Will The #MeToo Movement Sweep Humenik Out Of the Colorado Legislature?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Beth Humenik (R) and the boys of the Colorado Senate.

One of the most competitive races in Colorado’s state legislature pits a woman who led the charge to expose a culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol against a woman who protected an alleged perpetrator of that harassment from expulsion.

Democratic State Rep. Faith Winter is vying for the Adams County seat that’s currently occupied by State Sen. Republican Beth Martinez Humenik, and how voters are reacting to the #MeToo movement could be a decisive factor in the outcome of the race, which could determine whether Democrats gain control of state government.

Winter led the charge to expose rampant sexual misconduct at Colorado’s Capitol after she publicly accused Steve Lebsock, a fellow Democratic state lawmaker, of sexually harassing her. After Winter came forward, several other women brought similar allegations against Lebsock, leading to his expulsion from the state’s House of Representatives.

Lebsock was expelled with the support of many Republican lawmakers. But when it came time to consider the expulsion of an alleged serial sexual harasser within their own party, Republicans in the state Senate, including Humenik, protected their own.

Republican State Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulfur Springs was accused of harassing several women at the capitol, including groping them and making unwanted sexual comments. Despite the fact that the allegations were found to be credible by a third-party investigation, a resolution to expel Baumgardner failed, with only one Republican state senator voting in favor of the expulsion. Humenik voted to keep Baumgardner in the Senate.

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Republican Candidate Says Low-Income Women Should Be Sterilized, Birth Control Causes Abortions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a series of Facebook posts from 2012, Mary Fabian, a candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives, defended a U.S. Senate candidate who said at the time that the incidence of pregnancy after “legitimate rape” is low because a women’s body will stop such pregnancies spontaneously.

Other posts expressed inaccurate or extreme views on birth control, people who receive government assistance, and more.

In one post, Fabian criticized opponents of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and their concerns about abortion rights, saying that Romney is “not going to legislate morality, but I’m just saying abortion is wrong, birth control kills babies after conception, too and it is sad to see our society so very brainwashed.”

She then advocated for abstinence as the only form of birth control, writing “if you don’t want the risk of a kid, don’t have sex.”

Fabian, a Republican, is running in House District 18, which encompasses Manitou Springs and parts of Colorado Springs.

In a different post, Fabian mused that perhaps there was some truth to former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s infamous assertion that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin went on to say that abortion shouldn’t be an option for rape survivors because “the punishment should be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

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Protesters at Walker Stapleton Campaign Event Say They Were the Target of a Nazi Slur

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reproductive rights activists are saying they were the target of a Nazi slur last month at a campaign event for Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor.

The activists were protesting at the July 13 Walker Stapleton campaign event to raise awareness about threats to abortion rights following the recent announcement that President Trump would appoint Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The event, which was hosted by the Jefferson County Republican Party, featured Stapleton and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

According to five protesters, following the event, a man they had previously seen walking from the venue to his car carrying a “Walker Stapleton for Governor” yard sign drove up next to them and yelled “Sieg Heil” out the window while holding his arm outstretched in a Nazi salute.

“He was so close we could have touched the car,” said Katie Farnan of the progressive activist group Indivisible Front Range Resistance.

The man, they say, then sped off in a teal Volvo.

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The Stapletons Once Accused Their Nanny Of Stealing Their Underwear, A Sippy Cup

(This line about the Stapleton’s trying to set a trap for the nanny is amazing: “It didn’t work, however, because Walker Stapleton forgot how much money he left in the book as bait, according to the police report.” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton

Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton and wife Jenna Stapleton once filed a police report accusing one of their three nannies of stealing several of their belongings, including thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, a $500 belt, a $200 hat, their son’s sippy cup, their daughter’s hair bows, and their underwear.

The 2015 report from the Greenwood Village Police Department explains that during that period of time, the Stapletons traveled often, and frequently left their children with three nannies. After being unable to locate several items, Jenna Stapleton began to suspect that one of their nannies had been stealing.

But before taking matters to the police, Jenna and Walker attempted to set a trap, placing twenty dollar bills sticking visibly out of a book in hopes that they would catch the suspected nanny in the act of stealing.

It didn’t work, however, because Walker Stapleton forgot how much money he left in the book as bait, according to the police report.

