Support Planned Parenthood: and say NO to anti-choice pretenders

First of all, thanks to everyone who has pledged their support to ProgressNow Colorado Education for Colorado Gives Day next Tuesday, December 6th! We’re grateful for your help as we fight for progressive solutions to the challenges our state faces.

Today, I want to talk to you about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains–another critical progressive voice in Colorado that needs your support. Planned Parenthood is also participating in Colorado Gives Day, and we at ProgressNow Colorado Education urge you to donate in support of their work as well.

Because sadly, there are other groups participating in Colorado Gives Day who aren’t there to help women in need. Groups that work to deceive women, and take away the choices they have over their own health and lives. So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” like Colorado’s deceptively-named “Pregnancy Resource Connection” openly boast of their mission to deceive women looking for help from Planned Parenthood, and mislead women about their options.

It is more important now than ever that we stand up for Planned Parenthood and fight back against these anti-choice pretenders. We know that abortion rights are in greater danger today than at any time since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision–a decision the next President has vowed to see overturned.

In Colorado, the way to do that right now is to schedule a Colorado Gives Day donation to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. In the coming months, the fight to protect abortion rights will rage like nothing we’ve seen in a generation–and Planned Parenthood has to be ready for it.

Thanks for everything you do to stand for our shared progressive values and the organizations that fight for them. Your support matters more than ever today.

Act before it’s too late for overtime pay!

Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas “temporarily” blocked President Barack Obama’s new overtime rules, which would have given millions of the hardest-working Americans a fairer deal for the long hours they put in. Preventing the new overtime rule from taking effect means the next President avoids the blame for taking millions of dollars in earnings away from American workers who need it most.

It’s a terrible swindle just in time to get buried by a long holiday weekend.

We’re running out of time to fix this before President Obama leaves office. This misguided ruling must be reversed now. Sign our petition: tell the Obama administration’s Labor Department to immediately appeal to a higher court and fight to the last day they’re in office.

The rules governing overtime pay for millions of salaried American workers haven’t been updated in 40 years. That’s the reason workers making as little as $24,000 a year can be exempted from overtime laws. The new rules would have put money into the pockets of over four million middle class working Americans starting December 1st.

Now it’s not going to happen, and we have to speak out. Salaried workers making between $25,000 and $50,000 per year are the heart of our economy–the next aspiring middle class, young families and professionals, made up of Americans of every ethnicity and background. If we can’t protect the American Dream for these hardworking Americans putting in 60, 70 or more hours per week thanklessly, what kind of country are we going to leave to the next generation?

Help us send the message right now that our fellow Americans deserve better. Tell President Obama’s Labor Department to do whatever it takes to implement the new overtime pay rule.

Thank you for taking action on this critical issue.

What you can do

capitolLast week’s election was a disaster for America. Today, millions of Americans from all walks of life are rightfully afraid for the future, for their families, and for their safety, and wondering how the country they love could have made such a terrible choice.

Here in Colorado, things went a little differently. Colorado rejected Donald Trump, and sent Michael Bennet back to Washington to fight for our values. Colorado grew a progressive majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, and passed a ballot measure to raise the wage for thousands of our state’s workers to $12 an hour. We also passed funding for our schools in many local districts, and created a new compassionate option for the terminally ill to ease their suffering.

Progressive ideas won in Colorado on Tuesday night. In an election that has left many of us questioning our nation’s most basic values, Colorado voters reaffirmed what it means to be Americans. In Colorado, we understand that when our neighbor is successful, so are we. When we invest in education, social justice, public health, and the environment, we all lead better and more prosperous lives. When we respect our differences instead of letting them divide us, we are all stronger.

What comes next? We have to stand together for what we believe in no matter what the politicians in Washington do. Colorado can be a model for fixing the problems America faces. Sign up now for rapid-response alerts to help us respond.

Once you’ve signed up for action alerts, connect with local organizations working on issues important to you. In Colorado, we have a wealth of strong public policy and advocacy groups working every day to solve problems our community faces, protect our rights, and build a prosperous future. Donate, join their lists, volunteer; we’ve got to start now if we’re going to fight back against what the newly emboldened right-wing in Washington is going to try to do to us:

(more…)

Melissa’s Story

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado Education, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, scored a viral hit with a new video ad highlighting the story of a Colorado single mom who “can’t survive on $8.31 an hour.” The video has been viewed over 60,000 times in less than 48 hours on social media.

