Scott Tipton Archives - Colorado Politics
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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 15, 20185min37820

… along comes 5th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn — that uber-Republican from ultra-GOP El Paso County — and he breaks ranks.

Days after other Republicans as well as Democrats in Colorado’s D.C. delegation had sounded off with varying degrees of outrage at the U.S. attorney general’s renewed offensive against legal recreational marijuana, Lamborn’s office issued a statement by the six-term congressman on Friday that read in part:

“The federal government has the right and responsibility to uphold federal laws. I am encouraged by Attorney General Sessions’ revision of the Cole Memo. The Cole Memo was an effort by the Obama Administration to create laws by executive action through the Department of Justice, as it did with immigration, rather than to enforce laws duly passed by the legislative branch. …

… If we’re honest with ourselves, legalizing marijuana has been bad for the state of Colorado. I applaud Attorney General Sessions for upholding the law and recognizing the serious and proven harms associated with marijuana.”

Sessions announced earlier this month he and the Trump administration were backing away from a federal policy developed under the Obama administration — enunciated in the Cole Memo — that in effect had let states blaze their own paths on marijuana.  As Colorado Politics’s Ernest Luning reported the other day, both of Colorado’s U.S. senators — Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner — as well as U.S. House members from conservative Republican Scott Tipton on the Western Slope to liberal Democrat Diana DeGette in Denver bristled with indignation.

For the Colorado delegation’s Democrats, as well as Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and other party luminaries, pushing back is an easy call — another drum to beat in the “resistance” against Trump by the party that long has held a more tolerant view of pot anyway.

For Republicans, though, there are tradeoffs. The GOP for generations has been the real party of resistance when it comes to federal encroachment on state powers, a core value that dovetails with continued, broad public support for legalization.

And yet, the GOP is also historically the party of law and order, especially regarding the war on drugs — and the administration currently waging that war is Republican.

Which explains how Colorado’s Republican junior U.S. senator could be on one side, defending the “will of the voters” who legalized recreational pot:

…while Lamborn could be on the other, expressing not only support for the administration but also regret over Colorado’s voter-approved 2012 ballot issue. From his statement Friday:

The social costs of legalizing marijuana in Colorado have been steep, and the negative effects on children are particularly concerning. Since legalization, the number of calls to emergency poison control for children eight years and younger has tripled, thanks to the potency, attractiveness and availability of edibles. Youth arrests, particularly among minorities, have sharply increased. Homelessness is a rapidly growing concern. Rather than lessening criminal activity associated with marijuana, cartels have rushed into Colorado, resulting in 19 cartel operation busts in the last 18 months.

Of course, Lamborn doesn’t have to answer to all Colorado voters as Gardner must; the 5th district’s lopsidedly conservative, significantly military population is Lamborn’s constituency. And Colorado Springs itself is one Colorado city that has exercised its prerogative under the state  law to prohibit local retail marijuana sales.

Lamborn may be the odd man out in the state’s congressional delegation, but he’s hardly sticking his neck out back home.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 4, 20189min6400

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, said on Twitter Thursday he's "prepared to take all steps necessary" to block a reported move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing federal policy that has has let states legalize recreational marijuana. His Democratic counterpart, Michael Bennet, said the decision will "create unnecessary chaos and confusion."


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirDecember 28, 20173min5670

Doesn’t matter that Republicans control both the U.S. House and (just barely) the Senate; minority Democrats are convinced a GOP bill that would allow mountain bikes inside federally designated wilderness areas, including Colorado’s, is going nowhere. That’s despite the bill’s passage Wednesday on a near-party-line vote by the House Committee on Natural Resources, reports the Aspen Daily News. (Hat tip to Colorado Peak Politics for pointing us to the story.) Here’s more:

The bill, HR 1349, introduced last March by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), specifically states that it would “amend the Wilderness Act to ensure that the use of bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers and game carts is not prohibited in Wilderness Areas.”

Right now, able-bodied nature lovers are pretty much confined to hiking under the rules governing wilderness access; Democrats say wheelchairs already are allowed for the disabled.

And this is one time when the two parties aren’t splitting hairs or mincing words about their support for, or opposition to a policy. It’s flat-out, fundamentally philosophical:

“…We don’t believe bicycles belong in wilderness areas. That was the crux of the bill,” said Adam Sarvana, communications director for the committee’s Democrats. And Sarvana seemed pretty confident the ban on bikes isn’t going away anytime soon. As reported by the Daily Times:

“GOP leadership has to decide whether to bring this up for a vote of the full House, which we don’t expect to happen,” Sarvana said. “It’s not a priority for Speaker [Paul] Ryan, as far as we can tell.”

Sarvana said that’s not the only obstacle facing HR 1349.

“If it makes it out of the House it has almost no chance in the Senate,” he said. “There aren’t 60 votes for this as a stand-alone bill, and a Democratic senator would certainly filibuster it.”

Colorado contains over 3.5 million acres of federally protected wilderness spread across 41 distinct wilderness areas, according to the website Colorado’s Wild Areas.

Colorado’s Third Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton had to miss the committee vote due to a scheduling conflict, the Daily News reported.

 


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 21, 20173min11310

A Republican vacancy committee on Thursday elected Shane Sandbridge, a Colorado Springs investment consultant and former police officer, to become the next representative of House District 14. Sandridge will replace state Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, who is stepping down in January to take a job as regional administrator of the Small Business Administration.


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Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsDecember 21, 20175min2830

For those of us of a certain age, the term “snake-oil-salesman” is common to describe someone who will try to sell us something that will cure all our ills, heal our wounds and generally make our lives better with one simple product. For Coloradans that product is marijuana. At least, that’s the story the legalization crowd has been selling for many years now. What they generally don’t address is the cost to society of this miracle drug.


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Jessica MachettaDecember 1, 20175min383
Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon has announced he is running for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, reports the Post Independent Citizen Telegram. “Over the last several months, I have spoken with many people about the challenges we face in western and southern Colorado. In those conversations, the thing I’ve heard over and over is that […]

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Tom RamstackTom RamstackNovember 30, 20176min149
WASHINGTON — Colorado U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton used the West Elk Mine near Somerset as an example of unnecessary delays from environmental regulatory procedures during a congressional hearing Wednesday. The coal mine won U.S. Forest Service approval to expand its operations in September. Work to build roads and methane vents on the site is scheduled […]

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