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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 24, 20185min336
A weekly look at what goes on behind the scenes at the General Assembly, who pops up from time to time and what Capitol M finds either amusing or interesting.   Blast from the past…lots of former lawmakers show up at the Capitol from time to time, from those who have gone over to the […]

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 11, 201813min723

I'LL SEE YOUR BERNIE AND RAISE A JOYCE FOSTER ... The battle of the bold-faced names is on in the House District 9 Democratic primary, where three-term incumbent state Rep. Paul Rosenthal is facing two candidates seeking to dislodge him from the southeast Denver seat. Less than a week had passed since Bernie Sanders — yes, that Bernie Sanders — endorsed Rosenthal challenger Emily Sirota when Rosenthal rolled out a Bernie endorsement of his own from Bernie Steinberg — yes, that Bernie Steinberg — to counter it.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 8, 20184min1849

Rep. Paul Rosenthal has two primary challengers in his re-election bid in House District 9, but he doesn’t lack support from fellow Democrats close to home.

Rosenthal has key endorsements from former State Sen. Joyce Foster, Denver Councilwoman Kendra Black, Denver Public Schools board member Anne Rowe, and RTD board member Claudia Folska.

Rosenthal said his campaign slogan is “Building Coalitions, Getting Results.”

“Over the years, I’ve seen Paul lead in this community, especially on climate change, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ and affordable housing issues,” Foster, also a former Denver city councilwoman, said in a statement. “He’s a good man who works hard, cares deeply, and has helped so many people. What I really admire is how he connects with people at his innovative events and brings individuals and groups to the Capitol to meet legislators. We need responsive people like Paul in the legislature.”

Rosenthal is seeking is fourth and final two-year term in the House representing the southeast Denver district. He faces primary challenges from Emily Sirota and veteran Ashley Wheeland.

The race will be one to watch. Last year a Democratic campaign operative accused Rosenthal of touching him improperly at a party. The charge was dismissed after an House investigation, as the allegation pre-dated Rosenthal’s service in the legislature. He denies it ever happened.

Last week, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders endorsed Sirota, as did state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, former Denver Public Schools board members James Mejia and Jeannie Kaplan and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Rosenthal’s campaign joked that he was endorsed by Bernie, too — “long-time and well known HD9 Democratic activist also named Bernie, namely Bernie Steinberg.”

Rosenthal’s campaign noted in a statement his endorsements were “from progressive leaders and activists who live in — or have led — in the area of House District 9.”

“My friends, neighbors, and constituents in southeast Denver know me well,” Rosenthal stated. “They know how I’ve been devoted to helping people, especially students who deserve more recognition for their success, refugees, LGBTQ and those struggling families who need assistance to get ahead.”

His other endorsements from Democrats within the district include: Dr. Faye Rison, Ron and Bobbi Morrow, John Stoffel, Mike and Elizabeth Bono, Roger Armstrong, Ted and Deborhah Dreith-Calloway, Dianne Tramutola-Lawson, Lee McDonnell, Kathy Steinberg, Larry and Cynthia Gallegos, David and Myra Rieger, Steve Bennett, Harry Bailis, Julie Friedemann, Kip Sleichter, Sam Valeriano, Ben and Selene Gochman, Gayle Stallings, Sarah Shirazi, Sandy Mandel, Londa Coddington, Dorie Furman, Peter Kandell and George Harding, Cecilia Mascarenas, AJ Shaikh and Eddie Valle, Scott Bates, Barry Cohen, Bert and Diane Hansen and Deborah Barnard among others, the campaign said.

He also has been endorsed by fellow legislative Democrats, including Sen. Angela Williams of Denver, Rep. James Coleman of Denver, Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver, Rep. Joann Ginal of Fort Collins, Rep. Edie Hooton of Boulder and Rep. Donald Valdez of La Jara, as well as Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 25, 20184min876

The Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado held its annual opening reception this week. Also celebrated as the Historic Eight, this delegation is made up of six House and two Senate members working collectively to create and track legislation focused on Coloradans of color.

The intimate event took place at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood, rightfully so. Five Points is nostalgically known as the “Harlem of the West,” once serving as the epicenter of Denver’s thriving black business and social scenes.

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Three of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado members who gathered for a legislative preview this week are , from left, Reps. Tony Exum Sr., Jovan Melton and James Coleman. (Photo by Gabrielle Bryant/Colorado Politics)

Legislators, community members and supporters packed the third floor of the library to hear about the concerted effort the BDLC is putting toward policy during this session.

“I know this Black Caucus and, particularly, Janet Buckner, and all of them are actively trying to be sure that our K-12 system is the best it can be for the students they represent,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley.

Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora is also working on legislation aimed at helping Colorado kids get access to reduced copay lunches. The Expand Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act would, “allow school districts to increase access to a healthy meal during school hours for 1.4 million more students. Because hunger knows no age.”

Healthcare, housing, business and technology are also among the issues the BDLC are tackling this session.

“These are people who have their ear to the ground…listening to what people are saying and what they need. Because of that, they have special expertise to devise policy that is cost effective and can really make a difference in the community. That benefits everybody in Colorado. ” said Aaron Harber, host of “The Aaron Harber Show.”

Members of the BDLC are Sens. Angela Williams (chair)of Denver  and Fields, as well as Reps. James Coleman of Denver, Leslie Herod of Denver, Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs, Janet Buckner of Aurora, Dominique Jackson on Denver and Jovan Melton (vice chair) of Aurora.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 11, 20183min1202

Sure, there were all the opening-day rituals under the Dome on Wednesday — speeches, promises of bipartisanship and warm greetings among almost all of the 100 members, who insisted they were happy to see one another again. But then there’s the real business of the General Assembly: making laws (well, and killing legislation; plenty of that, too).

And the House Democratic majority got down to business the same day, releasing its caucus’s first five bills — enunciating some of their top priorities for the 2018 session. An announcement from the Dems’ press shop boiled it down to, “work-life balance, rural education, the opioid epidemic and college education credits.”

Or, as House Speaker Crisanta Duran put it:

“A major goal this session is to create more opportunities for Coloradans to turn their hard work into economic security. …These bills are part of a much larger agenda to preserve and enhance our Colorado way of life.”

Here’s the legislation — a lot of it with bipartisan sponsorship — as read across the House clerk’s desk:

  • HB18-1001/Reps. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Matt Gray, D-Broomfield – Creates an insurance programs that allows more Coloradans to take paid time off to care for a sick parent or loved one without having to quit their jobs, or risk being fired.
  • HB18-1002/Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale – Enables students in the final year of a teacher preparation program to receive stipends for teaching in rural school districts with teacher shortages. The first of several bills to address the rural teacher shortage.
  • HB18-1003/Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood – Authorizes grants for education, screening, intervention and prevention services to address the opioid epidemic, which is now the leading cause of accidental death among Coloradans 55 years of age and under. Part of a package of opioids bills from a bipartisan interim committee being brought by Reps. Pettersen, Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.
  • HB18-1004/Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver – Extends a tax credit for donations to child care facilities to help increase the availability of quality child care providers in Colorado.
  • HB18-1005/Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan – Expands notification to students and their parents about concurrent enrollment opportunities, so high school students can get a jump on their college educations.