About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women's leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic "red sweep" election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a "placeholder" in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote -- just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

Coffman Denies Scrubbing POTUS Bashing From Wikipedia

(No wonder he can’t find time to meet with the little people, he’s monitoring the tubz.   – promoted by ClubTwitty)

Congressman Mike Coffman just can’t catch a break.

In his latest embarrassing moment, Coffman denies he and his staff had anything to do with the scrubbing of his Wikipedia page to remove his recent comments undermining the legitimacy of the President of the United States. According to Buzzfeed, whoever scrubbed Coffman’s Wikipedia page used the official IP address for the US House of Representatives. As 9 News reports, Coffman offered a written statement saying:

“I’ve never touched my Wikipedia page, and I’ve never asked anyone to change anything on it.”

Coffman’s statement was a response to an article in Buzzfeed, titled “33 Embarrassing Congressional Edits To Members’ Wikipedia Pages”, wherein they accuse Tea Party Caucus member Mike Coffman of removing the links to articles referencing the debacle.

In 9 news report, Coffman’s election opponent, State Representative Joe Miklosi, had this to say:

“No matter how much he tries to scrub the truth off the Internet, he can’t hide his extreme record,” Miklosi said in a written statement Wednesday. “No amount of self-editing can hide the fact that Congressman Mike Coffman is Colorado’s own version of Rush Limbaugh.”

Salazar, Udall: What The ACA Means For Colorado

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Obama Administration Regional Director in Health and Human Services, Marguerite Salazar, was in Denver Monday to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) and what it means for people living in Colorado. Hosted by Senator Mark Udall, she held a press conference with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative’s Executive Director, Dede De Percin. Salazar applauded the recent Supreme Court Decision to uphold the Constitutionality of the ACA, and promised it will bring a multitude of benefits to Colorado’s citizens, and to our local economy.

As Udall introduced Salazar, a native of Alamosa, he added he “proudly voted for the Affordable Care Act”, and shared that in his travels around Colorado, many citizens had expressed frustration over their lack of quality healthcare insurance due to pre-existing conditions clauses, as well as caps on coverage.  

“Those problems will be gone under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, families like my own with young adults in them will benefit from the feature that ensures people ages 22-26 will still be able to join their parent’s health insurance plans while getting their careers off the ground.”

Salazar outlined the scope of the problem in Colorado:

“Until now, there have been 700,000 people uninsured in Colorado. Over the last ten years, insurance rated had doubled. Nationally, more than 50 million Americans were uninsured, and tens of millions of people were underinsured”.

No More Abuses, Better Care for Colorado

The Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means Coloradans will be protected from insurance company abuses, Medicare will be strengthened, families will experience more financial security, and Coloradans across the state will have better access to healthcare overall.

Under the ACA, it is illegal for insurance companies to deny anyone for pre-existing conditions, to provide coverage caps to families or individuals who experience major medical tragedies, to discriminate against girls and women on the basis of their gender, and to cancel policies after a person has been diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease.

80/20 Rule

Many Coloradans will receive cash back from their insurance companies if the insurance companies fail to provide enough coverage in proportion to the rates they are charging in premiums. (An older man at the press conference stated he had already received a rebate check for more than $260.)  The rebate is called the “80/20 rule” – insurance companies are mandated to spend eighty percent of the payments they collect on health care for their policy holders. If they don’t, they must refund it to their contracted customers. In 2012, 12.8 million Americans will receive more than 1 billion dollars in rebates. The ACA also prevents unfair rate increases — premium rate hikes greater than 10% will automatically trigger an audit.

Better for Small Businesses, Better for Non-profits

The Affordable Care Act will make doing business in Colorado more affordable. Small businesses, as well as non-profits, which make up 96% of the employing businesses in Colorado, used to pay 18% more in premiums for the same coverage compared to large corporations. Small businesses that choose to provide health insurance premiums for their employees will receive tax credits of 25% to help them do it. In 2011, 360,000 employers received a tax credit nationally. Any small business in Colorado that was not aware of this benefit can go back as far as 2010 to amend their tax return to qualify for their credit. Non-profit businesses (including many churches)  that do not pay taxes are still eligible for the credit, allowing them to receive cash payments for providing healthcare insurance to their employees.

Young People Will Be Insured

Families with young adult children in Colorado are already enjoying the “22-26 feature” of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, premiums were too high for young adults just starting out on their own, so many of them were uninsured, putting them at long-lasting financial risk if they had an accident or debilitating illness. Under the ACA, more than 50,000 families in Colorado are already enjoying peace of mind from this benefit. Nationally, the number is 3.1 million families.

Access to Health Care

As Udall traveled Colorado, he saw first-hand how rural areas are often underserved medically. Physicians and other health care providers have preferred doing business in large, urban areas over smaller, rural communities. Under the Affordable Care Act, the number of healthcare providers employed through the National Health Services Corps has tripled, adding 6000 new providers. The NHSC now has more than 10,000 doctors, nurses, physical therapists, dentists, etc., on its’ staff. Since 2010, Colorado has received $17 million from the ACA to fund 170 existing health centers in CO, and $78.8 million to create new health centers.