“Everyone in Colorado needs to hear Melissa’s story,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “But the truth is that thousands of Colorado families deserve better for the hard work they do every day. They deserve to be able to feed their family and pay their bills. No one who works hard in Colorado should live in poverty. We need a wage in Colorado that Melissa can count on to feed and shelter her children.”

“Hard-working Coloradans earning minimum wage are not just kids working summer jobs, they are real people trying to support real families,” said Silverii. “Colorado has acted to raise the minimum wage before, but it hasn’t kept pace with increases in the cost of living. We know that low-wage workers who get a raise plow that money right back into the economy, which benefits us all. But most importantly, families are better able to afford the necessities of life they work so hard to provide.”

“Telling the stories of families like Melissa’s will help Coloradans understand that the talking points pushed by pundits and the special interests who want to keep wages low hurt real people who work hard every day,” said Silverii. “Colorado can’t get by on $8.31 an hour.”

ProgressNow Colorado Board Votes To Oppose Amendment 71

After studying the details of Amendment 71, the “Raise the Bar” statewide ballot measure that would make constitutional amendment ballot initiatives substantially harder to qualify, the ProgressNow Colorado Board of Directors has voted to oppose the measure. ProgressNow Colorado’s opposition to Amendment 71 comes after numerous nonpartisan public policy groups have announced their opposition in recent days.

“Having struggled with the consequences of the misguided 1992 TABOR Amendment for decades, we share the frustration of those who say our state’s constitution is too easy to change,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Unfortunately, Amendment 71 goes too far to restrict the basic rights of Coloradans to enact, modify and repeal laws through statewide ballot measures. The goal may be worthy, but the measure as written is simply overkill.”

“Having worked in the Colorado legislature for years, I know firsthand that referred measures from the legislature to voters solve problems–sometimes urgent problems,” said Silverii. “Holding referred measures to the higher ‘majority-plus’ bar Amendment 71 demands for citizen-initiated measures creates yet another impediment to our lawmakers doing their jobs.”

“Above all, making it harder to qualify measures for the Colorado ballot without effective campaign finance reform will not reduce the attempts by special interests to modify the constitution,” said Silverii. “All it does is raise the price tag to qualify, ensuring that only the wealthy and well-connected can afford to participate in the initiative process, rigging the system for big special interests and against ordinary Coloradans.”

“We may agree there’s a problem with irresponsible permanent changes to Colorado’s constitution,” said Silverii, “but Amendment 71 is not the solution.”

ProgressNow Colorado Opposes Amendment 69, Calls For Nationwide Health Reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: From NARAL Pro Choice Colorado’s Karen Middleton, we’re watching for coverage of today’s presser:

I am here today to restate our opposition and to make it perfectly clear that without comprehensive women’s health care, including insurance coverage for abortion care, this measure will not serve women and families in Colorado and is not in fact, universal.

In 1984, Colorado voters passed a constitutional ballot measure that explicitly bans any public funds to be used for abortion care…

Because Colorado Care would be subject to Section 50 as a “political subdivision” of the state, Colorado Care would be prohibited from providing coverage for any abortion services to women except when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman.

This means that presently insured women – more than 550,000 women of childbearing age in Colorado – who, today, have insurance coverage for abortion services as part of their contracted benefits today, will lose access to abortion coverage benefits if Amendment 69 passes. This is not an abstract figure. It includes me, many of my staff, NARAL supporters and average Coloradans.

—–

In the wake of studies from NARAL Pro Choice Colorado and the Colorado Health Institute revealing significant unintended consequences that could result from the passage of Amendment 69, the Board of Directors of ProgressNow Colorado voted to oppose the ballot measure despite broad agreement with the ColoradoCare campaign’s stated goals.

“The first thing I want is to acknowledge the goals and passion of the supporters of Amendment 69,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has expanded access to healthcare for millions of Americans, we know more work is needed to ensure every American is affordably covered. Too many people remain uninsured and underinsured. As a result, far too many people in this country die prematurely from preventable and treatable conditions.”

