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Jeff BriggsJeff BriggsJune 20, 20186min811

The Bureau of Land Management is scheduled to lease mineral rights for oil and gas exploration on 11 land parcels totaling 18,358 acres in Huerfano County come this fall. Four of the parcels border the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area and all 11 are within eight miles of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Every one of those 18,358 acres makes up drainage for the upper Huerfano River Basin and are connected to the Arkansas River system.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandMarch 16, 20187min935

The issue of harassment at the state Capitol took a turn Friday, when a Democratic member of the House claimed he'd been harassed by another member, a fellow Democrat, and threatened to call for an expulsion resolution. Rep. Donald Valdez of La Jara took to the House microphone Friday morning to complain that he had been harassed by another lawmaker. He didn't identify the lawmaker, however, Colorado Politics learned the other lawmaker was Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora.


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Kara MasonKara MasonFebruary 8, 20183min754

Last April, U.S. Potato Council CEO John Keeling sent a letter to President Donald Trump outlining some ways the new administration could improve the potato industry.

Mostly, Keeling said NAFTA could use some work, but pulling out of the agreement altogether would be catastrophic for potato farmers, such as the ones nestled in Colorado’s San Luis Valley where Keeling spoke this week for the 2018 Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference and Trade Fair.

In last year’s letter Keeling said:

The potato industry believes that potato exports to Mexico could grow to $500 million annually with full unrestricted access for all U.S. fresh and processed potatoes. Those same conditions would produce exports of Canada of $300 million annually. These increased sales would generate additional jobs on-farms, in agricultural processing, in transportation and other related sectors. As potatoes are produced in 35 states these new U.S. jobs would occur throughout rural America.

So, how’s the president doing? Keeling reported to the conference in Monte Vista on Tuesday that while there’s been some major changes in the White House, there’s also a lot of the same.

Alamosa News reports:

For example, he said although congress passed the tax bill, it did so in too much of a hurry and did not think it through thoroughly or give it the attention to detail it required, which resulted in some problems that will have to be remedied.

At last year’s conference Keeling anticipated that the Trump Administration would enact regulatory reform, as that was one of Trump’s goals.

“The Trump Administration has brought a new attitude towards regulation,” Keeling said.

Keeling told the audience a shakeup at the Environmental Protection Agency has been a positive change, as has some related executive orders on regulations, according to the news report.

Another hot topic for the potato farmers at the conference was immigration.

“We need a comprehensive reform, need border security, need guest worker workforce that can work in agriculture, come to this country, work and go home and some way to keep people working in agriculture who might not be completely documented,” Keeling reportedly said.


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Jessica MachettaDecember 4, 20174min1238
A record number of people are moving out of Colorado, according  to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. About 193,000 Colorado residents moved to other states last year, 10,000 more than in 2015. Where are they moving to? According to the data, the biggest percentage of them headed for Washington state, with other destinations being […]

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Scott TiptonScott TiptonSeptember 12, 20178min739

Over the month of August, my team and I traveled over 1,700 miles across the 3rd Congressional District and state of Colorado, making over 30 stops to discuss the most pressing issues facing our nation. I had the privilege of visiting with local economic development leaders, county commissioners, school boards, health care providers, veterans groups, substance abuse professionals and many others — including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. He visited the Gold King Mine site on the two-year anniversary of the toxic spill to reassure the community that the EPA is prioritizing cleanup of the site and will make those impacted by the spill whole.

There are a few themes that I heard throughout the month no matter where I was, and it is clear that jobs and the economy, health care, and the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic are top of mind for many Coloradans.

In Colorado, we have a tale of two economies. While resort towns and major metropolitan areas are thriving, there are many communities on the Western Slope, Front Range, and in the San Luis Valley where families are struggling. The legacy of heavy-handed federal regulations is still preventing the private sector in these communities from creating jobs and supporting economic security.

According to the Small Business Administration’s 2016 statistics, small businesses support 49 percent of Colorado’s workforce. Small businesses are truly the backbone of our state’s economy, and we must do everything we can to support entrepreneurs and job creators. Unfortunately, a 2014 study by the Brookings Institute showed an alarming trend: in recent years, the number of small businesses that have shut down exceeds the number that have opened their doors. Nowhere has this trend been felt more profoundly than in rural America, where small businesses are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all jobs.

As a former small business owner, my focus in Congress has been on advancing policies that will create an environment where we see more businesses opening than closing each year. When more businesses open, struggling families have more job opportunities and a better chance at achieving financial stability.

While it takes time to undo nearly a decade of harmful regulatory policies, we are making progress on this front in the 115th Congress. So far this year, Congress passed and the president has signed 14 congressional resolutions of disapproval that roll back unnecessary, overly burdensome federal regulations, and the House passed the REINS Act (H.R. 26), which would require Congressional approval of any regulation that would have an economic impact of $100 million or more. Although we still have a long way to go, I am confident that we are heading in the right direction to deliver more job opportunities and economic stability to families in the 3rd Congressional District.