Jenna Stapleton then went to the Greenwood Village Police Department to report missing items: first, she told them, it was her daughter’s hair bows, which she noticed were gone after returning from vacation. Then, a ruby and diamond encrusted gold bracelet from her jewelry box, one of her earrings (which she later found, but still suspected the nanny tried to steal), a belt, and a hat. And then there was the case of the missing sippy cup and a few pairs of Walker and Jenna’s undergarments. Jenna didn’t remember exactly how many pairs of underwear, according to the report.

So why the suspicion? And why only accuse one of the three nannies?

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Why Are Republicans Speaking At The ‘Democrats For Life’ Conference?

(For the lulz, obviously – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) is holding its first conference this weekend in Denver, but speakers include no currently-elected Democratic politicians, and several speakers who have been identified as Republicans, Independents, or have no registered party affiliation.

The “I Want My Party Back” conference comes after a recent debate around whether the Democratic Party should make room for candidates who oppose abortion rights.

Some have argued that it’d behoove Democrats who are eager to regain support from Trump voters to field candidates who may not adhere to every single aspect of the party’s platform. But more progressive Democrats say the party’s so-called big tent isn’t big enough for those who would allow limitations on reproductive rights.

But within this debate, one key fact is often ignored: These days, pro-life Democrats are few and far between.

So it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that DFLA, which has aimed to elect anti-choice Democrats since its inception in 1999, apparently struggled to find true-blue Democratic speakers for their upcoming conference.

The only Democratic politicians speaking are two former Congressmen — Bart Stupak of Michigan and Lincoln Davis of Tennesse, both of whom haven’t held office since 2011.

And many of the speakers aren’t Democrats at all, according to a voter database. Lauren Castillo, for example, is the National Church Relations Director for Students for Life of America, and she’s registered in Colorado as a Republican. Castillo didn’t respond to a request for comment and confirmation.

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Walker Stapleton Once Praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as a “Great American”

(So…much…wrong with this – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a 2009 appearance on KNUS radio, Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Walker Stapleton praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee, calling him a “great American.”

Stapleton, who currently serves as Colorado’s treasurer and has yet to address community concerns about his family’s white supremacist history, added, “He just happened to be for the wrong cause and on the wrong side.”

Lee, who commanded the Confederate army, is responsible for an unfathomable amount of American bloodshed in defense of what he saw as the South’s right to own black human beings as property. Stapleton’s description of Lee as a “great American” runs counter to the fact that Lee’s loyalty to his country was overridden by his devotion to white supremacy.

Over the past year, statues commemorating some of the nation’s most influential white supremacists, including those depicting Lee, have been a source of controversy – and the sites of racially motivated violence.

As you might recall, the so-called Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville late last summer, where white supremacists chanted Nazi-era slogans and murdered a peaceful counter-protester, was centered around opposition to the removal of the city’s monument to Lee.

Stapleton’s comment, of course, came years before the nation’s popular debate around whether statues commemorating racists belong in public areas. But it could be instructive of the gubernatorial candidate’s understanding of racism in America and dedication to policies that promote racial equity – or lack thereof.

Stapleton’s praise of the well-known racist isn’t a one-off.

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Colorado Dems just introduced one of the most progressive reproductive health bills in the U.S.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democratic state lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday that aims to increase access to all reproductive care and protect Coloradans from the Trump administration’s rollbacks.

The Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Act would require all public and private health insurance plans regulated by the state of Colorado to cover the entire gamut of reproductive care, from cancer screenings and prenatal care to contraceptives and abortion, at no cost to the patient. And the bill guarantees that coverage for everyone, regardless of gender identity, income, or immigration status.

According to the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) it’s a “proactive bill with some real teeth,” and the bill aims to address a key barrier to reproductive care: affordability.

“When it comes to marginalized communities, affordability is one of the biggest hurdles,” said COLOR’s Karla Gonzales Garcia. “You can have the right to seek reproductive health care and abortion, but if you can’t afford the care, you can’t access that right.”

Maternal mortality is on the rise in the U.S. Graph shows # of deaths per 100,000 live births. Credit: Rob Weychert/ProPublica

In addition to improving access to services like abortion and contraception, the bill also seeks to improve maternal health, a critical undertaking given that the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world by a wide margin. And that rate continues to rise while other countries have managed to make childbirth safer.

