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How did it come to pass that Mesa County doesn’t have a war memorial on the grounds of the courthouse?

It’s a curious departure from the patriotic spirit that pervades this valley. How many towns in Colorado can boast of having both a Veterans Affairs hospital and a Veterans Memorial Cemetery? Short of military towns, few places are sown with more opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for military service than Grand Junction; yet we lack a monument to hometown heroes so ubiquitous in county seats across the country.

Lack of a courthouse war memorial hasn’t stopped this community from properly honoring the memory of the men and women who served the cause of freedom. To suggest otherwise would be an insult to members of local groups who decorate graves and organize ceremonies to remind us that freedom isn’t free.

Read more at The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.



The Pueblo ChieftainMay 30, 20171min800

Colorado needs a workable plan to invest in a better state highway and local transportation system than we have now. Current conditions are intolerable.

All of us are adversely affected by inadequate roadways that cannot carry the ever-increasing traffic, particularly between Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area.

Interstate 25 woes will only get worse as the population spreads south to Pueblo and beyond — almost forgotten areas already crying out for improved highway and street surfaces as part of a modern statewide transportation network.



President Donald Trump has corrected his error about NATO, making it clear in recent days that he does not regard it as “obsolete,” which was how he described it during the election campaign.

Instead he affirmed his commitment to that crucial alliance in Europe. He is also, as a corollary, right to call on European partners to pay their NATO contributions in full and on time.

The hyper-reactive criticism of President Trump’s reflexive opponents has been to exaggerate the importance of the fact that the president did not explicitly refer in his NATO speech to Article 5 of the alliance, the one in which members agree to treat an attack on one of them as an attack on all of them.

But what else could he mean by his words that America would “never forsake the friends that stood by our side”? This made it plain that America’s commitment to NATO isn’t conditional.

Read more at The Colorado Springs Gazette.


Warrior Dash 082313.jpg

Erin PraterErin PraterMay 29, 20176min850

Deep thinkers, you Colorado Politics readers.

This week two of our five top stories were pithy Insights columns, and one was a news piece about a fantastically fascinating — and good looking, some say — newcomer to the CD6 race.

Hey, it’s a good mix, right?

And now, your top five stories of the week — as chosen by you, the readers.

 

Democrat Michael Bennet
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet warms up a crowd at his town hall meeting in Denver Friday night. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

5) Insights: What does it mean to be a Democrat anymore, especially in Colorado?

Sen. Michael Bennet was on a roll. His digs at President Trump excited the crowd that was decidedly pro-Democrat as Bennet spoke from the aisle between the pews in Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church Friday evening.

Read more here.

 

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and former Colorado state Treasurer Cary Kennedy (AP/Kennedy campaign courtesy photo)

4) Insights: Early attacks in Colorado Democratic gubernatorial race

The Colorado Democratic race for governor could get ugly. Colorado Politics’ inbox is already filled with opposition emails that have revolved around the gubernatorial campaigns for U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy.

Read more here.

 

(Photo credits: The Associated Press, The Gazette, Denver Post, Colorado Politics)

3) Which one of these Colorado politicians is a millionaire? (Gotcha! Trick question.)

In fact, five of them are. How do we know? While looking up the net worth of Colorado’s Democratic senior U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (we had our reasons; you can read about it here), we stumbled across one of those sites that provides that information and a lot more on our entire Washington delegation — both U.S. Senators and all seven members of the House of Representatives. InsideGov.com not only lists the estimated net worth of each senator and representative as of 2014 but also shows how they compare with one another.

Read more here.

 

Quiet these days outside the Urban Peak drop-in center which has been closed until further notice.

2) Urban Peak youth homeless drop-in center shut down, for now

One of the main resources for homeless youth in Denver is shut down, for now anyway. The Urban Peak drop-in Center at 21st and Stout closed its doors on April 28th, citing security concerns.

Read more here.