“The truth is, nothing would make progressives in Colorado happier than taking a bold step toward single-payer health care,” Silverii said. “But there are real policy problems with Amendment 69 that its supporters did not anticipate. When our trusted partners on the issue of protecting reproductive choice tell us that a measure could create serious roadblocks for women who need abortions, we have to take that seriously. When one of the state’s leading health care research organizations tells us this is a plan that doesn’t work fiscally, we have to take that seriously.”

“While we agree with supporters of Amendment 69 that more reform is needed, there is so much good news on health care in Colorado we need to be talking about,” said Silverii. “Thanks to Obamacare via the state’s visionary Medicaid expansion and the launch of Connect for Health Colorado, we have cut the uninsured rate in our state in half. Instead of abandoning the progress we’ve made in Colorado in recent years, we need to focus on protecting the gains we’ve already made–and building on that progress instead of starting from scratch.”

“Amendment 69 is a well-intentioned but flawed proposal,” Silverii said. “Let’s move forward in 2017 with reform on a national level, and let the success we’ve already enjoyed in Colorado be a model to be proud of.”

Who gets to be on Colorado political television?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado is always interested in the voices that speak for us. Those voices most commonly are the ones elected to represent us, but they can also include those in the media. In this case, we took a look at the media and at political punditry in Colorado in a project we are calling the Colorado Pundit Project.

The project outlines the results of the project and what we found after documenting all of the appearances on Colorado television and radio by political pundits over the last couple of years as well as looking at their demographics.

The study examines the demographics of pundits appearing on Colorado political media through the lenses of race, gender, age, political party, highest level of education attained, and occupation.

Even we were surprised by the results. Check out the full infographic below to see what we found.

(more…)

Spoof Ad Sets Record Straight: Mike Coffman is “One of Them”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a paid television ad for Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has aired for several weeks claiming Coffman is “one of us” and “not like other Republicans,” ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a parody of Coffman’s “One of Us” ad to correct the record about what Mike Coffman really stands for.

“From his attacks on Social Security, abortion rights, immigrant voting rights, and even questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship and allegiance to our country, we know that Mike Coffman is not ‘one of us’–he’s ‘one of them,’” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Coffman is running scared from his long far-right record because he understands that the voters are tired of Donald Trump, and the backward far-right agenda Trump and Coffman have always shared for our country.”

Watch ProgressNow Colorado’s parody ad here. To see Coffman’s original ad, click here.

ProgressNow Colorado’s video parody, which is running now as an online advertisement on major social media and news sites, recounts numerous moments from Coffman’s long record in Colorado politics, including:

  • ∙ Mike Coffman once introduced himself to a crowd at a Tea Party rally as “a proud member of the Party of No.” [1]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman supported legislation in Congress to “redefine” the crime of rape to make it harder for rape victims to get an abortion. [2]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman agrees with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.” [3]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman said “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people.” [4]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman told a group of Republicans that President Barack Obama “is not an American.” [5]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman told bilingual voters to “get a dictionary” while trying to restrict access to bilingual ballots. [6]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman doesn’t believe in climate change. [7]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman didn’t take action on the Aurora VA hospital cost overruns for years while the problem got worse. [8]

“Mike Coffman has built his political career on appealing to the same ugly elements of American society that Trump is motivating for his presidential run,” said Silverii. “Coffman can’t claim to be ‘not like other Republicans’ after he spent years proudly advancing the far right’s agenda in Congress like every other Republican. Now that Trump is destroying the Republican brand, Coffman must own his appalling true record–and face the consequences in November.”

Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn: No Daylight Between Them

After failed GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz stopped at Denver International Airport for a brief event supporting U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn today, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, highlighted extreme statements from both Cruz and Glenn that could have been spoken by the same person.

“Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn are two of America’s most radical politicians,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Darryl Glenn’s agenda is so close to Ted Cruz’s that often it’s impossible to tell the difference. Cruz is so far out on the fringe of American politics that even his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate can’t stand him. Glenn is even calling for a position on the Supreme Court bench for Cruz, which would be an unprecedented disaster for the entire nation.”

Here are a few quotes from Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn:

Darryl Glenn: “Climate change, we can debate that until the cows come home, for lack of a better way of stating that. The bottom line is, I do not believe that man is contributing to that factor.”

Ted Cruz: “The satellites that actually measure the temperature, that we’ve launched into the air to measure the temperature, they have recorded no significant warming whatsoever for the last 18 years.”

