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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 13, 20187min533
The Colorado Ethics Commission Monday spent close to two hours deliberating on the facts and issues in an ethics complaint filed against Fort Collins Republican Sen. Vicki Marble. While the commission appeared to lean toward dismissing the complaint, they decided to hold off on a vote until their next meeting on March 5. Marble is […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 7, 20172min741

Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran is putting on a town hall Tuesday night to chat with the experts and community members about the challenges of the state’s population growth.

The state Demographer’s Office said Colorado’s population was about 5 million in 2010 and could reach 8 million by 2040.

The town hall is from 7 to 8: 30 p.m. at the Girls Athletic Leadership School at 750 Galapago St. in Denver

Duran’s panel includes:

  • Will Toor, director of transportation programs for  the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.
  • Laura Brudzynski from the Denver Office of Economic Development.
  • Rick Padilla, director of housing development for the city and county of Denver.
  • Carol Hedges, director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute.
  • Jerilynn Martinez, director of marketing and community relations for the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.
  • Jack Tone, a board member of the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association.
  • Dre Chiriboga-Flor, transit organizer for 9to5.

“While growth has led to many benefits, such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need to take on the challenges that come with this growth,” Duran said. “Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, dealing with the high cost of living or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must to more to address these issues.”

Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the country and already is far behind in funding roads and schools. Lawmakers such as Duran and state Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, and Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, have taken a lead on programs that help people plan for retirement and assess pubic services.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 4, 20174min483

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner had a hard time getting his point across over liberal opponents in a series of town halls this summer, but Friday morning he’ll try again in Pueblo.

The Republican from Yuma announced Wednesday morning he will meet with constituents at the Pueblo Convention Center from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The doors open at 8:30 a.m.

“Constituents are encouraged to arrive early, as space is limited,” Gardner’s office said in a statement.

The Pueblo Convention Center seats about 1,300. The hall is located at 320 Central Main St.

Gardner was grilled on health care and the Trump agenda, in general, during town hall meetings in Durango, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Lakewood and Grand Junction last summer. Those town halls came after Democrats and other opponents staged a series of protests calling for him to hold a town hall meeting to explain his positions.

Gardner has supported failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and he has been a leading voice in the Senate calling for an appropriate response to the nuclear threats posed by North Korea.

Last month in Summit County he spoke about the need for tax reform, the latest item on the GOP’s stalled agenda under President Bush, and to relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 70.

Gardner also is likely to get questions, if not anti-GOP protests, over President Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, has supported the Dream Act. He and fellow Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Denver, are co-sponsoring legislation to defend young immigrants and provide a path to citizenship under certain conditions.

“Children who came to this country without documentation, through no fault of their own, must have the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner said in a statement this month.

Pueblo is considered in play, after being a Democratic stronghold for decades. Last year, Pueblo County went for President Trump, the first Republican presidential candidate to win there since Richard Nixon outpolled George McGovern there in 1972.

Gardner lost to incumbent Sen. Mark Udall by less that half a percentage point in Pueblo County in 2014.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 15, 20176min314

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner sized up the crowd at his town hall meeting in in Colorado Springs.

“How many people here support single-payer” health care, he asked the a packed 400-seat auditorium at Pikes Peak Community College.

Maybe 80 percent of the hands in the room went up.

And the senator’s odds of getting his points across was defined in the instance. In sports, they’re called the boo birds, the songbirds of predictable disapproval.

“I’m trying to answer,” he said at one point. “But I don’t get the chance.”

Dressed in jeans with his shirt sleeves rolled up, Gardner gamed on, at one point asking the crowd to give him a chance to answer during one of several questions about he and his fellow Senate Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“This debate isn’t about taking something away from people that’s working,” Gardner said at the first of three town hall meetings Tuesday. “… This is about making this work.”

In a chat Tuesday morning with Colorado Politics before the 90-minute town hall meeting, he called socialized medicine a “$32 trillion disaster and will not work for our country and will not work for our treasury, and certainly will not work to improve healthcare.”

Gardner told his assembled critics he was willing to work on a bipartisan solution to stabilize the insurance markets, protect Medicaid and cover pre-existing conditions, but bipartisanship is a two-way street. Gardner noted that Democrats pushed through Obamacare in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

Gardner helped draft the original Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and he voted for it on the floor, only to see it go down to defeat when his friend, Sen, John McCain, cast  the decisive vote to kill it last month.

Gardner said before the meeting health care is a heavy legislative lift, “because this is a very personal issue,” recalling the heath struggles of his mother, father and daughter. “We all have a personal connection.”

Health care was the powder keg in Colorado Springs, but Gardner and the liberals who packed the event had agreement, at least partially, on the egregious occurrences, including one death and multiple injuries, from the melee in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.

Gardner said Sunday on national TV that President Trump erred in not calling out white nationalist by name, failing to call evil by its name, he said.

The president amended his remarks Monday.

“I’m glad the president has said that there is no room in this country for hate, bigotry and racism, neo-Nazis, KKK, white supremacists, that he will not tolerate,” he told Colorado Politics. “I wish he had said that earlier.”

But when an audience member asked later if President Trump was fit to serve because of his original remarks, Gardner said Trump was duly elected.

“I believe he is fit,” Gardner began, bringing on boos.

He added, “I take it nobody here voted for President Trump.”

On energy and the environment, Gardner repeated President Obama’s earlier call for an “all of the above” energy policy, which includes coal and fracking.

“I believe we have to have a mix,” he said.

And the boo birds again took flight.

