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Regina ThomsonRegina ThomsonOctober 27, 20174min1820

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado's 6th Congressional District was named to the House Armed Services Conference Committee. In this role, the long-serving House Armed Services Committee member will work with other selected members of the House and Senate to hammer out differences regarding the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Agreement (NDAA).


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Mike CoffmanMike CoffmanOctober 26, 20174min8560

We’ve all seen the headlines about the effort to fundamentally overhaul and simplify our nation’s tax code. This long-overdue effort is one of the most important developments in Congress this year. We have not overhauled our tax code since 1986 because changing the tax code impacts everyone, which makes large changes difficult. However, much has changed since 1986. If we want a tax code that is fair, broadens our nation’s tax base and encourages rather than discourages economic growth, jobs and higher wages, we need to roll up our sleeves and take on this important challenge.


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Floyd CiruliFloyd CiruliOctober 11, 20174min2970

On Sept. 13, President Trump met with the minority leaders of their respective houses, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, over a meal of Chinese food. Reportedly, they agreed to a deal on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which included more border security without building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Though there were immediate disputes as to what was agreed to, the session offered some hope for a resolution to an immigration problem that has dogged the federal government for at least half a decade. More than 800,000 individuals are affected by a program started in the Obama administration in 2013 to protect mostly young illegal immigrants. DACA took form as it became clear that broader immigration reform was not possible.


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Kara MasonKara MasonSeptember 28, 20173min5040

Two cities in the Denver metro area are taking contrasting approaches to supporting the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which is set to end in six months if Congress doesn’t act on a permanent fix.

Aurora and Longmont were both presented with resolutions this week that asked council members to support the program that offers some protections to young immigrants that were illegally brought to the U.S. as children. But only one went through with a vote on the symbolic measures.

Monday night Aurora City Council had the chance to vote on a resolution that would have supported the continuation of DACA and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream And Grow Our Economy Act, but instead decided to move it to the city’s Management and Finance Committee for “further development,” according to a report by the Aurora Sentinel.

Councilwoman Sally Mounier, who represents one of the most diverse wards of Aurora, said she wanted a resolution that encompassed immigration as a whole, not just DACA. But drafter of the resolution Councilman Charlie Richardson said that the measure was simple and asked whether those wanting to move the resolution were really supporting deportation efforts.

In a 6-3 vote, the resolution was moved to committee. Richardson alleged that it was a move made to sidestep an official stance on the issue for those who are up for re-election this November.

It’s unclear when that measure will be back before the full council.

On Tuesday, Longmont City Council took up a similar measure, passing it unanimously.

“We in Longmont have found DACA recipients to be important and well respected members of our community, and many Longmont businesses depend upon them as valued employees,” the resolution said.

The Longmont Times-Call reported there was no discussion on the resolution, but many community members showed up to support the measure.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyAugust 17, 20173min2581

Is the American Dream dead? Some might say yes, but 73 soon-to-be American citizens who now call Colorado home might beg to differ.

The immigrants from 32 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Vietnam will take the Oath of Allegiance Thursday morning to become brand-spanking new American citizens during a naturalization ceremony at the Aurora Municipal Center.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Denver District Director Kristi Barrows will administer the oath and Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora, Mayor Steve Hogan and several city council members are among the long list of local officials slated to attend and speak during the ceremony.

The city said its Office of International and Immigrant Affairs has been working to promote the benefits of naturalization:

Efforts included the expansion of English as a second language and citizenship classes in Aurora in collaboration with local nonprofits and the launching of the “Citizenship Corners” at Aurora local libraries, which have materials to promote naturalization among immigrants and refugees in the city.

The naturalization process typically includes a background check, interview with an USCIS officer and English and civics test, according to USCIS. Immigrants have to have lived in the U.S. for five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen, before becoming eligible for naturalization.

USCIS is encouraging new citizens and their families and friends to share their naturalization experience and photos on social media using the hashtag #newUScitizen.

