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► We should soon know exactly how many candidates for Mayor of Denver are actually going to be on the ballot in April. Thursday was the deadline to submit a laughably-easy 300 valid petition signatures for ballot access As Joe Rubino reports for The Denver Post, the following candidates have been officially certified for the April ballot:
♦ Kelly Brough
♦ Lisa Calderón
♦ Leslie Herod
♦ Mike Johnston
♦ Debbie Ortega
♦ Trinidad Rodriguez
♦ Andy Rougeot
♦ Kwame Spearman
♦ Ean Thomas Tafoya
♦ Thomas Wolf
Another 11 candidates for Mayor submitted their petition signatures on Thursday and are awaiting confirmation from the Denver Clerk and Recorder. Those candidates are:
Matt Brady, Renate Behrens, Alex Cowans, Paul Fiorino, Al Gardner, Marcus Giavanni, Chris Hansen, Sylvia Herring, Aurelio Martinez, Jesse Lashawn Parris, Ken Simpson, Robert Treta and James Walsh. As Rubino explains for the Post:
If even one of the remaining candidates whose signatures are still going through the verification process makes the ballot, it would surpass 2011 as the longest list of mayoral candidates since at least 1975 and possibly ever.
Abass Yaya Bamba and Terrance Roberts were somehow unable to collect 300 valid petition signatures and will not be on the April ballot.
The official list of candidates for Mayor of Denver will be finalized on Feb. 3.
► In a separate story, Rubino reports on the five candidates invited by the Denver Business Journal to take part in a candidate forum on Thursday. This is a pretty good indication of how the top of the field of candidates for Mayor is shaking out at the moment:
The former head of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Kelly Brough, State Sen. Chris Hansen, State Rep. Leslie Herod, former state senator Mike Johnston and Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega were the five candidates the Denver Business Journal invited to appear on a panel Thursday morning focused on the overlap between city policies and business concerns in the Mile High City.
The panel covered topics including crime, affordability, homelessness, revitalizing the city’s ailing downtown and a backlog in the city’s permitting processes that is hindering development.
► Colorado’s economy continues to do well, according to a press release from the office of Governor Jared Polis:
Today, Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced that Colorado’s unemployment rate declined in December to 3.3%, below the national rate of 3.5%…
…Colorado’s strong labor market added 8,600 jobs in December in industries including leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and business and professional services.
► The Colorado Sun reports on the launch of the Colorado SecureSavings Plan:
The Colorado SecureSavings program was designed to help nearly 1 million workers with no retirement plan to start one at no cost to the employer. Companies with existing plans must be exempted by the state. Others with at least five employees must enroll in what state Department of Treasury officials called a “10- to 15-minute” process.
“This is about how (to help workers in) Colorado sustainably retire with dignity on their own terms,” state Treasurer Dave Young said. “Instead of being tied to an employer, like a traditional retirement plan, the Colorado SecureSavings Program travels with the employee (to a new job). … This allows small- and medium-sized businesses a broader compensation package.”
SecureSavings essentially sets up a Roth Individual Retirement Account for the worker and is open to all-sized businesses, including the self-employed, gig workers and farm laborers. After an employer enrolls, their workers are added to the portal so they can then choose to opt out or stick with it. After 30 days, 5% of a worker’s paycheck after taxes is deducted and placed into the retirement account. Vestwell Holdings manages the program for the state while BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors manage the investments.
This is a great idea. Our only question is why there is no space between the words “Secure” and “Savings.”
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► This tweet from longtime Denver politico Roger Hudson (who is now the Deputy Chief of Staff for the amazeballs clown show that is the House Republican caucus in the Colorado legislature) is the early frontrunner for “worst political take of 2023”:
Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) just oversaw what was literally the worst election cycle for Colorado Republicans in modern history. In 2022, Republicans lost every statewide race and reduced their already-meager minorities in the state legislature to historic lows. When KBB ran for State GOP Chair in 2021 — at the same time she was serving as the president of a freaking militia group — she courted voters based on support for the “Big Lie” of election fraud in the 2020 Presidential election; that decision helped to pack local precinct and county GOP positions with election fraud truthers who continue to pull the Republican Party further down a rabbit hole from which it may never emerge.
Here’s a better take: Kristi Burton Brown is one of the greatest state party chairs that Democrats have ever seen in Colorado.
► Lauren Boebert, meanwhile, has somehow secured a spot on the House Oversight Committee.
► House Republicans in the Colorado legislature are making the most of their time in office…if you agree that counting the number of specific words in the “State of the State” speech is a useful exercise.
► As pretend journalist Shaun Boyd explains for CBS4 Denver, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) thinks concerns about reaching the debt ceiling are overblown:
Buck says Republicans want to spend caps, not cuts, “Every program has got to be frozen. We can’t allow programs to grow 6%, 8%, 10% when our economy is, especially in a year when we may have a recession, at best is growing 2%, 3%, 4%.”…
…Buck says Democrats are hyping the fear factor, “Obviously, I don’t want to be irresponsible and let the country default but I think the threat of default is overstated and people need to negotiate in good faith and make sure we get spending under control and this is the opportunity to do it.”
Buck might want to read this debt ceiling primer from The Washington Post before he keeps talking. Hell, even Donald Trump knows that Republicans shouldn’t be trying to cut funding for programs like Medicare or Social Security.
► Why are Colorado taxpayers helping to subsidize Colorado Christian University when it works to undermine abortion rights?
► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser wants to work on expanding Colorado’s “red flag” laws to reduce gun violence.
► Lawmakers in Colorado are working on a “fair scheduling” bill that would require retail, food, and beverage businesses to compensate employees who are asked to show up for a shift but then sent home because of a lack of work.
► As The Washington Post reports, today’s “March for Life” in Washington D.C. has a different feel after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June.
► From “don’t say gay” to “don’t say Black.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has succeeded in banning an AP African-American History course in Florida high schools, arguing that the course was too “woke.”
► Google’s parent company Alphabet is laying off 12,000 employees.
► The Colorado Sun reports on legislation that could allow psychologists in Colorado to prescribe medications to patients.
► United Airlines is challenging Colorado’s paid sick leave law.
► The superintendent of Denver Public Schools says gun violence is his top concern in 2023.
Say What, Now?
Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert sent an email to constituents today titled, “Promises Made, Promises Kept” that highlighted this gem:
Guess what happened as a result of House Republicans voting to “defund 87,000 new IRS Agents”?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was a completely meaningless vote.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Donald Trump and one of his attorneys have been ordered to pay a $1 million fine after a Florida judge determined in a blistering opinion that a lawsuit against Democrat Hillary Clinton filed last year was complete nonsense.
► Lawmakers in South Carolina are discussing increasing fines for people who drive too slow in the left-hand lane on highways.
► Colorado parents can now apply for free preschool programs — a longtime goal for Gov. Jared Polis dating to his first gubernatorial campaign in 2018. From Chalkbeat Colorado:
The parent application for Colorado’s new free preschool program opened at 8 a.m. on Tuesday — a major milestone in the march toward the program’s launch next summer. The program, funded in part by a voter-approved nicotine tax, will offer 10 to 15 hours a week of tuition-free preschool to 4-year-olds statewide, with some eligible for 30 hours a week. In addition, some 3-year-olds will be eligible for 10 hours a week.
State officials expect about 30,000 children to opt into the universal preschool program in its first year. That’s about half the number that will be eligible.
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