After spending eight months as a Republican, Kent Thiry, the multimillionaire CEO of Denver-based dialysis giant DaVita Inc., has changed his voter registration back to unaffiliated with the hope of combating excessive partisanship, Colorado Politics has learned.
In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins walked through the doors of Masterpiece Cakeshop hoping to buy a cake for their wedding reception. When the owner refused citing religious objections the same-sex couple sued.
Behind every millionaire who aims to leave his mark on politics is a skilled political operative with the seasoning and savvy needed to make things happen. Hence, dialysis giant DaVita’s CEO, Kent Thiry, who is newly minted chairman of the nonpartisan redistricting reform coalition Fair Districts Colorado, can lean on Alan Philp.
The veteran Republican utility player — who among his many callings has been regional political director for the Republican National Committee and for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; deputy chief of staff to former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, and policy director to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — has been around the block a time or two.
Philp, a longtime consultant, was in on the ground floor of Fair Districts when it started in 2015 and, in an emailed update to prospective supporters and donors last week, said, “We are moving into a new phase of this project.” The letter elaborates:
Our measures are working through the Title Board, and in January or February we expect to start the expensive process of collecting signatures. Davita CEO Kent Thiry recently came on board as Chairman of the effort.
The reform proposal Fair Districts aims to petition onto the statewide ballot …
… will make Colorado a model for reform nationally: a balanced commission that includes independents, a supermajority requirement to pass maps, transparency, nonpartisan staff drawn maps, neutral criteria for map-drawing (including drawing competitive districts, where possible). If you want to see the text of the measures (I would read #67 and #69), see our press releases, learn more, or link to articles about the effort, please go to www.fairdistrictscolorado.org.
There’s also the ask, of course:
Please contribute and/or help identify potential contributors. We can accept unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations, etc. This will be a multi-million dollar effort. To date, we’ve been able to operate on a very modest budget, since most of our team members are unpaid. But now legal costs will mount, as we work through Title Board and court challenges. Our team needs to raise $200,000 in the next 45 days.
(Contributions can be made online via the aforementioned website or by a check in the mail to: Fair Districts Colorado, P.O. Box 19730, Denver, CO 80219.)
And while Philp hails from the Republican side of the fence, Fair Districts points to its bipartisan headliners: not just the Republican Owens but Democratic former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, as well. There’s also Republican former Colorado Speaker of the House Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch as well as former Democratic Speaker Pro Tem Kathleen Curry of Gunnison.
Herding cats? Whatever the challenges in building and maintaining the coalition, Philp is no doubt familiar with the terrain.
Are you confused about President Trump’s tax reform plan? How does it differ from the current tax plan? What about the $487 billion deficit? Our nation’s health costs that total $1.2 trillion (that’s trillion)?
In cooperation with the Bi-Partisan Policy Center, we’ve developed the Federal Balancing Act — an interactive tool to help all of us understand the current budget. It’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of the president’s proposals and the congressional debate if we don’t understand the current budget and tax brackets.
Kent Thiry, CEO of the dialysis company DaVita, has been named chairman of a nonpartisan redistricting reform coalition. Fair Districts Colorado, which last week filed three proposals for ballot initiatives on redistricting, announced Thiry would lead the coalition Wednesday.
The chief backer of a ballot measure to allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in Colorado primaries cheered Saturday's decision by state Republicans to go ahead with next year's primary under the new rules rather than cancel the election.
Colorado's Republican National Committee members are joining the chorus of GOP stalwarts urging the party's central committee to reject a proposal to opt out of the primary election next year rather than allow unaffiliated voters to participate.
The wealthy executive who championed a ballot measure to let unaffiliated voters cast ballots in Colorado primaries is urging state Republicans to defeat a proposal to scrap next year's primary election and instead nominate candidates at party assemblies.
The week in Colorado Politics included a lot of stories from Washington, D.C., and Denver that will impact across the state. The political jockeying for next year’s elections continue, while health care, military service and the Motor City Madman found their ways into the headlines.
Here are the stories from Colorado Politics that our staff thinks will continue to be important in the days, weeks and months ahead.
5. Gardner sees a silver lining in GOP healthcare stagnation
For much of the debate over Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner was coy about how he might vote on the one-sided GOP proposal, even though he was one of the senators who helped draft it in private. He ultimately sided with his party as its proposals failed this week. Ever the optimist, Gardner also saw a victory in Democrats finally admitting their one-sided Affordable Care Act needs bipartisan TLC. “I’ve always urged Democrats to work with Republicans in a bipartisan manner,” Gardner said.
Read the full story here.
4. DaVita boss Kent Thiry won’t run for governor
DaVita CEO Kent Thiry flirted with a run for governor as a Republican, a party he joined just days before his people talked to Colorado Politics in April about the possibility he might jump in. But this week, Thiry announced he’s thought better of it and will stay on the sideline next year instead.
3. The Nug gives George Brauchler the nudge in governor’s race
The 1970s rocker who is the belligerent voice of heavy-metal hunting across America says George Brauchler is the man to lead Colorado. Motor City Madman Ted Nugent, with no obvious ties to Colorado, endorsed the Arapahoe County district attorney last week and called for “real American shitkicker BloodBrothers in Colorado” to support him, too. Is this good for Brauchler?
2. Bennet calls Republicans scared and disgraceful
Colorado senior Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Denver, emerged as one of the most forceful and vocal opponents to Republicans’ (ultimately failed) efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare this past week. “In Colorado, people want politicians who don’t say one thing during the campaign and another thing when they govern,” Bennet said of President Trump’s promise for comprehensive and compassionate care.
1. Coloradans outraged by Trump plan to ban transgender military service
While Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and one of his Republican primary challengers, state Sen. Owen Hill, were good with President Trump’s tweeted proposal to ban transgender people from serving in the military, Colorado’s Democratic leaders were aghast by the notion.
After spending millions of dollars last year to make it easy for unaffiliated voters to help decide primary races in Colorado, DaVita Inc. President and CEO Kent Thiry, a Republican, announced Monday he won't be running for governor next year but said he plans to support candidates and causes in upcoming elections.