doctor," said Runyon-Harms. "Beauprez supported federal Personhood legislation, and said in his last run for Governor that he would sign a bill outlawing all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Once again, Both Ways Bob is saying one thing to women, while his record demonstrates otherwise."

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Time for Gardner to back up his “Obamascare” story

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

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

​As questions continue to grow about the details of U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's health insurance, which Gardner claims motivated him to run for the U.S. Senate, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Gardner to fully disclose crucial details that would either verify or disprove his claims.

"Cory Gardner has repeatedly waved a 'cancellation letter' from his insurer–covered with black marker redactions of key details," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "Today, reporters are asking questions about those redacted portions, and they're not getting answers. Could it be that Gardner is not being straight with the public about his 'Obamascare' horror story?"

Last week, 9NEWS in Denver conducted a Truth Test of Gardner's latest ad, in which he tells the story of his health insurance plan being 'cancelled.' But when 9NEWS attempted to verify the details of Gardner's claim, "the campaign declined to provide evidence of the previous price or any details about the level of coverage and deductibles under the prior plan." 9NEWS concluded, "And was this the only policy for the entire family? As for the congressman's personal story, you should take it with a grain of salt because we don't have all the details." [1]

"Cory Gardner's claims about his supposedly 'cancelled' health insurance plan have never added up," said Runyon-Harms. "The fact is, over 90% of Colorado policyholders who received so-called 'cancellation notices' received policy renewal instructions in the same letter. [2] [3] Gardner has claimed that the 'comparable' replacement plan he was offered was twice as much, but that's impossible to confirm if Gardner won't disclose the details of his old plan. Gardner has been asked to provide the full details of his insurance plans for months, and he has refused even as questions have grown about his story."

"It's time for Con Man Cory Gardner to put up or shut up," said Runyon-Harms. "We call on Gardner to immediately release the full details of his old health insurance plan: deductibles, coverages, premiums, everything. Gardner also must disclose any other insurance he or his family may have carried during this period. There have been too many 'Obamascare' horror stories that have been proven false once the facts came out. Coloradans deserve to know if the reason Gardner says he is running for Senate today is nothing more than a giant con job."

Hey Bill Maher, Colorado Needs You

(Mike Coffman is not likely to agree – promoted by Colorado Pols)

We need your help with this one. I know, I know. We ask you to sign a lot of petitions. If you haven’t signed one in a while, please take a moment right now to sign this one.

Have you heard about this #FlipADistrict thing HBO’s Bill Maher is doing on his show? He’s asking folks to help him pick a truly terrible member of Congress, and then he’ll spend the next few months shining a national spotlight on the selected “loser of a Congressman”. The goal is to flip the district to someone better.

Well, Bill Maher has narrowed the #FlipADistrict field down to his final four. And Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District made the cut!

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Civil war?

(You saw it here first – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post's Joey Bunch:

A Colorado liberal group launched an attack on Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez Thursday for saying he worried Obama’s policies could lead to revolution or civil war in the United States…

Beauprez’s campaign spokesman, Allen Fuller, said ProgressNow was trying to stir up controversy where none exists to help incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper.

“Hickenlooper’s loyal attack dogs ProgressNow are blasting around tired old attacks crossing their fingers that someone might fall for their same old tricks,” he said in an e-mail.

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Politics gets crazy sometimes. I probably don’t need to tell you that. But in America, we pride ourselves in being able to come together when it’s necessary and solve the big problems that confront us.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees these days. And since the Tea Party came to power in 2010, there have been some truly crazy things said about our country by far right politicians. Some of it doesn’t sound very American at all.

In a 2012 interview, Colorado politician Bob Beauprez was asked on a talk show whether President Barack Obama’s policies could lead to “a civil war in this country.” Here’s how Beauprez responded:

“I hope and pray that, that we don't see another revolution in this country. I hope and pray we don't see another civil war, but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we've ever, ever seen.”

To watch this shocking video clip, click here.

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Help us send Karl Rove packing

Once again, an ‘Obamascare’ horror story on the air in Colorado has turned out to be a fake.

Tell Karl Rove to take his latest false ad off the air now.

You’ve probably seen a new television ad from Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS group that began airing in Colorado this week to help Republican Cory Gardner, featuring a Castle Rock woman who claims she had to go back to work because her family “couldn’t afford our [health] plan.”

But when asked for details by local reporter Eli Stokols of FOX 31 in Denver, the subject of the ad admitted that the reason for her going back to work in 2010 ”wasn’t the Affordable Care Act.” [1]

In fact, Obamacare had not yet even taken effect. The whole ad is based on a deception.

The right wing has spent millions of dollars spreading false information about the Affordable Care Act. Cory Gardner has made Obamacare scare tactics the central theme of his campaign. Their willingness to mislead voters for political gain on this critical issue has done a terrible disservice to the entire nation. The truth is, Colorado’s rate of uninsured has dropped from 17% to only 11% since Obamacare has been fully implemented according to a new report from Gallup out last week. [2] But Cory Gardner and Karl Rove can’t admit the truth.

Enough is enough: it’s time for Cory Gardner and out-of-state special interests to stop misleading the people of Colorado. Sign our petition right now telling Karl Rove to take down his misleading ad.

It’s amazing that Karl Rove and the right wing is still trying to deceive the public about Obamacare after so many millions of Americans are reaping the benefits. Even worse, they can’t find ‘victims’ of health care reform, so they make them up out of thin air. This willful deception of the public has gone on too long, and it’s time for it to stop.

Thanks for your help stopping it in Colorado.

Sincerely,

Amy Runyon-Harms

We found the problem with immigration reform

Reps. Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner have voted to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, four times, and as recently as May.

Last night, they ‘changed their minds’ and voted against an amendment to end DACA. With the election fast approaching, it’s no surprise why.

But don’t be fooled by this apparent change of heart. Both Reps. Gardner and Coffman continue to block real immigration reform. In fact, before leaving for a month-long recess, they voted against bringing a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill up for a vote–a bill that would have helped millions of families, and so many people right here in Colorado.

Tell Congressmen Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman that you see through their political pandering. Demand they take real action now.

There’s no question about it: America is facing an immigration crisis, and something must be done. And when we need leadership the most, Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner are letting us all down.

There’s a reason why Congress’ approval ratings are at historic lows: it’s because politicians like Gardner and Coffman refuse to do their jobs. Click here right now to send the message that it's now or never.

Thank you,

Amy Runyon-Harms

Rep. Gardner, see you at the No on Personhood rally?

(He should be there, right? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dear Representative Gardner,

Recently, you told the news media that you were giving up your longstanding support for the Personhood abortion ban ballot measures in Colorado. You may have read that the NO on Amendment 67 campaign is kicking off their opposition to this year’s Personhood abortion ban amendment with a rally and press conference today.

Can I tell them you’ll be joining us?

Thank you for your decision to reverse your years of support for the Colorado Personhood abortion bans. As you know, Personhood would have the added consequence of banning many common forms of birth control, which is one reason it has failed repeatedly at the polls by an overwhelming majority.

It’s unfortunate, Rep. Gardner, that you remain a co-sponsor of the federal Life at Conception Act, which contains the same language as the Personhood amendments that have previously failed here in Colorado.  The federal Life at Conception Act would ban many forms of birth control–in addition to banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest. Because this directly contradicts your reasons for flip-flopping on Colorado’s Personhood amendments, I hope you announce today that you are also removing yourself as a cosponsor of that bill.

The voters of Colorado look forward to you proving yourself. Please don’t let them down!