Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 18, 20189min595

TREASURER HUNT ... There are six Republicans running for state treasurer, and if current trends continue, primary voters could have nearly that many to choose from in June. Two of the candidates — Denver businessman Brian Watson and state Rep. Polly Lawrence of Roxborough Park — have turned in petitions, which are awaiting verification but were both gathered with the assistance of top-notch firms, so chances are decent they'll both make the ballot.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 28, 20174min2226

Tay Anderson, the 19-year-old who lost an election for a Denver Public Schools board seat last month, says in a Facebook video posted Wednesday that he hasn't picked a gubernatorial candidate yet — because none of the Democrats running have enunciated a specific set of progressive positions Anderson says are required to get his endorsement.


Angela EngelAngela EngelOctober 23, 20177min2615

It’s time to vote out the Denver Public School board and vote in a new slate committed to kids and community. Since 2005, the DPS leadership has adopted a free-market business model in governing public education. Under the guise of quality control, neighborhood schools serving the most vulnerable populations have been closed, veteran educators have been replaced, and students have been exploited and displaced.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 18, 20173min921

The progressive Run for Something organization announced this week it's backing several Colorado candidates for municipal office, school boards and legislative seats. The national group, which aims to recruit and support "talented, passionate young people" — up to age 35 —  "who will advocate for progressive values" is getting behind dozens of Democratic candidates in 18 states in its initial round of endorsements, part of what organizers call an effort to build a bench in down-ballot races the traditional party apparatus often ignores.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 18, 20175min708

Her name is almost synonymous with “liberal” in Colorado political circles. The indelibly Democratic Barbara O’Brien has served in many capacities over the years, including as Colorado’s 47 lieutenant governor with Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, 2007-2011.

The onetime calling with which she is still most identified, of course, is as longtime director of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, the unapologetically left-ish children’s-advocacy mega-group whose for-the-kids appeals on assorted policy initiatives over the decades have been music to the ears of legislative Democrats and cause for tooth grinding among Republicans.

Now the vice president of the Denver Public Schools board, she’s still advocating for kids, still doing so in the midst of Colorado’s lopsidedly Democratic capital city, and she is taking plenty of shots at a Trump administration — and particularly its polarizing education secretary — of whom she is no fan.

So, when she asked to address a rally planned for Wednesday morning at the Capitol in protest of an anticipated visit to Denver Thursday by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, O’Brien was, as one would expect … turned down?

Her campaign (she’s running for re-election to the DPS board) confirmed it. Attempts to get the organizers of tomorrow’s rally to comment have been unsuccessful so far.

So, what gives? Maybe it’s that O’Brien, as reliably left of center as she always has been in general, is not in sync with an influential faction of her tribe when it comes to one of her own touchstone causes: education reform. She and her fellow DPS board members have championed a range of innovations over the years, including “innovation” schools and charter schools, which have rankled teachers unions.

Organized labor and especially public-sector employee unions like the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the Colorado Education Association, comprise a cornerstone of the Democratic Party’s power base. The unions are also helping run the Wednesday rally.

Which translates to, “No podium for you!” It wasn’t put that way, of course; an O’Brien campaign staffer said the rejection was vague; something about the roster being full.

The speakers list on the event’s Facebook page includes a number of union reps and teachers in the union. It also includes another candidate for the Denver Public Schools board — Tay Anderson, the precocious 18-year-old student body president at Denver’s Manual High School, who drew media attention when he announced his run this spring.

Anderson, whom we were unable to reach, is the lead organizer of the Wednesday protest, and he set up its Facebook page. The youthful candidate also is, by all indicators, running against the prevailing reformist agenda on the school board.

O’Brien shared her thoughts on the affair via a campaign staffer who texted her comments to us:

“One of the most frustrating things about politics is when all candidates agree on the same thing but won’t embrace each other in the shared mission … It is always disappointing to be excluded because of politics, but I won’t be excluded from standing up and fighting against this administration’s harmful policies. This is about kids, and I will do everything to fight for their rights and equal treatment.”

UPDATE FRIDAY JULY 21: A Facebook post this morning by Anderson clarifies that O’Brien was welcome to attend the rally even if she wouldn’t be able to address it.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 14, 20174min389

To (very) loosely paraphrase von Clausewitz in advance of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos’s anticipated visit to Denver next week: Just about everything nowadays is the continuation of politics by other means. At least, as far as “The Resistance” to the Trump administration is concerned.

OK, so the von Clausewitz reference was a bit clunky, but the point here is that the superheated, super-motivated opposition to all things Trump is not about to pass up any opportunity to publicly protest the administration’s agenda. The appearance of DeVos — much derided by the left for her embrace of conservative doctrine as well as her billionaire status — provides as good an opening as any.

DeVos is expected to address fellow conservatives at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council July 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency Denver. But according to a report this week by Chalkbeat Colorado, the secretary — narrowly confirmed by the U.S. Senate amid heated debate earlier this year — first will have to run a gantlet of unfriendlies:

A “Denver RESISTS DeVos” protest, meanwhile, is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday outside the state Capitol involving multiple groups. The protest is being promoted on a Facebook page hosted by Tay Anderson, a 2017 Manual High School graduate who is running for a Denver school board seat. It’s part of a broader “ALEC resistance” effort that includes a “teach-in.”

The Colorado Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is planning to make signs that morning, take part in the protest and then march to the ALEC meeting at a downtown hotel, according to its Facebook event page.

John Ford, president of Jefferson County Education Association and a scheduled speaker at Wednesday’s protest, said in a statement via email that “voucher schemes and other failed reforms” DeVos will promote are not welcome in Colorado.

Meaning, she will encounter two cross-currents of anti-Trump activists during her visit — those union-backed opposition to her position on education issues, and critics of ALEC. Quite a welcome wagon.