Darryl Glenn: “Now listen up Planned Parenthood–if there is any taxpayer money going to support the dismemberment of our babies, I will vote to defund you!”

Ted Cruz: “I intend to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood, even while investigations continue. The time for show votes is over.”

Darryl Glenn: “One thing I am tired of hearing is that Republicans need to reach across the aisle! We need to stand up and lead, ladies and gentlemen!”

Ted Cruz: “It is amazing that the wisdom of the chattering class to the Republicans is always, always, always ‘Surrender your principles and agree with the Democrats.'”

“Darryl Glenn is offering Colorado more of the obstruction and vitriol that is turning the next generation off from politics in general, and has paved the way for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination for President,” said Silverii. “Ted Cruz’s endorsement of Glenn is a warning to every voter in Colorado. If you support Darryl Glenn, you support more dysfunction and failure in Washington.”

Terror, hate, and guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The shocking violence committed against LGBT Americans in Orlando this weekend has horrified us all. This weekend’s attack on the Pulse nightclub brought together the combined threats of terrorism, gun violence, and bigotry our nation faces today.

Is it time for the nation to follow Colorado’s model on gun safety? Click here to say yes.

Here in Colorado, we took action after the Aurora theater shootings to reduce the threat of gun violence. In 2013 we tightened background checks, limited gun magazine capacity, and made it harder for dangerous domestic violence offenders to have guns. Our state’s painful history of mass murder has forced us to take the lead in finding solutions to gun violence.

No law has perfect compliance. Criminals by definition are lawbreakers. But in Colorado, we know that our gun laws have saved lives. In 2015 alone, over 7,700 criminals attempting to buy guns in Colorado were stopped by universal background checks–including 22 arrested or convicted of homicide, 17 for kidnapping, and 130 for sexual assault. In addition, 251 fugitives attempting to buy a gun were arrested on site. [1] We know that a pause to reload a semiautomatic weapon saves lives in mass shootings. And we know that protecting victims of violence from more violence is the right thing to do.

Sign our petition now: it’s time for the nation to follow Colorado’s lead. It’s time for America to get serious about stopping gun violence. And hatred of LGBT Americans. And terrorism that threatens us all.

Racist Republicans must resign

Republican Rep. Scott Tipton says there’s “no room for racism” in his party. But from Donald Trump to Delta County, Colorado, their words and actions prove that’s not true.

Sign our petition demanding that racist Republicans in Colorado step down or are removed by party leadership if they refuse.

Last month, Delta County Republican Party chairwoman Linda Sorenson posted this unacceptable, racist image to Facebook of President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee being nursed by former President Ronald Reagan. In an interview with Salzman, Sorenson admitted to posting the item in question and said she does not “care if people are offended by it.” A few days later, Sorenson’s vice chairman claimed Sorenson’s account had been “hacked.” Since that time, Sorenson has refused interviews.

On Friday, Colorado GOP chairman Steve House told the media that he “will not be asking anyone to resign” over Sorenson’s blatant racism.

As Donald Trump makes headlines with his own racist attacks on anyone who stands in his way, local Republicans in Colorado are proving that the problem runs far deeper than Trump.

Enough is enough. Stand up to racism in the Republican Party now. Tell Linda Sorenson that if the Republican Party won’t call out her unrepentant racism, the rest of Colorado will.

And above all, remember in November: it’s not just Donald Trump.

“Liar Keyser’s” Fraudulent Campaign Must End

With a lawsuit underway seeking to disqualify scandal-plagued Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser after extensive petition fraud by Keyser’s campaign was uncovered by ProgressNow Colorado, [1] the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization called on Keyser to end his campaign immediately to preserve the integrity of Colorado’s election system.

“Jon Keyser’s refusal to accept responsibility for his campaign’s unprecedented petition fraud is an insult to every Colorado voter,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “As of today there are at least sixty signatures for Keyser that are suspected to be forged, in a congressional district where he only cleared the minimum threshold by twenty signatures. It is increasingly clear that the fraud committed by Keyser’s campaign is what produced the signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot.”

“Jon Keyser’s excuse that he might have other rejected signatures he can ‘re-qualify’ ignores what’s really important: we have a candidate on the ballot in Colorado thanks to petition fraud,” said Franklin. “That precedent cannot be allowed to stand. Keyser’s disgraceful fingerpointing at subordinates and contractors, instead of taking responsibility for his campaign’s fraudulent actions, proves that he has no place representing Colorado in the United States Senate.”