Aurora’s Global Fest, which celebrates cultural experiences and artistic expression from around the globe, will round out the week on Saturday at the Aurora Municipal Center.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 27, 20174min570

Remember last month when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington sent out a mass-email blasting 6th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman over the U.S. House’s version of the GOP health care plan? Standard fare for groups like the DCCC, we figured at the time — except, the missive implied Coffman had voted for the legislation when he was one of 20 Republicans in the House to break ranks with his party and vote against it.

We’d wondered if some DCCC staffer simply erred in compiling the list — the group no doubt had sent out similar screeds to the districts of numerous other House Republicans — but a spokeswoman chimed in after reading our first take and assured us, “This was no mistake. Her words.

As it turned out, it actually was just a cynical and deceptive tactic. Our words.

Looks like the DCCC is at it again. This time, they’re going after Coffman as well as Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton. Via Denver 9News’s resident political junkie (and crackerjack journalist) Brandon Rittiman:

Having been down this road before, we won’t be so naive as to suppose they were just cutting corners to save time by using substantially the same wording in the two diatribes — one regarding a Republican congressman who had voted for the much-debated GOP health plan, and the other regarding his colleague and Colorado compatriot who had voted against it. Both saddle their respective targets with responsibility for the GOP legislation; only a lawyerly reading would deduce one of the two had voted “no.”

Whether Coffman’s vote was a calculated sidestep — y’know, winked at with a kitchen pass from the House leadership so that the five-term survivor could tell his swing-voting district he had stood up to his own party — is a worthy issue. It’s also pretty much standard procedure in both parties for members in hotly contested districts.

Whether, at this point, the DCCC’s slash-and-burn e-blasts are even worth the digital bytes they’re written on — given their fast and loose wordplay — is also a worthy issue. Of course, that is pretty much standard fare for both parties, as well.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 26, 20175min697

Silly us. We newsies take things so literally. When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington blasted out a mass-email Wednesday denouncing 6th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman over the latest pending GOP health-care plan in Congress, we thought it might have been a mistake. Perhaps Coffman’s name had been inadvertently included on the group’s hit list of GOP members of Congress who voted for the contentious proposal earlier this month.

After all, Coffman actually was one of 20 Republicans in the House who voted against it. And yet, the group’s email read: “Bad news for Coffman: CBO analysis confirms disastrous impact of House Republican repeal & ripoff bill.” Oops, right?

We weren’t alone. Denver Fox 31-TV’s Joe St. George, who first alerted us to the DCCC missive, took to Twitter to point out the apparent error.

We suggested that either some intern had goofed, or — perish the thought! — the DCCC actually knew better but decided to lump Coffman in with the House GOP majority anyway, implying he voted for the plan. Because, well, there’s always another election around the corner, and the DCCC isn’t about to let slip any chance to unseat Coffman, now in his fifth term in the swing-able district.

On Thursday, DCCC Regional Press Secretary Rachel Irwin wrote us directly and cleared things up. Turns out — envelope, please — it was the latter! Not only did Irwin not shy away from it, she actually tried to make what jaded political observers might call an attempt at media manipulation seem legit. Here’s her email to us:

Following up to your post on the DCCC statement and the CBO score which made a lot of assumptions. If you don’t mind, I thought I’d take a few minutes to walk you through Rep. Coffman’s record on health care.

Let me start off by saying this was no mistake. Rep. Coffman has voted more than 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Not only that, he went on the record as the only member of the Colorado delegation to support one of the first versions of the AHCA, which the CBO projected would strip away health care from 24 million people. Rep. Coffman also took a procedural vote to move this bill forward, which helped pave the way to its passage.

That is his record and we are focused on holding Rep. Coffman accountable. Throughout his career, Mike Coffman has done a stellar job of knowing how to walk the political tight rope and make decisions based on his own political interests. Voters deserve to know that he’s already voted for the pieces in that bill – voting to raise health care costs, premiums, and eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

One vote does not get him off the hook for six years of heartless votes and failed leadership.

Feel free to call or email anytime you’d like to talk about Coffman’s race or his record.

…But isn’t the Congressional Budget Office analysis that’s at issue here about the GOP health-care plan Coffman voted against — not his other “heartless votes and failed leadership”?

