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July 15, 2021 01:23 PM UTC

What Does Blue Do For You?

  • by: Colorado Pols

Back in May, we wrote in this space about reporting from The Colorado Sun related to how Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were going about trying to secure federal funding for important local infrastructure and community projects in the wake of relaxed rules on “earmarks” in the new Congress.

Colorado Republicans in the House of Representatives have insisted that they will NOT participate in “member designated projects” or “community project funding requests” as part of some sort of narrow-minded protest against the earmark process in general. In March, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) even penned an Op-Ed for Newsweek in which he stated that “earmarks go hand-in-hand with corruption.”

Perhaps realizing that not supporting local projects is a bad look, Buck has since “Buckpedaled” on his opposition to earmarks with mealy-mouthed language about how he “supports” efforts by the City of Greeley to obtain funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Greeley Regional Interchange Project. Of course, Buck could have just made the funding request himself, but that would have conflicted with his efforts to pretend that he is ethically superior to other Members of Congress.

The point here is that while Colorado Republicans are shaking their fists at some mythical “Earmark Goblin,” Democrats in the House of Representatives are doing a LOT of work to move along important infrastructure and community projects in their home districts.



Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County), for example, helped to push through federal funding that will assist in making roadway and bike lane improvements on Federal Parkway; removing and replacing the I-70 Eastbound and Westbound bridges over 32nd Avenue; widening State Highway 72 (Indiana Street); and improvements to Wadsworth Blvd. and Colfax Ave. If you live in Arvada, Golden, Wheat Ridge, or Lakewood, you know how significant these improvements will be for your daily commute. Perlmutter also secured funding for 10 community projects (CPF) in CO-07, including body cameras for the Thornton Police Department; improvements to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport; multimodal improvements to State Highway 93; and renovations for a new pediatric health clinic in Commerce City.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) promoted infrastructure projects that will revitalize the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver and replace miles of decades-old light-rail track, switches, and concrete flatwork throughout Denver’s light-rail system. DeGette’s CPF requests includes money to help the City of Denver convert an old hotel into lodging for homeless residents; the creation of more affordable housing in Montbello; and assistance for Urban Peak in building a homeless shelter for children.


Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) secured money to improve the Interchange at I-25 and Belleview; the intersection at Easter and Havana in Centennial; and the expansion of Gun Club Road in Aurora. His CPF requests include expanding services to domestic violence victims in Adams County; renovating the Village Exchange Center Facility;  funding for at-risk intervention and mentoring projects; and money for the Aurora Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center.

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) helped push through funding for improvements to the Frisco Transit Center; State Highway 119; State Highway 52; State Highway 14; US 36; and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70 that a good number of Coloradans will travel through at least once this year. His CPF requests include funding for domestic violence services in Adams County; support for a mechanical engineering partnership between Colorado State University and Adams State University; emergency operations in Gilpin County; wildfire risk reduction throughout CO-02; and a rural outreach partnership program run by the University of Colorado.

By comparison, Republican Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation made sure that local communities in their districts RECEIVED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Lauren Boebert have brought $0 federal dollars back to their districts and local communities in 2021.


Guess who loses when Reps. Ken Buck, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) refuse to participate in the process of procuring federal funding for local and community projects? The people who live in their district, that’s who.

(In Lamborn’s case, we’re not including any money that was spent on allowing his adult son to live in a storage room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).

And who benefits from this refusal? Nobody, really, other than a couple of conservative grouches who work for anti-spending think tanks somewhere. Certainly nobody in Colorado is gaining anything from the inaction of these three Republicans. The constituents of CO-03, CO-04, and CO-05 should just be glad that Colorado has two Democratic U.S. Senators who are endeavoring to help fund other projects around the state.

If you want your elected officials to Tweet and gripe about social issues while ignoring their responsibilities to constituents, then you’re probably thrilled with Buck, Boebert, and Lamborn.

For everyone else, we’ll say it again: Elections matter.


24 thoughts on “What Does Blue Do For You?

        1. It's a classic H.L. Mencken line … he made it sound so dirty, too.

          “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
          ― H.L. Mencken, A Little Book In C Major  (1916)

          Mencken obviously is a cynical prophet:

          As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

  1. "Mythical Earmark Goblin……" You mean like the ultimate earmark: Alaska's infamous "Bridge to Nowhere?" The Bridge was no myth.

    The Bridge was a major factor dooming earmarks before. When the earmark abuses come, and they surely will, what credibility will Congressional complainers have if they've accepted earmarks, regardless of the value of same in local communities.

    "My earmark benefits my community. But your earmark is pork barrel spending."

    1. IIRC CHB, the difference between now and then is a public transparency requirement today that shines the public light on all requests early in the process. Unlike before, when earmarks (or later called “plus-ups) were often decided in the proverbial (dark) back room. 

            1. What three-lane thoroughfare on a very heavily trafficked major interstate over the Mississippi river doesn't funnel down to a single lane?

              1. Getting through New Raymer during rush hour is an easier task (of course, you have to get there first!)  

                We’ve built five new bridges .. FIVE .. in and within four miles of Wray in the last year.  Thank Gawdess for Democratic Socialism.

                    1. New Raymer has a rush hour? Who coulda thunk it.

                      Reminds me of being a kid and visiting a favorite aunt & uncle in Cannelburg, Indiana. Rush hour was when Monte Summers closed up his combined general store and post office about 5 PM to go home.

                      Most of the mail pickup and delivery was done “old school,” by the B & O’s National Limited, which ran from Washington D.C. to St. Louis, with the track right next to the store. They’d grab the bag that Monte put up on the hook and toss the delivered mail bag off the train as it went through. 

                    2. I was just being sarcastic on the New Raymer traffic!  This will clear up the confusion on the name (I’ve never known it to be referred to as anything other than New Raymer).  From Wikipedia:

    2. Pew Pew to you.

      ‘Cept that that bridge was actually intended to connect a town with their airport on an island only accessible by boat . . .

      In 2005, the United States Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that contained a $442 million earmark for constructing two Alaskan bridges. Pushed forward by Alaska Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens, the Gravina Island Bridge was intended to provide a link between the Ketchikan airport on Gravina Island and the city of Ketchikan at a cost of $233 million in federal grant money. It received nationwide attention as a symbol of pork-barrel spending. Since Gravina Island only had a population of 50, the bridge became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere” during the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.[42]

      . . . A road from an existing town to an existing airport — such a conceptual boondoggle, huh? (Almost as crazy as building Peña Boulevard to DIA when we’ve got plenty enough ferrys already.) Those craaaaazy Alaska Republicans, huh?

  2. Like earmarks or don't, they kept Congress functioning far better than the current bog. Committee chairs and leadership could keep most of their crazies in line with awarding, or not, earmarks for the members' districts.


    1. Yep.  Budgets got passed — mutual interests we’re built and served; little or no need for never-ending continuing and emergency budget measures.

      Zealots are giddily happy to blow up any working system in their never ending (never achieved, or even achievable), no-compromise quest for purity and perfection.

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