 

Coffman challenger Levi Tillermann
(Photo courtesy of Levi Tillemann)

1) A Colorado Democrat with a rich family history in politics gets ready to take a run at Coffman in CD6

Get ready for a new player in the Democratic primary hoping to take on Republican Mike Coffman in Congressional District 6 next year. Levi Tillemann would bring a rich Democratic family heritage to the race. He also brings an impressive resume of his own, as an inventor and author.

Read more here.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 29, 20175min2171

The Lamar Ledger reports that Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was in town last week to talk to the local authorities and local folks in Prowers County.

The question of will she or won’t she was unanswered and it’s not clear whether it was asked. All eyes are on whether Coffman will jump in the Republican primary for governor next year.

Already announced are Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, businessman and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell. It would be a shock if state Treasurer Walker Stapleton doesn’t run, and DaVita CEO Kent Thiry is an outside contender to get in.

But Coffman is the most enigmatic of the bunch.

What she decides could shake up two races. Solid-caliber Democrats such as state Rep. Joe Salazar, Jefferson County Deputy DA  Michael Dougherty and former University of Colorado law school dean Phil Weiser are officially in.

The race-shaker for the Democrats in the AG’s primary would be Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, as my colleague and pal Peter Marcus told you in March. Remember: You read it in Colorado Politics first, as usual.

In Lamar, Coffman talked about more than the law, the kinds of profile-raising appearance she could use, intentional or not.

Michael Bowen, the editor of the Lamar Ledger, reported:

“I wanted to have this session because I know how significant your contributions are to the economy and the culture of southeast Colorado,” noted Coffman. She further commented, saying, the best thing she can now do is listen.

Farmers and ranchers asked Coffman for her opinion on the conservation easements many rural Coloradans granted to their counties or to non-profits to preserve their land from development. The state Department of Revenue balked on many of the tax breaks, though, when it saw how much revenue was being lost in already-poor counties.

Bowen continued:

It was asked by Coffman and her team to have those that feel they were not treated correctly during that process, to submit copies of the paperwork to her office for review. Coffman’s office would look at the paperwork, check to see if violations occurred and then determine if so, what needs to be done at that point.

He concluded with a list of issues from the meeting that sounded like a better fit for the executive branch than the judicial branch:

Other issues discussed included cattle prices being on the rise, along with water that is leaving Colorado for Kansas. Discussion on the water issue included if water should be stored. Consensus among the group was against the storage of water.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 29, 20173min960

Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran’s office is crowded with the awards and commendations of a young and successful life in Colorado politics. She recently added another big one: a member of the University of Denver’s Distinguished Alumni Class of 2017, the distinguished institution’s highest honor.

At just 36, Duran is the youngest member among the six inductees: Debra Crew, the CEO of Reynolds American;
Brenda J. Hollis. a prosecutor in Sierra Leone; Jim Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises; Imran Khan. the chief strategy officer for Snapchat; and Craig Patrick, a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame , NHL player and coach, as well as assistant coach on the 1980 gold medal hockey team.

“I would not be where I am today if not for the quality of education I received at DU,” Duran said in a statement. “I learned so much more than facts in a textbook while studying there—I learned life lessons I still carry with me today.”

Duran received her undergraduate degree in public affairs and Spanish from DU in 2002 and went on to get a law degree from the University of Colorado. At CU, she was president of the Student Bar Association and the Latino Law Student Association. She went to high school at Arvada West. Go Wildcats.

DU’s press office profiled Duran in February. She told her old school:

“I think far too often one of the greatest barriers that people put in front of themselves is lack of believing they can actually make a difference. Aim high, think of what you want to accomplish for yourself, and the sky is really the limit. It is great to be in a country like the United States where there are a lot of opportunities.”

Duran is Colorado’s first Latina speaker of the House. She has been regarded by Democrats at the state and national level as a rising star. Duran is term-limited from seeking another two years in the Colorado House after next year. She has not yet said what her political ambitions might be after the 2018 legislative session.

I’m all ears, Speaker.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 28, 20175min1110

As vacation season nears, the shuffle of Colorado Politics never stops. This past week political races for next year continued to take shape, and President Trump’s plans for the nation continued to raise cheers and jeers.