The town hall  meeting on the Centennial Campus of Pikes Peak Community College was the first of three Tuesday for the congressman on his August recess.

Liberal activists have used “Cardboard Cory,” a cutout of the senator, as a stand-in to note “the senator’s lengthy public absence and to keep pressure on him to hold open, in-person town halls and events,” according to the liberal Indivisible Front Range Resistance.

Gardner has met with smaller groups often across the state, but on Aug. 4 a traditional town hall in Durango, which was supposed to provide an update on the Gold King Mine spill cleanup, turned into a showcase for protesters on health care, as well.

The senator from Yuma has two more town halls Tuesday:

  • Greeley
    Noon to 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 11)
    University School Auditorium
    6519 18th St.
  • Lakewood
    3:30 to 5 p.m. (doors open at 2:30 p.m.)
    Colorado Christian University, CCU Event Center
    8787 W. Alameda Ave.

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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 13, 20174min263

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman will hold a town hall meeting on Aug. 1 in Henderson as protests continue over GOP-led health reform efforts.

The town hall planned for 6 p.m. at Prairie View High School follows a meeting the congressman held in April when an angry crowd assailed him, resulting in national headlines.

Protesters repeatedly hammered Coffman on health care during the April town hall in Aurora, located in the 6th Congressional District, one of the most competitive districts in the nation.

Coffman is facing a challenge by several Democrats, who are battling in a spirited primary.

Former Obama adviser Levi Tillemann announced his campaign at the end of June. Attorneys Jason Crow and David Aarestad are also filed in the race, as is Littleton resident Gabriel McArthur.

An advisory for the planned August Coffman town hall says, “During the town hall meeting, Coffman looks forward to a robust and informative discussion about all of the critical issues facing our community, state, and nation.”

Coffman also plans to discuss his upcoming legislative agenda.

Registration is required for the event. For those who can’t attend, it will be live-steamed on Facebook.

Coffman is sure to again find himself answering questions on Republican-led health reform efforts, despite trying to distinguish himself from other Republicans in the conversation.

Coffman on Tuesday sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offering an “alternative approach” to replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“I believe we all share a common objective of making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans,” Coffman wrote.

He outlined a three-step approach, including addressing Medicaid expansion through budget reconciliation, a maneuver that allows the majority to bypass a filibuster. Coffman also proposed using reconciliation to repeal the individual and employer mandates and several ACA taxes and penalties.

The second step would be to address taxes and penalties that impact wealthy Americans through a separate tax reform effort in Congress.

Coffman’s third proposal would be to tackle reform to health insurance exchanges through a separate bipartisan legislative process.

“We should take an approach that does not impact those Medicaid services unrelated to the ACA’s expansion, such as skilled nursing for seniors, services for children, and for the disabled,” Coffman wrote in the letter.

“I think we should continue the Medicaid Expansion program as an optional Medicaid program, but only if it has a cost share no different than the standard FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentages) for each respective state.

“It makes no sense to me for the federal government, under the ACA, to pay 90 percent or more for an able-bodied adult without dependent children, but 50 percent for a disabled child.”

Coffman also supports switching states to a block grant model for Medicaid expansion funding.

“We should also expect all able-bodied working-age individuals, seeking public assistance, to demonstrate that they are affirmatively taking steps to become self-sufficient,” he continued in the letter.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 18, 20175min279

Republican congressional town halls have been making headlines for weeks. Phone video of elected officials fielding angry questions and attempting gamely to defend the Trump Administration's first 100 days and policy-making stumbles on Capitol Hill go viral soon after they post. The Democratic National Committee is enjoying the extended moment, sending round-up email dispatches to members with links and videos. An dispatch sent out Thursday, titled "Must Watch Moments," features Colorado Congressmen Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn wrestling with heated questions and shouted responses. They're "feeling the heat from voters," the DNC writes in the breathless style of partisan emails from either side of the spectrum. Above links to media reports on the events and embedded video, the DNC twists the knife:


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 13, 20178min127
@Morning_Joe excerpts @NRA rated ‘A’ @RepMikeCoffman townhall, packed w/ critics + energized constituents. “No guns allowed” #copolitics — ken toltz (@KToltz) April 13, 2017 Video: @RepMikeCoffman townhall had plenty of boos tonight. Give him credit for standing up there and taking it for over an hour and a half pic.twitter.com/6hUW6gnDEx — Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) […]

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John TomasicJohn TomasicMarch 11, 20173min259

This weekend, the office of 2nd District Democratic Congressman Jared Polis announced that he expected 900 people at each of the town hall meetings he has scheduled for Sunday, one at Broomfield High School and the other at the Lory Student Center Theater in Fort Collins. Polis, an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and its cabinet appointees, is clearly relishing meeting with constituents. His enthusiasm seems spiced with at least a splash of schadenfreude.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 2, 201721min212

Next week, a Czech ensemble, Cirk La Putyka, brings its contemporary take on the circus to the stage, blurring the lines between acrobatics, dance, puppetry and music, and a couple weeks after that it’s the boisterous “Hello, Dolly!” musical that’ll be filling the theater’s seats for a two-week run. But last Saturday, Feb. 18, it was legislative updates and a lively, pointed exchange about public policy that drew a civic-minded crowd to the Lakewood Cultural Center. “There’s this thing called the Kennedy rule,” U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter said with a smile and then gestured toward the state representative, his former campaign manager, who stood a few feet away on the unevenly lit stage. “Chris Kennedy can claim it, but it’s really John Kennedy. And the Kennedy Rule came into play earlier this morning, where you pick a venue slightly smaller than the crowd you expect.”