The Colorado Division of Insurance recently announced that premiums in the state’s individual health insurance market will increase by 26.7 percent on average in 2018. This is on top of the 20 percent increase in 2017 and 24 percent increase in 2016. The trajectory is unsustainable and unacceptable. We must repeal and replace the so-called Affordable Act and bring affordable health insurance to the 3rd Congressional District.

In May, the House made important progress towards this goal by passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill would drive down the cost of health insurance and bring competition and choice to the market, while ensuring that individuals who have pre-existing conditions maintain access to affordable health insurance. In addition to the AHCA, the House also passed bills to begin medical tort reform — an issue that needs to be addressed in order to drive down health care costs — and allow small businesses and associations to provide insurance options for their employees or members across state lines, which will give individuals and families more choices when it comes to their insurance coverage. These bills were the Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215), Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 1101), and the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 372).

The Senate has not yet passed the AHCA or a health care bill of its own that would allow both chambers to compromise on final legislation. It is beyond time for the Senate to act.

As I have traveled our district to speak with the men and women who work on the front lines of the opioid abuse epidemic, it has become clear to me that Colorado has some of the most dedicated doctors, nurses, counselors, and substance abuse professionals in the country. The president recently declared the opioid abuse epidemic a national emergency, and I have been committed to ensuring our communities have the resources they need to develop and sustain prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

In 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) were both signed into law. These bills authorized programs to provide states with more resources to expand opioid abuse prevention and treatment efforts. As a result of these bills, Colorado received $7.8 million to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services, and the Department of Health and Human Services has made $75.9 million in competitive grants available to state mental health and substance abuse agencies.

I continue to receive feedback on how the federal government can better support Colorado’s efforts to fight the opioid abuse epidemic, and I’m committed to incorporating this feedback into policy decisions that are made in Washington.

Congress has a full agenda between now and the end of the year. If you have any questions about bills that are up for a vote or my work on your behalf, please do not hesitate to give my office in Washington, DC, a call at 202-225-4761. You can also write to me on my website, www.tipton.house.gov.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 28, 20175min387

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We tend to avoid blogging about the many press releases we get from Colorado’s Washington delegation “announcing” some grant or new funding stream to some program or another back home in Colorado. It’s not that we don’t think the programs themselves merit news coverage or that Colorado isn’t happy to have the extra funding; it’s that, typically, the lawmakers had about as much to do with dispensing the money as did any of the rest of us. They’re just looking to get some good press out of sharing the news.

Given the prevailing partisan acrimony in our nation’s capital, however, we’re happy to make an exception for a joint press release issued today by the offices of Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner. To have a Democrat and a Republican appear together in the current climate on any announcement that isn’t a legal notice — or a fight card — is refreshing in its own right. What’s more, the topic in this case is something we all can agree on — one of Colorado’s most distinguished cash crops, the potato. Here’s the gist:

The Colorado State University (CSU) will receive $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the integration of new technologies to manage potato pathogens in North American potato crops.

It’s welcome news, of course. It also gives us an excuse to post this fetching video on potatoes from Colorado’s famed San Luis Valley — and there’s not even a remotely political reference of any kind in it. Take a moment to view it and enjoy:

And here’s the rest of the press release, verbatim — our gift for the week to Bennet’s and Gardner’s press shops:

“Congratulations to Colorado State on receiving this grant to improve the treatment and management of potato pathogens,” Bennet said. “Potatoes are a critical part of our agricultural economy in Colorado. This grant is an investment in research that will assist potato growers across the country and protect future potato production”

 “It is critically important that the Department of Agriculture is working with our nation’s universities like Colorado State to support research that will assist our farmers with crop production,” Gardner said. “I’ve been a proud supporter of agriculture research through National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and believe this grant will be an asset to our potato farmers throughout Colorado.”

Bacterial potato pathogens such as blackleg and soft-rot cause significant crop losses on farms throughout the country. This grant will help integrate advanced technologies to manage and reduce the spread of these pathogens.  In June, Bennet and Gardner announced that Colorado State received a $264,600 USDA grant to study the spread of a new bacterial pathogen in U.S. potatoes. Together, the two grants will support critical efforts to protect U.S. potato farms.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsAugust 2, 201614min408

With the official nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, longtime Democrats and progressive political activists on Colorado’s Western Slope are grappling with the impacts on down-ballot races in a post-Bernie Sanders world. Some candidates and party officials are predicting a Democratic exodus of disaffected Bernie backers to the Green Party, while other say millennial voters will come to their senses and pivot to Clinton once the prospect of GOP nominee Donald Trump becoming president settles in.