Disgruntled Colorado counties are blazing their own trail

Colorado Counties: a house divided? (en.wikipedia.org)

Complete Colorado’s Sherrie Peif shed light last week on an effort by some dissenting, left-leaning counties — led (of course!) by Boulder County — to band together and chart a new course in representing their interests before the General Assembly and beyond.

Colorado’s 64 counties long have relied on powerhouse lobby Colorado Counties Incorporated to carry their water in the legislature, in Washington and elsewhere. Peif reports that Boulder County commissioners concluded some time ago CCI wasn’t cutting it. So, they formed Counties & Commissioners Acting Together and hired a lobbying firm, Aponte & Busam Public Affairs, to handle the new effort.

It seems that, among other considerations, the dissidents felt CCI didn’t adequately reflect their progressive political agenda on addressing climate change and other issues. Writes Peif:

Boulder County Commissioners Elise Jones, Deb Gardner and Cindy Domenico started the effort last year after Boulder County left Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI), a separate membership organization that advocates on behalf of county governments.

Nearly 1,600 pages of emails obtained by Complete Colorado through a Colorado Open Records Act request and other documents show dissatisfaction among some counties within CCI. The progressive commissioners’ belief is that not all interests are considered when deciding whether to support legislation.

Boulder County appears to be in the driver’s seat and is bearing the bulk of the startup cost of the new endeavor, Peif reports:

According to the emails, only seven of Colorado’s 64 counties are in full support of CCAT and aside from Boulder, only six other individuals or counties are helping to pay the $70,000 cost for Aponte & Busam, a fee that was scaled back from the original $100,000 requested in its proposal.

Peif also notes the unmistakably leftward tilt of the initiative:

The group’s marketing material says it is non-partisan. However, the emails tell a different story. Interviews for a lobbying firm to represent the group (Aponte & Busam Public Affairs was eventually selected) were held at the Colorado Democrat Party offices at 789 Sherman St. in Denver.

As for the political ideology of the group, the term “progressive” is used more than a dozen unique times. Jones makes it clear in several emails that it’s the “progressive” member numbers that are important.

Other interesting nuggets also turned up in the emails obtained by Peif through her open-records request; it’s all in the full news report by Complete Colorado. Here’s the link again.

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