Maybe — and we’re just spitballing here — but maybe Colorado Republicans would be more successful at winning elections and advancing policy goals if they didn’t spend so much time being complete assholes.
Take State Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron), for example. This morning in the House Chambers, State Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial) came to the microphone during the “Announcements and Introductions” period to talk about his continued commitment to gun safety and the success of the Red Flag legislation in Colorado in preventing deaths from firearms.
“I’m here to remind you daily what gun violence looks like,” said Sullivan. “Whether you listen or not, I will continue to come to this microphone and tell you about its impact.” Sullivan’s son was among 12 people killed in the 2012 Aurora Theater Shooting, and he has since devoted much of his time to the pursuit of stronger gun safety measures.
After Sullivan stepped down from the podium, House Speaker Alec Garnett (D-Denver) politely reminded colleagues that the “Announcements and Introductions” period should not be used as a platform to promote individual policies or beliefs. Holtorf promptly ignored this reminder and marched up to the microphone to talk about how Sullivan really just needs to put his son’s violent death behind him.
We are not making this up:
Here’s what Holtorf said, and how his disgusting diatribe came to an end:
REP. HOLTORF: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you fellow colleagues. I will tell you that all of us have suffered loss in our lives — either at the hand of violence, or at the hand of what we see as this virus. But here’s the most important thing we must remember: Scripture tells us that when something is taken away from us, we must understand that maybe there is a time when God needs the spirit of those children to do something in heaven.
Now I have suffered loss in my life, but I have learned not to hold bitterly onto that loss and never let go. I would ask all of us to consider, that as we hold onto, for whatever reason, that loss, let us not be vengeful. Let us not be mean-spirited. Let us not be callous, coarse, or divisive. Unfortunately I continue to see this. [Pols emphasis]
If I took with me what I saw when I went and deployed to defend the Constitution of the United States, and I did…and many of us that have served come home and we are bitter. We are angry. We are vile, and we seek to destroy what we saw destroy our brothers and sisters.
But let me tell you, the most important lesson I learned, and I offer this to my fellow colleagues, particularly the one who just spoke, that you have to let go…[Pols emphasis]
SPEAKER GARNETT: Representative Holtorf…
HOLTORF: [turns] Yes, sir.
GARNETT: Let’s just…again…
HOLTORF: Thank you, sir. I will yield to the Speaker. Thank you for your leadership, sir.
It takes a special kind of guttersnipe to publicly admonish a colleague for not “letting go” of the fact that his son was murdered in a movie theater by a deranged man who was armed to the teeth.
This is certainly not the first time that the supremely-weird Holtorf has taken to the microphone to spout verbal diarrhea; indeed, it is something he has done with regularity since being appointed to fill a vacancy ahead of the 2020 legislative session. Just last May, Holtorf suggested that lawmakers worried about COVID-19 were sissies, and objected to mask-wearing requirements and remote participation availability in the House of Representatives by saying that these measures would make it difficult to discern if he himself were drunk.
We had wondered if new House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) might be able to do a better job than previous leader Patrick Neville at getting control of the lunatic fringe of his caucus. We are no longer pondering that question.