STRIKE UP THE BAND ... It is, after all, March Fourth.
The celebration started a few days early in Colorado, when John Philip Sousa IV, the grandson of the composer and marching band icon, was on hand to endorse a pair of longshot Republican candidates — Greg Lopez, the former Parker mayor running for governor, and Casper Stockham, who lost a bid to unseat Democrat Diana DeGette in the 1st Congressional District last time around and is giving it another go this cycle.
We took note the other day of U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s two-day stopover in Denver this week to address a meeting of mortgage bankers and, per the protocols of his job, to tour publicly assisted housing in the area. Included was a visit to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, starting with its Stout Street Clinic.
Turns out, we didn’t have to cover the occasion; coalition staff recounted their face time with the housing secretary — a former presidential candidate, renowned neurosurgeon and bestselling author — in a press release that included photos. It’s as if ColoradoPolitics.com had its own correspondent on the scene and, OK, the pictures came out even better than some of ours do (ouch):
He was greeted by the Coalition’s President and CEO John Parvensky and Medical Director Joe Ladika who gave the Secretary an inside look at integrated housing and healthcare. Secretary Carson called the health center “state-of-the-art” noting updated equipment and CCH’s model of care.
His tour included visits to the medical, dental, vision, pharmacy and mental health services departments, all housed under one roof. He was pleased with the health center, saying it was a “simple gift often taken for granted.” As a doctor himself, he asked important questions about tuberculosis testing (which the health center offers daily), and costs of health services versus access to emergency services.
Last stop was to the Renaissance Stout Street Lofts, 78 units of permanent supportive housing which sit above the Stout Street Health Center and are partially funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. An integrated part of the construction, the Lofts offer housing for people experiencing homelessness with close access to the health center. Secretary Carson was pleased with the integration of health services and housing saying, “This bolsters my argument that we can eradicate homelessness. We have the will and know how.”
Great follow-up coverage by the coalition staff; thanks, folks! You’re hired.
Republican George Brauchler won the Western Conservative Summit's straw poll for next year's gubernatorial election in Colorado with nearly twice the vote of his nearest competitor, organizers announced Sunday.
When people think of the Trump campaign in Colorado, they’re more than likely to think of Weston Imer. And he has this on good authority.
“Eric Trump told me that I am the kid of the Trump campaign, I am the face of the Trump campaign in Colorado,” the 13-year-old Imer told Colorado Politics. “And they wanted me to remain that. I still believe I am.”
They’ve all been to the Western Conservative Summit before: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, to name a few of the Trump administration in Denver.
But this year one of the nation’s largest gathering of conservative advocates and experts, held annually in Denver, has only President Trump’s lawyer on the roster. Jay Sekulow is scheduled to speak Saturday night at the Colorado Convention Center.
The summit is Friday through Sunday. Friday night attendees will hear from former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, along with conservative writers Katie Pavlich and Cal Thomas.
Saturday’s speakers include former Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett, former Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez, former South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Windsor.
At different points during the program on Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, Colorado Politics will be onstage to individually question each Republican who has announced his candidacy for Colorado governor next year.
Sunday morning, before summit wraps up at noon, participants from across the country will cast votes in a straw poll on which Republican should lead the state. (Democrats were invited to participate in the onstage discussion and straw poll, but declined, Hunt said.)
Last year, as his general election campaign ramped up, Trump spoke at the Summit. He was introduced by Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor turned 2008 vice presidential pick.
“I think we’ve got some star power,” said Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute think tank, which puts on the summit. “I wish we’d gotten more Trump administration officials to come out, and I’m scratching my head as to why they aren’t. Most of them have been here before.”
The Centennial Institute — the conservative advocacy arm of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood — scored a coup last year with its campaign to lure then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to its annual Western Conservative Summit. #GetTrumptotheSummit was the rallying cry on Twitter, and it succeeded in getting Trump to make his first campaign speech in the state when he addressed the summit last July.
As this year’s summit approaches, Centennial and its Director Jeff Hunt are at it again. This time, they’ve kicked off a campaign to get the whole Trump team — or, at least, its most prominent members — to put in a showing at the July 21-23 event at the Colorado Convention Center.
An email from Hunt this week announces the effort and once again calls on supporters to take action using Twitter:
For the first time in Western Conservative Summit history, conservatives have control of the White House and the executive branch of our government. From our very first summit in 2010, progressive liberals in the White House, disregarding separation of powers, have rammed through their aggressive agenda. This year, however, Summit attendees want to hear from leaders in our government advancing conservative public policy.
While we have sent invitations to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Dr. Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke, we need your help by showing your support on social media. Please click on the tweets below and demonstrate your wish to see the Trump Administration at the 2017 Western Conservative Summit!
And this year’s hashtag, fittingly, is #GetTrumpTeamToTheSummit. As Hunt notes on Twitter, it’s part of a multimedia campaign:
Of course, getting Trump the candidate to show while he was on the campaign trail is one thing; luring back Trump the president — along with his VP, top advisers and key Cabinet members — is quite another matter. (Also, isn’t there some sort of national security protocol about all these folks being in the same room? Or is that just on TV?)
By the way, plenty of Trump Cabinet members and influential advisers evidently weren’t on Centennial’s RSVP list in the first place. No Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner or Sean Spicer; no Nikki Haley, Elaine Chao or Wilbur Ross. (Chao is transportation secretary; Ross heads commerce. Admit it: You drew a blank on them.) Not even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — the dean of the Cabinet.
How do we know Dr. Ben Carson is unqualified to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?
Because House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said so, calling him "disturbingly unqualified."
"There is no evidence that Dr. Carson brings the necessary credentials to hold a position with such immense responsibilities and impact on families and communities across America," Pelosi said.
Colorado’s Democratic Party delegation to Congress is joining critics of President-elect Donald Trump's choices for his top advisers and Cabinet members.
“So far, the news and rumors have been disquieting — especially for people across the country who have been engaged in promoting civil rights, a cleaner environment, sustainable energy and better health care," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) said in a statement.