Guys, keep this up, and we’re going to start taking political rhetoric with a grain of salt.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 25, 20175min2391

If you like pizza, chances are you have contributed in a roundabout way to the spectacular financial success of James Leprino and his homegrown family enterprise, Denver-based Leprino Foods. More to the point for those of us who dwell in the political world: You also have contributed in some small way to the success (or otherwise) of the Colorado Republican Party.

The 79-year-old Leprino, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at upward of $2.9 billion, is the mogul of mozzarella — a son of Denver’s old Italian community who developed his family’s humble grocery business into a multibillion-dollar, worldwide operation. Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s and Little Caesars, among others — the ones you have on speed-dial for the Sunday afternoon game or your kid’s birthday bash — wouldn’t be able to make their pies without Leprino’s cheese. He supplies them all, and you’ve no doubt consumed his product.

Not that Leprino goes around bragging about it. By all accounts, he doesn’t even talk about it — or about himself. He almost never grants media interviews, even with the business press. Which is why it’s nearly impossible to find so much as a photo of him online, and his Wikipedia page almost looks like a placeholder.

What we do know about him and his company we’ve gleaned partly from the fact that it’s hard to keep success a total secret; word gets around. But mostly, it’s from an extensive new profile of Leprino — and rare interview with him — just published in Forbes magazine online and due in print June 13. Forbes’s Chloe Sorvino characterizes Leprino not so much as Colorado’s Howard Hughes as its “Willy Wonka of cheese,” and she chronicles his company’s rise from the most inauspicious of origins:

In 1958, after larger chain grocery stores had forced the Leprino market to close, the Leprino Foods cheese empire started with $615.

It’s a classic American business success story; definitely worth a read. (By the way, he wouldn’t let Forbes take his picture, either.)

One thing that isn’t in the article is the substantial role Leprino plays in political giving in Colorado and beyond, particularly on the Republican side of the partisan divide. You’ll find that on OpenSecrets.org.

Since 1990, Leprino Foods has contributed $1,521,894 to individual political campaigns and political committees, according to the campaign-finance data-crunching website. The company also has spent $760,000 on lobbying since 1998.

And the political contributions went overwhelmingly to Republican candidates and causes.

Sure, some of it went to Democrats, too; Colorado’s senior U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet got $8,200 in the 2015-16 election cycle, and 1st Congressional District U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver got $5,400 in that period. That’s just the business of politics. You have to spread the love around.

But over the years, easily 75 to 80 percent of all Leprino political contributions went to Republicans. 6th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman got $5,400 in the last election cycle, for example, according to OpenSecrets. Leprino also gives to Republicans outside Colorado, like California U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham and Texas U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway.

Leprino may be the bashful billionaire who is reluctant to open up to the media — “I really like to keep my privacy,” he tells Forbes’s Sorvino — but in politics, where money talks, his contributions speak volumes.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 24, 20173min420

In politics as in life, there’s no pleasing some folks. Take, for example, an e-missive blasted out this afternoon by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the campaign arm of U.S. House Democrats), denouncing Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman over his vote on the latest pending GOP health-care plan.

The group’s email — no doubt one of many sent to the districts of House Republicans nationwide who voted for the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — points to a new Congressional Budget Office analysis that finds among other things the GOP proposal would threaten the health coverage of some 23 million Americans. The email asserts, “Bad news for Coffman: CBO analysis confirms disastrous impact of House Republican repeal & ripoff bill.”

Except that Coffman was one of 20 Republicans in the House to vote against the measure. You’d think the DCCC would have sent him a thank-you card or at least blown him a Twitter kiss. Instead, they dis the guy — for voting their way.

It was Denver Fox 31-TV’s political ace Joe St. George who first brought it to our attention:

OK, so was it an innocent oversight by the DCCC in the rush to beam out a bevy of e-blasts to the districts of assorted Republican congressmen? Or, given the loose wording of the barb at Coffman, was it intended to hang the GOP health-care plan around his neck by vaguely implying his involvement — even though he had come out against it?

Dirty pool, you say? Well, it is politics, after all. And Coffman’s seat is coveted — and deemed winnable by either party. Yet, he has cheated the odds and bested the Democrats in election after election.

The stakes are high, and in the era of the perpetual campaign, it’s never too early to launch the first attack of the next election cycle.