These are the stories our staff thinks will continue to make news in the weeks and months ahead, so catch up while you can:

 

Barbara Brohl
(Photo courtesy of the Colorado Department of Revenue)

5. Tax chief Barbara Bohl is heading off on an adventure

Colorado is losing its Department of Revenue chief in August, ahead of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s departure after 2018. What’s next for Barbara Bohl and why she chose to leave. (The answers were vague.)

Read the full story here.

 

Colorado peaks
(Courtesy of the Telluride Mountain Club)

4. Look up to find Fowler and Boskoff

Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez are asking Congress to name two peaks near Telluride after legendary local climbers Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, who were killed climbing together in Tibet in 2006.

Read the full story here.

 

Coffman challenger Levi Tillermann
(Photo courtesy of Levi Tillemann)

3. Tillemann offers shakeup for CD6 primary to face Coffman

A scion to one of the best-known families in Colorado politics, Levi Tillemann, could make it very interesting in the Democratic primary dogfight to run against the seemingly unbeatable U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Read the full story here.

 

A view of two large alcoves along the Sand Canyon Trail at Canyon of the Ancients National Monument contain standing ruins of Native American homes. (The Gazette file photo)

2. Leave our canyon be, Mr. President

Colorado’s congressional leaders sent a letter to President Trump telling him to leave be the Canyons of the Ancients near Cortez as his administration reviews the worthiness of large national monuments designated since 1996.

Read the full story here.

 

(Courtesy of Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City)

1. And Moreno makes 3

State Sen. Dominick Moreno became the third Democratic state legislator to jump in the race to fill the seat in the 7th Congressional District next year with Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Brittany Pettersen. Incumbent Ed Perlmutter is running for governor, instead. A fourth lawmaker thought to be considering the race, Rep. Jessie Danielson, prefers her politics local. She said she’ll run for state Senate instead.

Read the full story here.



The Boulder Daily CameraMay 28, 20171min680

Bills being floated in Congress by a handful of Republicans would impose taxes on remittances — money U.S. residents send abroad, usually to relatives — to pay for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. The idea is as flawed as Trump’s own ridiculous assertion that Mexico must and will eventually pay for the wall.

Mexico ranks first among nations that receive remittance money, usually by wire transfer, from U.S. residents. In 2015, Mexicans received $24.32 billion in such funds, more than Mexico earned from oil exports. Like almost all U.S. companies, wire transfer services such as Western Union or Moneygram typically do not require proof of legal immigration status before accepting customers’ business.

It’s unknown how much of the remittances come from undocumented migrants, but they are hardly the only residents sending money abroad. Under the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, a bill proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., remittance senders would have to pay a 2 percent tax, regardless of the sender’s legal status or whether the sender has already paid federal taxes on that income.

Read more at The Boulder Daily Camera.



Each year we rightly celebrate Memorial Day. We remember those who served in uniform and died either in armed conflict or from various other causes.

Memorial Day grew out of Decoration Day, first celebrated in 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic decorated the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. Former Confederate soldiers soon created their own competing practice, and eventually the two were combined into one — Memorial Day.

We often hear it said that others died protecting our freedoms. That is a just cause.

We define our culture through the stories we tell, of our founding fathers and mothers, of our wars, of our best and our worst. Even our movies — think of the typical Western about someone fighting for the underdog — feature the repressed, the hopeless, the powerless.

Read more at The Fort Collins Coloradoan.



The Pueblo ChieftainMay 28, 20171min880

Colorado needs a workable plan to invest in a better state highway and local transportation system than we have now. Current conditions are intolerable.

All of us are adversely affected by inadequate roadways that cannot carry the ever-increasing traffic, particularly between Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area.

Interstate 25 woes will only get worse as the population spreads south to Pueblo and beyond — almost forgotten areas already crying out for improved highway and street surfaces as part of a modern statewide transportation network.

Read more at The Pueblo Chieftain.