The Unity Party of Colorado decided at its first meeting as an official minor political party that it wants unaffiliated voters to have the chance to vote in its primaries — and the party's founder welcomes a primary challenger in his run for governor next year.
The party also tripled the number of candidates running under its banner, party officials announced last week, albeit growing the field from one declared candidate to three.
This week’s Colorado political news touched on a little bit of everything, seemingly: a new state party, a career opportunity for a high court justice, shoddy construction and cops’ rewards for crime busting.
These are the Colorado Politics stories our staff thinks you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks, months and years to come:
5. Welcome to the party, Unitarians
Incremental though it may be, it’s always history when a new political party officially joins the fray. Colorado Politics’ All-Night Party has never made the cut. This week, however, the Unity Party of Colorado cleared the 1,000-member hurdle to be an officially sanctioned minor party in the state. Unity joints the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the American Constitution Party. Maybe if Colorado Politics gets a band for the All-Night Party, we can get a thousand members.
One of the few remaining groups still thinking about asking voters for a new tax to fund much-needed transportation projects in Colorado in November said this week they won’t do it this year. The coalition of contractors like their odds better in 2018. Meanwhile, the Independence Institute could still ask voters to force lawmakers to address major interstates in the existing state budget.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed surprisingly controversial legislation to press law enforcement on publicly disclosing all the proceeds and assets they collect in civil cases. Law enforcement uniformly fought the bill, saying it was arbitrary and could endanger important sources of federal money they receive.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that when a builder and a homeowners association sign a contract, the HOA members can’t vote to change it. The issue could have log legs in determining how construction defects deals are struck and enforced.
1. Colorado Justice Allison Eid nominated to federal bench
An 11-year member of the state’s highest court, Allison Eid would be the first woman to serve on the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Colorado and a bunch of other Western states. Whether it was a consolation nod or not, she still has to get through the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver could play a pivotal role.
After logging more than 1,000 members earlier this week, the Unity Party officially became a minor party in Colorado, Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced, and its founder couldn’t be happier.
“This is very exciting,” said Bill Hammons, who has appeared on the ballot four times on the ticket and is running for governor in next year’s election. He’s also the state and national chairman of the party.
Littleton resident Gabriel McArthur says the reason he’s seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District is because Democrats can’t “articulate clearly and loudly” what the party stands for and shouldn’t assume that criticizing President Trump will be enough to attract voters.
A group of local residents petitioned the Colorado Springs City Council on Tuesday to adopt policies that would make the city a safe harbor for undocumented immigrants.
Yes, THAT Colorado Springs. Don’t worry; the world hasn’t shifted on its axis; Donald Trump is still president; Colorado’s 5th Congressional District is one of the safest Republican seats out of all 435, and the Springs and surrounding El Paso County remain as red as a rare steak.
Turns out it was the local Green Party — not exactly a contender in Pikes Peak region politics — that made the pitch this week to the Colorado Springs City Council. As The Gazette’s Rachel Riley reports:
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders tightening immigration policies, the Green Party of the Pikes Peak Region has drafted a proposal to make Colorado Springs a “sanctuary city” — a term that has no set definition, but is often used to describe a city that is friendly to undocumented immigrants and refugees and does not use municipal funding to enforce federal immigration law.
Of course, as Riley notes:
Council members did not respond to the proposal or related comments made at Tuesday’s meeting.
Meaning, they were checking their email.
Alongside all of this, as The Gazette also points out, is the fact that every city is a “sanctuary city” to some degree, regardless of its political stripe — from Colorado Springs to Boulder and back. There are limits as a matter of standard procedure to what any local law enforcement agency is going to do to help the feds police immigration:
A week after Trump was elected, Lt. Howard Black, a spokesman for Colorado Springs Police Department, told The Gazette that the department does not seek out, detain, or investigate individuals on the sole basis of their immigration status. However, if police have information about someone who is suspected of a serious crime being in the country illegally, they will report the person to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
The department had “no plans” to change its protocols under the Trump administration, Black said in November.
At least when it comes to law enforcement, Colorado Springs seems to be as much, or as little, of a sanctuary city as any other.
Meanwhile, it likely will continue to be a sanctuary for Republicans for the foreseeable future.
Colorado Libertarian candidate Lily Tang Williams will share the stage at the first U.S. Senate debate on Saturday in Grand Junction between Michael Bennet, the incumbent Democrat, and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, his Republican challenger.
A social justice advocate and self-proclaimed radical, Arn Menconi said he spent 20 years working within the political system, trying to affect change through the Democratic Party, serving locally as an Eagle County Commissioner for eight years and campaigning for numerous party candidates, among them Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
But after watching Democrats like Bennet take what he labeled as an apathetic approach to the endless wars and accelerating climate change, Menconi left the party for greener, and more progressive pastures, changing his party affiliation to the Green Party.