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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 22, 20185min1285

A bipartisan organization pushing ballot measures to change the way Colorado draws its legislative and congressional boundaries announced the support Monday of a number of groups representing rural, minority, business and civic reform interests. Fair Districts Colorado, a group chaired by Kent Thiry, the CEO of kidney dialysis giant DaVita Inc., said it now has the backing of Progressive 15 and Action 22, associations representing 37 counties in northeastern and southeastern Colorado, respectively; the African Leadership Group, an advocacy organization for African immigrants; Clean Slate Now, a group devoted to campaign finance reform; and Colorado Concern, an association of some of the state's top business executives.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 3, 201810min789

The battle is heating up over how Colorado draws its legislative and congressional boundaries. After failing to knock out a pair of proposed redistricting and reapportionment ballot measures in court, a rough coalition of mostly liberal and good-government groups filed competing ballot measures in late December and is vowing to take the choice before voters this fall — potentially a case of, if you can't beat 'em in court, join 'em on the ballot.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 7, 20174min939

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.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 2, 20175min507

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.