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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsDecember 22, 201612min425

Colleges and universities across Colorado are grappling with whether the incoming Trump administration will strip away federal deportation protections for undocumented students, most of whom came to the state at a very young age and pay in-state tuition under Colorado law. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was signed as an executive action by President Barack Obama in 2012. The policy provides deportation protection and work visas for law-abiding, undocumented students who came here as children and fit certain age criteria. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to reverse Obama’s executive actions, including DACA, but has since hinted he may “work something out” for undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the United States at a very young age.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsOctober 17, 201615min537

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, showing clear signs his race for CD3 has tightened in recent weeks, continues to aggressively call out former state Sen. Gail Schwartz for her comments and ads accusing Tipton of seeking to sell off federally owned public lands. Schwartz charges Tipton has sold out to coal mining and oil and gas companies and wants to transfer public lands to state or private ownership in order to increase domestic fossil fuel production. Schwartz, a Crested Butte Democrat who previously worked in ski-area design, favors preserving public lands to boost the outdoor recreation industry. “If we’re talking about outdoor recreation and protecting those public lands, let’s look at the Hermosa Creek bill that I had signed into law, that we were able to pass through a Republican-controlled Congress to be able to create those opportunities down in La Plata County,” Tipton said on a press call last month.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsSeptember 27, 201613min408

While Colorado state Senate District 8 has seen some very nasty political attacks in recent years — sometimes even bitter, red-on-red Republican infighting in this mostly conservative rural region — nothing gets people more riled up in these parts than transportation funding shortfalls. Voters who have been stuck for six hours on Interstate 70 when a car with bald tires starts a chain-reaction pileup in a snowstorm will turn a bright shade of red telling you about it, even if they’re the bluest of blue Democrats. And after all, former Mayor Bill McNichols was ousted in the early 80s in part because he failed to clear a massive blizzard from the streets of Denver.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsSeptember 20, 201613min346

There’s no issue more partisan in Colorado than energy production, so it’s not surprising that opinions of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s draft executive order on climate change are divided right along party lines. But some observers are surprised the governor is going there at all. “We do not have a state record of governors using executive orders the way the president of the United States does, and therefore I would characterize Hickenlooper’s actions as unusual for the Colorado chief executive,” said Bob Loevy, professor emeritus of political science at Colorado College. “Governors don’t ordinarily use administrative orders for things that are politically controversial in Colorado.”


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsSeptember 9, 201611min394

“Gail Schwartz, honestly, single-handedly helped in the decline … of the coal miners in the North Fork Valley, in my opinion,” said Rene Atchley, wife of a retired coal miner and mother of several children laid off from coal-mining jobs. “[Schwartz] claims to be a standup person, a fighter. All she has done is stand up and walk away from the people in her district after they asked her repeatedly to help us and she did not.” Schwartz has consistently defended her clean energy policies in the state Legislature, pointing to the need to shutter coal-fired power plants on the Front Range for air-quality reasons, the fact that the vast majority of the coal being burned for electricity in Colorado was coming from Wyoming, not the North Fork, and the overall global collapse of coal brought on by market forces such as the decrease in demand from China and the abundance of cheap natural gas.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 31, 20168min427

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis on Monday told The Colorado Statesman that the battle for greater local control over oil and gas drilling will keep coming back every two years if the State Legislature is unable to take action on the emotionally charged issue of fracking in and around neighborhoods. “Issues are always best addressed legislatively, but if the Legislature fails to address it, I’m sure proponents of ballot initiatives will be back,” Polis told The Statesman on Monday after Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams concluded supporters of two anti-fracking ballot initiatives — one of which Polis backed — didn’t collect enough valid voter signatures.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 29, 201611min418

Colorado Democrats say Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can soften his anti-Mexico stance all he wants but the economic damage has already been done in key tourism markets like Vail that rely heavily on year-round Latin American visitors. Representatives of Trump for Colorado counter that Democrats are engaged in fear-mongering in order to get Hillary Clinton elected president and that Trump will continue to pivot away from his primary-season rhetoric about Mexica


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 29, 20169min580

When Garett Reppenhagen, an honorably discharged cavalry scout and a sniper with the U.S. Army First Infantry Division, returned to his home state of Colorado in 2005 after serving in Kosovo and Iraq, the wilderness advocate recovered by spending time on public lands. “When I came home I looked to the outdoors kind of instinctively to find healing and repose from the war,” said Reppenhagen, Rocky Mountain Director of the Vet Voice Foundation. “My mom’s house is in Green Mountain Falls near Colorado Springs and borders Pike National Forest and Pikes Peak, so that mountain was kind of a sanctuary for me.”


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 28, 20169min480

Robert Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, calls the nationwide push for mandated minimum wages such as Colorado’s Initiative 101 an existential threat to the uniquely American and highly successful business model of franchising. “There’s the extremely corrosive, challenging and destructive business environment stuff, which falls into the $15 minimum wage [movement], and particularly if they’re discriminatory $15 minimum wage initiatives, which we’ve seen in different parts of the country …,” Cresanti told The Colorado Statesman during a recent IFA tour of the state.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 2, 201614min412

With the official nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, longtime Democrats and progressive political activists on Colorado’s Western Slope are grappling with the impacts on down-ballot races in a post-Bernie Sanders world. Some candidates and party officials are predicting a Democratic exodus of disaffected Bernie backers to the Green Party, while other say millennial voters will come to their senses and pivot to Clinton once the prospect of GOP nominee Donald Trump becoming president settles in.