Women of color bear the brunt of the country’s maternal health crisis. Women of color are more likely to die during childbirth, and black women are at particularly high risk, dying during childbirth at three times the rate of white women.

“A lot of it is due to complications in labor and during pregnancy, but a lot of it is also happening postpartum when people don’t have appropriate care for healing or post-delivery complications, when they frankly don’t have health coverage and then they’re having long-term health consequences and even dying,” said Garcia. “And so we see this legislation as really important to addressing maternal mortality and maternal health issues for women of color.”

As it stands, women who receive Medicaid coverage during pregnancy also receive 60 days of postpartum care. This bill would extend that coverage period to 180 days.

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Baumgardner’s Social Media Pages Are Pretty Gross

(Scroll down to see why his nickname is “Boob Grabber” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

WARNING: Some images in this post may be considered slightly NSFW, because that’s the low standard of professionalism that *some people* who work in our state’s Capitol adhere to these days, apparently. 

Multiple social media posts from state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Republican who’s been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, reveal that he is, in fact, a total creep.

In what should come as a shock to absolutely no one given the multiple credible complaints of sexual harassment against him, Baumgardner is one of those guys who use social media to ogle photos of scantily clad women.

See the Facebook posts below, which Baumgardner liked last year, but again, be warned: they’re slightly NSFW.

 

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Walker Stapleton Clams Up About Great-Grandfather Ben Stapleton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When he first ran for statewide political office in Colorado, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton touted his “proud family tradition of community leadership,” which included the “great” accomplishments of Benjamin Stapleton, his great-grandfather who was a former Mayor of Denver and a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

But now, about nine years later, it’s hard to find Walker Stapleton saying anything about Benjamin Stapleton, much less praising his “public service.”

Benjamin Stapleton was a high-ranking member of the KKK when he was first elected Mayor of Denver in 1923, during which time the KKK had elected a handful of members and allies to government offices. The following year, while fighting a recall election, Mayor Stapleton pledged to “work with the Klan and for the Klan in the coming election, heart and soul,” and said he’d “give the Klan the kind of administration it wants.”

In an ad for his successful 2010 campaign for Colorado treasurer, Walker Stapleton bragged about his great-grandfather’s legacy as “Denver’s longest-serving mayor” and praised his “accomplishments,” which included the construction of parks as well as Stapleton Airfield, Colorado’s first municipal airport.

“I’m really proud of my family’s public service here in Colorado and beyond,” said Stapleton.

 

Continue reading this story on the Colorado Times Recorder

Republican Accuses Stapleton of Paying History Museum to Scrub Family Ties to KKK

(Well well well – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A decision by the History Colorado museum to remove references to former Denver Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton in its Ku Klux Klan exhibit, even though he’s one of the most prominent Klansmen in Colorado history, has led Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock to accuse fellow GOP candidate Walker Stapleton of directing his family’s foundation to donate to the museum to cover up the Stapletons’ white supremacist roots.

The display, which describes the history of the KKK’s political influence in Colorado, currently does not mention Denver’s former mayor, but he was referenced multiple times in History Colorado’s display on the Klan before the exhibit was replaced and altered in 2012, when the museum moved to a new building, according to archival photos provided by the museum to the Colorado Times Recorder.

Mayor Stapleton, who was Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s great-grandfather, was a high-ranking member of the KKK. He served as Denver Mayor from 1923 to 1931, during which time the white supremacist group exercised political influence throughout the state, and in Denver in particular, by electing a handful of members and allies into government offices.

The new display, which sits within the “Colorado Stories” exhibit, references the Klan’s “17,000 members in Denver alone,” and how they “voted allies into the governor’s mansion and throughout the state legislature,” but fails to mention the mayor.

In contrast, the old display, which featured many of the same artifacts, had text panels that made multiple mentions of the mayor’s office.

As the old version of the display explains, “Parades, rallies, auto races, charitable events, patronage of Klansman-owned businesses, and support from a sympathetic mayor pushed membership in Denver’s robed legions to more than 17,000.”

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State lawmaker: Immigrants have “murdered, mayhemmed, raped” people in sanctuary cities

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

State Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican, slammed sanctuary cities during a radio appearance Friday, claiming immigrants are drawn to them and “wreak havoc.”

“People have been murdered, mayhemmed, [and] raped” by immigrants in sanctuary cities, Williams said.

