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Hal BidlackHal BidlackJune 1, 20186min489

I was carrying a large brown envelop when I made my first visit to the office of Congressman Doug Lamborn. It was in the summer of 2008, and I was the Democratic candidate running against the Congressman. I had received the mysterious envelop in the mail the day before. It had no return address. Upon opening it, I found a CD and an unsigned note that said the disk contained the “private strategy of Doug Lamborn’s campaign.” That was unexpected. But regardless, I knew there was only one honorable thing to do, which is how I ended up in Mr. Lamborn’s office the following day.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 13, 20182min2121

The appointment of a self-described secular humanist to the Navy chaplain’s corps is drawing protests from Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and 45 of his congressional colleagues. They’ve spelled out their objections in a letter to the Navy.

Lamborn’s office alerted the public and press to the development in a news release Monday, noting the letter by the House members urges the service branch to reconsider the appointment. The Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory board has reportedly recommended Dr. Jason Heap to serve as a non-religious chaplain.

The appointment would flout the fundamental purpose of military chaplaincy, Lamborn and the other co-signers contend:

The chaplain corps is historically a religious institution that should meet the religious needs of service members. The secular-humanist worldview that Dr. Heap ascribes to does not meet the requirements of the original designation of the role to facilitate religious belief. Not only is this a redefinition of the role, underscored by NDAA report language in 2014 and 2016, it also goes against the Supreme Court’s previous ruling that non-religious beliefs are not protected by the Religion Clauses.

The letter itself states in part:

“The chaplain corps serves religious needs, not philosophical preferences, and the Department of Defense would be shirking its constitutional duty if it were to inappropriately expand — and thus dilute — the chaplain corps.

Lamborn’s office posted the full letter here.


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Kara MasonKara MasonJanuary 26, 20183min534

The 5th Congressional District’s U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn took to Cañon City this week to recap what had happened during the federal government shutdown: The Democrats “caved in” while Republicans stood for “principle,” he reportedly told a room of Fremont County Republicans.

The Cañon City Daily Record was on hand Tuesday to record Lamborn’s remarks. His district includes the town southwest of Colorado Springs.

Lamborn said Democrats knew they didn’t have a chance at passing an immigration plan, and that everything was “put aside” for the 800 “illegal kids” — young adults who have some protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival order — living in the 5th CD.

“That’s the Democrat priority for you,” Lamborn reportedly told the crowd. “It’s not the American people’s priorities, it’s not my priorities, and it’s not your priorities.”

Likewise, Lamborn said there are 25,000 children insured through the Child Health Plan Plus living in his district and more than 50,000 people employed by the federal government impacted by the three-day shut down.

After President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama-era DACA executive order in September, Lamborn signaled in a statement he was ready to negotiate border security, saying he was encouraged by Trump’s “commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration” and that he opposes “any type of amnesty.”

“But I also want to find meaningful solutions to this difficult problem, solutions that uphold the rule of law, protect our country, and ensure fairness in our immigration processes,” he said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate over the next six months to achieve these objectives and fix our broken immigration system.”

The Daily Record reported that Lamborn said the press wasn’t much help in the shutdown either.

He said during the deadlock, Republicans stood up for principle.

“Public opinion was so strong, they finally had to give in,” he said. “Of course, the press is going to help the Democrats by blaming Republicans, and the liberals are not going to be reasonable, they’re not going to entertain the thought that they might have been in the wrong.”

Before taking off, Lamborn called the GOP tax plan a “once-in-a generation accomplishment.”

He also promised he’d give Speaker Paul Ryan a petition from the county party that urges Republican leadership to pressure Democrats into attending next week’s State of the Union address.

Ironically, Lamborn himself boycotted former President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address.


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Hal BidlackHal BidlackJanuary 26, 20186min499

Regular readers of my columns (and I want to thank both of you) may recall my previous ruminations on representation as well as on hypocrisy. On representation I mulled over whether an elected senator or congressperson should vote in accordance with the will of the people (the “delegate model” of doing things) or should vote for what he or she feels is in the long term best interest of the citizens, even if it is not the current majority view of the folks back home (the “regent model”). Regarding hypocrisy, well, I really, really dislike it.


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Hal BidlackHal BidlackJanuary 17, 20186min329

On May 22, 1856, a man was brutally beaten with a heavy metal-capped cane. The attacker approached his target from behind, and then repeatedly crashed his cane into the skull of the seated victim, who tried to rise, bloodied and dazed. The assault continued for a full 60 seconds, until the victim was unconscious, and was carried from the room, as the attacker walked unchallenged from the scene of the crime.


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Kara MasonKara MasonAugust 1, 20173min1813

Eight German exchange students headed for Salida got a taste of increasing political tensions regarding immigration policy in the U.S. over the weekend.

Before being detained at Denver International Airport, immigration officials “insisted they (the students) were coming in and taking work away from U.S. citizens, which is illegal since they have no work visa,” Susan Masterson, who has coordinated the exchange program for six years, told the Salida Mountain Mail.

Masterson said she was at the airport when the students were detained.

The students that planned on spending three weeks in the southern Colorado mountain town ended up spending Friday night in a detention facility. Meanwhile Masterson said she was in contact with state Rep. Jim Wilson, the governor’s office, Congressman Doug Lamborn’s office and Sen. Michael Bennet’s office.

But none could prevent the students, all 18 years old, from being deported back to Germany. Immigration enforcement officials determined the students were attempting to enter the country on the wrong visa, a tourist visa.

Masterson said she was blown away by the outpouring of support from different agencies. The Mountain Mail reported that Masterson wrote in a letter to the German families Lamborn’s office did everything they could to help, but “nothing could be done.”

“We’ve never had a problem like this before,” Masterson told Colorado Politics, adding that she has connections to the German school the students were coming from and hasn’t had a visa problem any of the years since she began the program.

So, was the incident a result of the contentious political climate surrounding immigration?

“Oh I think so,” Masterson said. “Controls have definitely tightened.”

The students have returned to their families, Masterson said. But “they don’t have a very good impression of our country.”

Masterson said she’s hoping to get the community to send some sort of letter to the students, so they know they’re welcomed in Salida.