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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 22, 201722min18790

Congressional candidate Darryl Glenn likes to tell a story about a woman he met at a farmer’s market earlier this summer. “She was an older black lady, independent,” he says. “I stopped by and introduced myself, and she was like, ‘You’re a — Republican?’” He scowled like he was sniffing a carton of milk that had turned. “‘I’ve never seen a Republican,’ she said. ‘Why should I even listen to you?’ And I was like, ‘Ma’am, I just want to have a conversation with you.’” Then he leans in, animated at the memory of their exchange.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 21, 20175min18610

The man who made Conservation Colorado the engine of the state’s environmental movement is pulling out of the station. Pete Maysmith is becoming the senior vice president of campaigns for the national League of Conservation Voters.

Since taking over as executive director of the then-little-known Colorado Conservation Voters in 2009, Maysmith has led the organization to become the largest and most effective environmental organization in the state with 36,000 members, Colorado Conservation Voters merged with the Colorado Environmental Coalition, four years ago to become Conservation Colorado, an organization that enjoys a seat at the table with policymakers working on clean energy, public lands and the first statewide water management plan, among its initiatives.

Conservation Colorado spent $1.3 million on elections last year, winning 90 percent of the races in which it endorsed candidates.

“Pete has been a passionate defender of the landscapes and natural environment for which Colorado is famous, as well as an amazing organizer of the public to make sure these lands are protected,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statment. “It’s hard to imagine all that he will do at the national level. The quality of our air and water is in good hands.”

Said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver: “Under Pete’s leadership, Colorado has seen many notable conservation victories. We can always use more Colorado commonsense leading the way, and Pete’s knowhow combined with the League of Conservation Voters’ political muscle will help bring the issue of climate change to the forefront.”

Carrie Curtiss, Conservation Colorado’s deputy director, will serve as acting executive director through the end of the year, at which time she’ll leave after 11 years with the organization. Conservation Colorado will perform a national search for an executive director.

“We are so proud of Pete and the wisdom, tenacity and endless energy he has brought to Conservation Colorado,” Diane Carman, chairwoman of the organization’s board, said in a statement. “The fact that our national partner has recruited him speaks volumes about the power and success of this organization. Conservation Colorado is strong, healthy, and will work harder than ever to pass visionary environmental policies and elect pro-conservation candidates in 2018. We wish Pete the best and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Maysmith has been on the League of Conservation Voters board since 2015, doing electoral work with its Political and Campaign Committee. He’ll step down from that role to work for the league full-time.

“In the new reality that is the Trump administration, now more than ever we need to build our organizing and political power to ensure that our elected officials represent our values,” Maysmith stated. “I’m thrilled to take on the challenge of building the conservation movement nationally and in other states, and together we will fight the forces that seek to pollute our air and water and undermine our right to a healthy environment. I am certain that the organization is in good hands, and I will be cheering them over the coming months and years.”

Maysmith will be based in Colorado.

He will oversee the League of Conservation Voters’ federal and state independent electoral programs, as well as grassroots organizing and advocacy around issues.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Pete onboard as staff after serving a key role on our board and as a state leader,” Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation voters said. “Pete brings a record of success that will help us channel the energy the public is feeling right now to stand up to the most anti-environmental president in history and elect real environmental champions up and down the ballot in 2017, 2018 and beyond.”

In a statement released by the league, Maysmith said, “The need to have leaders in Washington and the states who will fight for our clean water, clean air, clean energy and public lands is clearer than ever before, and LCV’s two million members and state partners in 28 states stand ready to take back pro-environment majorities.”


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 19, 20175min4780

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet roasted a last-ditch attempt by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare Tuesday as worse than the GOP's previous effort and contended the legislation could derail bipartisan work to repair the nation's health care system. “I can’t decide whether this is Groundhog Day or the definition of insanity: every attempt is worse than the last," the Colorado Democrat said in a statement.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 14, 20175min2410

Two Lakewood Republicans are considering whether to challenge U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter's bid for a seventh term in the 7th Congressional District, Colorado Politics has learned. Jerry Natividad, who mounted a brief campaign last year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, and Mark Barrington, who has run for legislative and city council seats, both said they're thinking about running for the seat — particularly after Perlmutter said in April he was running for governor and wouldn't seek reelection, then dropped from the gubernatorial field in July and then declared in August he was back in the congressional race.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 13, 20173min2150

Michael Bennet, Colorado’s senior senator, wants to protect non-citizens who have volunteered to serve in the U.S. military as the Trump administration gets tough of immigration policy.

Bennet is cosponsoring an amendment to shield the legal immigration status of those enrolled in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest.

A backlog of background checks already has thrown up to 1,800 non-citizen recruits into risk of being discharged. Current law automatically forces out recruits after two years if they haven’t completed basic training, which can’t start until the background check is completed.

Those in the program are deemed to have skills critical to the military. He said the U.S, armed forces include more than 800 service members who are beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. the so-called Dream Act.

The bill is the latest maneuver in Democrats’ struggle over immigration with President Trump, who announced last week that he would end DACA.which has shielded young non-citizens who were brought the U.S. as children, as long as they are bettering themselves.

All of the bill’s co-sponsors are Democrats: Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Dianne Feinstein of California, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Politico reported Tuesday night that the Democrats might not press too hard, however, to get the measure into the National Defense Authorization Act, the bipartisan bill that funds the military. They don’t want to anger Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, the Republican from Arizona.

McCain has been willing to stand up to Trump on immigration matters and provided a crucial vote to defeat Republicans’ repeal and replace effort against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in July.

If that’s the case, the amendment serves as a political reminder of those Trump hopes to deport.

“The men and women serving in our military through the MAVNI program are willing to risk their lives in defense of our country,” Bennet said in a statement. “We cannot allow bureaucracy to threaten these service members’ immigration status—that would be a disservice to the commitment and patriotism they have displayed in choosing to serve in our Armed Forces.”

Bennet’s amendment would require that those recruits to allowed to remain in the Armed Forces until the completion of background checks and security screenings, “regardless of how long the screenings take,” Bennet’s office said.