Williams appeared on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show to talk about his policy proposal to punish politicians representing sanctuary cities by holding them liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants who cause, as he pus it, “any sort of murder or mayhem to anyone personally or their property.”

The bill, called the Colorado Politician Accountability Act, made national news when it was introduced in the state legislature last year.

Williams told Boyles he’s continuing his crusade against what he refers to as “lawless politicians” who promote sanctuary city politics, this time by leaving it up to Colorado voters.

Williams: “You know what? I’m bringing it back! And this time – this time — I’m going to make it a referendum of the people. And I guarantee you that the Democrats are not inclined to ask the people. Because if we ask the people, this bill is going to become law and the politicians can go to jail and get sued.”

“Denver’s DA Beth McCann deserves to be prosecuted,” said Boyles. Williams agreed, adding that “every politician complicit in this deserves some degree of accountability, whether it’s going to jail or getting sued.”

Williams has also been highly critical of Dreamers, or young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and receive protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He once painted them as criminals despite the fact that immigrants who have committed crimes are not eligible for DACA, and that Dreamers are not allowed to keep their DACA status if they do commit a crime.

Studies have consistently shown that immigrants – both documented and undocumented – commit significantly less crime than native-born Americans, and may actually make their communities safer.

Williams once claimed that immigrants “destroy American lives” and that not all cultures are equal.

Listen to Boyles’ radio interview with Williams in full here.

Republican state lawmakers buy into fake reports that Texas shooter had Antifa ties

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Multiple former and current Republican state lawmakers fell for fake news reports that claimed the shooter who killed 26 people inside a Texas church Sunday was connected to Antifa.

Former state Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada initially spread the fake news in a Facebook post, which was then “liked” by state Sens. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs) and Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins).

Woods recommended that the Department of Justice declare Antifa a terrorist organization as a result of the fake news.

Woods’ post received a comment from state House candidate Grady Nouis saying he’d vote to declare Antifa a terrorist organization in Colorado if elected, and an additional “like” from conservative gun rights lobbyist Joseph Neville, who’s the son of state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton).

Woods appears to be referencing the news story provided in the comment section, which claims shooter Devin Kelley carried an Antifa flag and shouted “this is a communist revolution” before opening fire on the churchgoers. It also claims Kelley was one of two shooters and “vowed to start a civil war by targeting white conservative churches and causing anarchy in the United States.”

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Report: Ultra-conservative Wisconsin foundation takes aim at Colorado public education, labor unions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Recent reports have revealed that the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has quietly descended on Colorado in an effort to undermine teachers unions and public education.

The information comes from documents that were swiped from the foundation’s servers by international hackers last year.

In Wisconsin, the Bradley Foundation has helped bolster Gov. Scott Walker’s conservative agenda, including dramatic cuts to public education and the passage of the state’s anti-union “Right to Work” law. Now, Bradley is apparently looking to expand that success in swing states, starting with Colorado and North Carolina.

Reports from the Center for Media and Democracy and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show that the Bradley Foundation has funneled $1.45 million to the Independence Institute, a conservative Denver think tank, in recent years. A chunk of the money was specifically allocated for “aggressive education reform,” which includes “neutralizing the power of Colorado’s teachers’ unions by defunding them at the local school district level,” according to a 2015 Independence Institute grant proposal record obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy.

With the help of Bradley’s contribution, the Independence Institute has assisted the Douglas County school board in enacting a series of measures to put an end to collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and automatic dues deductions for teachers unions. In 2016, the board attempted to implement a countywide school voucher program for private and religious schools, but the program was struck down in court.

The Independence Institute did not return a call for comment.

Sam Gilchrist, Executive Director of the pro-union Colorado AFL-CIO, said in a press release that “wealthy corporations and the organizations that serve them need to stop rigging our political system against hardworking people like the teachers who keep our public education system running,” and he called the Bradley Foundation’s efforts “disgusting.”

In addition to funding anti-union and school choice advocates, the Bradley Foundation gives financial support to conservative non-profits nationwide.

Beneficiaries include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an adversary of environmental regulations, and the Ruth Institute, which, according to its website, seeks to “[help] young people avoid the poisonous personal consequences of the Sexual Revolution” and address “the crazy behaviors encouraged on campuses” and “young people’s unwillingness to get married.”