Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 5, 201712min1921

Both sides agree it's a question of rights but differ sharply whose rights should prevail under the law in a case argued Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court — whether it's the baker and his religious beliefs or the same-sex couple and their right to be treated like any other customers. As the divisive case had its day in court — pitting Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips against the married couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins — Colorado politicians hewed mainly along partisan lines assessing the case.


Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 21, 20174min374

Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told a crowd of thousands at the Western Conservative Summit Friday night that Republicans in Congress, as early as next week, will address healthcare.

The Senate GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare collapsed last week. Gardner never said how we would have voted on that bill, even though he was in a group that helped draft it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the legislation when  it became evident Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass it.

But Friday night Gardner never said exactly what Republicans will do next, beyond giving states more flexibility to design their own programs, “to get Washington out of the way.”

“Those are the kinds of things we can all work together to do,” Gardner said in his speech.

He left after the speech, before Colorado Politics could catch up to ask more questions. Stay tuned.

Gardner said the GOP must “rebuild a healthcare system in this country that increases the quality of care, decreases the cost of care and does it by giving consumers more options, more choice and more freedom.”

He told thousands at the opening night of the summit at the Colorado Convention Center that Obamacare represented a bloated broken promise and endangered the social safety net programs for the people Democrats are using as props to get in the way of reform.

During Gardner’s speech a small group of protesters, who paid at least $120 each for a day pass to get in,  tried to interrupt by chanting “Don’t cut  Medicaid,” before they were ushered out were shouted down  by chants of   “USA.” He briefly shuffled the papers of his speech while the protesters were led out.

Gardner was unfazed and even complimented the dissenting voices.

“That’s what makes a nation great … the strength of each other to listen to the disparate voices, to listen to the people who have differing opinions, because that is what makes our nation strong,” Gardner told the audience. “That is who we are and those are values the Western Conservative Summit celebrates.”

Gardner said Americans, such as those protesters, have serious concerns about healthcare, and it would be important “to make sure we focus our efforts on those who need it the most.”

“What’s happened the last several years is a government that’s tried to grow so much that it’s created instability in our most important safety net programs and what we have to do is make sure they’re sustainable to protect those who are truly in need,” he said.

The conservatives at the summit were down on Senate Republicans for washing out on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

After a dance party to open the show, Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, which has put on the summit in Denver for eight years, made the failure part of his opening address.

“No more excuses, it’s time to repeal  Obamacare,” Hunt said. “Get it done. We sent you there for a reason.”



Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 7, 20174min560

Donald Trump is invited, but his lawyer is showing up at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on July 22.

Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, is one of the most influential lawyers in America, said Jeff Hunt, chairman of the Western Conservative Summit and director of the Centennial Institute think tank in Lakewood, which puts on the annual three-day bash for big-name conservatives.

“Dr. Sekulow has devoted his life to promoting and protecting religious freedom and the U.S. Constitution,” Hunt said.

Last year, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin kicked off the Summit. Palin called conservatives who didn’t back Trump RATs — Republicans Against Trump — who shouldn’t fall for an establishment con game.

It remains to be seen if Sekulow talks Trump at the Summit or sits down with Colorado Politics, but we’ll do our best.

The New York Times called Sekulow “man known as an articulate advocate” last month. Sekulow had just been hired as the president’s outside legal counsel, after a special counsel had been hired and questions deepened about Russian connections and obstruction of justice to undermine such an investigation.

Sekulow appeared to get his talking points crossed up on the subsequent Sunday morning talk shows, and he said the president wasn’t under investigation even though Trump had tweeted otherwise.

But the Times noted:

For Mr. Sekulow, 61, the rough performance was an anomaly. He built his reputation as a constitutional lawyer for a number of evangelical Christian groups, successfully advancing First Amendment arguments before the Supreme Court to lower the wall between church and state. He has been a forceful advocate in the political arena as well, said Barry Lynn, the head of the liberal Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“Jay is extraordinarily good at explaining his side of things in the media,” Mr. Lynn said. “We’ve had hundreds of debates on television, on radio and on college campuses, and he is an extremely articulate person — the toughest adversary I’ve had in those circumstances, ever.”

Sekulow has made his case 12 times before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a best-selling author and hosts a Washington,D.C-based radio show, “Jay Sekulow Live!”

The Western Conservative Summit is July 21-23 at the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets are still on sale.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 3, 20173min464

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson — revered by the religious right, reviled by the secular left and influential for years in national politics — will be recognized by the Centennial Institute for his advocacy of bedrock conservative stands on some of the country’s most hotly debated issues.

The institute, based at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, announced today it will honor Dobson with its William L. Armstrong Award on July 22 during Centennial’s annual Western Conservative Summit. The late Armstrong, who died in 2916, was a Colorado U.S. senator and heavyweight in Colorado Republican circles. He later served as Colorado Christian’s president.

Dobson founded the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family and led it for years as president and board chairman; he stepped down from the presidency in 2003 and from the board chairmanship in 2009. During his many years at the helm, his unflinching stands on issues like gay rights and abortion — projected through his regular radio broadcasts — resonated with many Republicans and conservative Christians while drawing rebukes from many Democrats and social liberals.

Centennial Director Jeff Hunt said in a press release:

“Dr. James Dobson has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to the values that William L. Armstrong enshrined at Colorado Christian University. His passionate promotion of traditional family values, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and the original intent of the Constitution has made our nation a better place.”

This is the Armstrong award’s second year; last year, it was given to conservative radio talk-show host and author Dennis Prager.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 8, 20175min393

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.

Oh, and no Ivanka? What’s up with that?

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 22, 20172min329

The conservative Centennial Institute blasted out the email equivalent of a high-five following news over the weekend that the organizer of the annual 4/20 rally in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park will be denied an event permit for the next three years. The Colorado Christian University-affiliated thank tank and advocacy group’s director, Jeff Hunt, not only welcomed the development but also took some of the credit for it after having launched a petition drive to stop the free-wheeling pot fest:


We just received breaking news that Denver Parks and Recreation and the City and County of Denver have banned the 4/20 rally for the next three years and are fining the organizers over $12,000.

City leaders agreed with us, the 4/20 rally was out of control.

Marijuana was smoked openly and publicly, flagrantly violating both state and federal law, all while in the presence of children and infants. Civic Center Park, a national historic landmark, was left covered in trash, costing taxpayer money to help clean up. Furthermore, organizers did not provide adequate security for attendees, event staff, or the citizens of Denver. …

Centennial, which is no fan of recreational pot use and bills itself as, “Advancing Faith, Family and Freedom,” had gathered more than 4,000 signatures. Hunt turned those in to Denver City Hall last week, which he notes in his email, adding:

The Mayor and the City of Denver listened and terminated future 4/20 rallies for the next three years. We thank Mayor Hancock and Denver Parks and Recreation leadership for protecting the interests of Denver citizens.