“Keyser can’t possibly win an election now, and continuing to run even as petition fraud allegations have consumed his campaign shows nothing short of contempt for the integrity of our elections,” said Franklin. “Instead of releasing TV ads he can’t afford and that fact-checkers have already called out as truthless, [2] it’s time for Keyser to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race–and devote his full attention to cooperating with criminal investigators as they determine the full extent of his campaign’s attempt to defraud the voters of Colorado.”

“It’s time for this madness to end,” said Franklin.

Presenting The 2016 Rep. Doug Bruce “Kicker Award” Winners!

(Let the 2016 recaps begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As the Seventieth Colorado General Assembly’s final session comes to an end this week, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today presented the inaugural Rep. Doug Bruce Awards, known in shorthand as the “Kicker Awards,”–given to lawmakers who commit the worst gaffes, embarrassments, outrages, and other lowlights in the course of their official and/or political duties.

“As one of Colorado’s most disastrous state lawmakers in addition to the author of the dysfunctional TABOR amendment, convicted felon tax evader Doug Bruce is the perfect namesake for our ‘Kicker Awards’ given to Colorado’s worst legislators,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Bruce remains a hero among conservative lawmakers, even while he sits in prison over his conviction for tax evasion. Its therefore possible our Doug Bruce Award winners will display their trophies similarly as badges of honor.”

Sen. Laura Woods: Worst Endorsement

All the way back in January, Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada led the way among Colorado elected Republicans throwing their support behind Donald Trump. Woods told Republicans her first two choices were Donald Trump or Ted Cruz months before Trump secured the Republican nomination, which is another way of saying months before it was cool to support Donald Trump. Woods deserves credit for predicting who her radical right friends would support, but voters in her swing suburban district won’t be impressed. [1]

Rep. JoAnn Windholz: Worst Social Media Post

In the aftermath of the domestic terror attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last November, Rep. JoAnn Windholz posted to Facebook a shocking unscripted tirade in which she outrageously blamed the victims for the killings. Women in Windholz’s district cried shame and Republican strategists were horrified at what this meant for defending her vulnerable House seat, but Windholz has refused to apologize for her statements. [2]

Rep. J. Paul Brown: Worst Flip Flopper

Colorado’s groundbreaking program to supply young and low-income women with long-acting reversible contraception has dramatically reduced the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado, but conservatives have opposed the program on ideological grounds at every step. This year, Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio pulled the biggest flip-flop of the session after he voted to strip funding from this important program after initially supporting it. Brown said he “just felt like” changing his vote because he could see many of his fellow Republicans opposing it–perhaps the most honest and most pathetic excuse for reversing course on legislation in Colorado history. [3]

Rep. Kevin Priola: Worst Missed Vote

Rep. Kevin Priola voted against legislation that would have renewed a law that allowed parents to attend academic events with their children for years. But before he voted against Colorado families with school-age kids, Priola actually requested a delay in the vote on the bill–so he could take his own child to a doctor’s appointment. Voting against families with children is one thing, voting against families after expecting special dispensation for your family is hypocrisy in rare form. [4]

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg: Worst Offensive Statement

During debate over legislation in the Colorado Senate, right-wing Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg referred to his colleague Sen. Kerry Donovan, who happens to be female, as “eye candy.”

We sincerely hope it is not necessary to explain why this is offensive. [5]

Sen. Bill Cadman: Worst Puppet

Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman has presided over the most divisive and obstructionist Senate majority in over a decade. Cadman’s pack of far-right Senators have killed so many good bills since taking power by one barely-won seat in 2014 that it would be impossible to list them all. But in 2016, Cadman finally admitted who dictates the backward agenda in the Colorado Senate: the Koch brothers-funded “astroturf” group Americans For Prosperity. Cadman said “I don’t think I would be the president of the Senate” without AFP, and that he looks “forward to continuing our partnership.” Cadman even hired AFP Colorado’s former spokesman to be his own, and stood by while AFP attacked Republicans who dared to break from the party line. Under Bill Cadman, the Colorado Senate doesn’t even work for Colorado Republicans anymore–it’s under radical new management. [6]