Preventing Illnesses and Promoting Health

Since 2010, Colorado has received $17.2 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the ACA. Free, routine health maintenance and preventative services are available through at “Getting Us Covered.” Services include:

• Adult routine examinations

• Immunizations  

• Smoking cessation programs and patches

• Pelvic exams

• Pap smears

• Mammograms

• Colonoscopies

• Prostate exams

• Flu shots

No More “Lockouts” or Caps

Families and individuals facing major medical tragedies and chronic illnesses such as cancer will no longer be “locked out” of health insurance. Nationally, 67,500 people were locked out of the insurance market because their expenses were too high, causing them to be rejected for insurance. In Colorado, families like Nathan and Sonji Wilkes and their young son Thomas finally have access to the life-saving medical care, under the ACA.

Medicare Strengthened

Medicare is strengthened under the Affordable Care Act, meaning more recipients will benefit from preventative care, while efficiencies will bring down costs, saving the government more money. Fewer people will use expensive emergency room visits for routine care.

Donut Hole To Close

For Senior Coloradans in the “Donut Hole” – the income bracket where they do not qualify for Medicare prescription coverage, yet they also cannot afford paying for their own prescriptions,  the ACA offers a 50% discount on brand-named drugs. In the first five months of 2012, more than 7000 people in Colorado used this benefit, resulting in an average benefit of nearly $700 per person. In addition, more than 42,000 Colorado Seniors have already received a $250 rebate check to help cover the cost of their prescriptions. The donut hole will be closed by the year 2020 under the plan. 5.2 million Senior Citizens have already saved a total of 3.7 billion dollars.

How is the Affordable Care Act paid for?

The cost savings of efficiencies built into the ACA nationally has been estimated at approximately $500 billion, which more than covers the cost of the Affordable Care Act. Those efficiencies include the addition of new anti-fraud measures, and the strengthening of enforcement to anti-fraud measures that already exist. Health service providers will also be given tools to help them cut costs to patient care. Under the ACA, patients will receive fewer unnecessary and repetitive tests, and more access to preventative education and well-checks.

Health Exchanges

The Affordable Care Act sets up a system of private sector “Health Exchanges” to make health insurance more affordable to those who do not get it through their employers, or for people who wish to supplement their coverage (the exchanges are not to be confused with a government run-program like Medicare). The Health Exchanges in the ACA utilize and encourage private businesses, allowing them to flourish locally, providing more jobs. Beginning in 2014, Coloradans will be able to purchase their insurance directly through these exchanges. Under the law, the exchanges will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender or pre-existing conditions. Under Colorado law, tax credits will be available to those who wish to buy their own insurance.

Colorado was originally given a grant of $1 million to plan for the improved health insurance marketplace, and then received a $17.9 million grant to build it. Coloradans can expect it to be launched to the general public sometime in late 2013 or early 2014.

Myths, Lies and Distortions

Religious organizations will not have to provide, endorse, or subsidize the delivery of contraceptives, contraceptive counseling, or abortions, to qualify for the tax credit.

Exorbitant Capital gains taxes have not been built into the Affordable Health Care Act. There is a small feature that affects a very tiny percentage of Americans. Under the ACA, if a couple making more than $250,000/year sells a home and makes a profit in excess of $100,000 on the sale, there is an approximately 3% tax on the gains over $100,000. The resulting small tax increase affects a small fraction of one percent of Coloradans in any given year.

Future Changes to the Affordable Care Act

Senator Udall commented that the Affordable Care Act “is not perfect” but it is a great start to raising the bar in quality health care. When asked, he said he would like to see continuing innovations in alternatives in health care, at times quoting T.R. Reid’s book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.

Udall: “Healthcare is a human right. The Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act was the right one. If the United States is going to lead the world, we need to have the best health care in the world.”

More Information

For more information about the U.S. Affordable Care Act, visit Healthcare.gov.  In Colorado, check out Getting Us Covered.org.

Hick Tours Fires, Asks For More Help

(Click here to chip in for Colorado Red Cross relief efforts – promoted by Colorado Pols)

According to various news sources, eight fires are burning around Colorado today. News reports are being updated rapidly.

The Waldo Canyon Fire, which started only yesterday, is now reported to be at 3000 acres and burning very rapidly to the east, just west of Manitou Springs, according to local news reports in the area. The fire is behaving erratically and has multiple heads. One hundred foot flames have been reported. Manitou Springs, Cascade, and other towns have been evacuated this morning. Governor Hickenlooper toured the scene by helicopter this morning.

Local news reports have been focusing on residents packing up and evacuating from Manitou Springs.  Some of the most up-to-date information is on twitter, using hashtags #waldocanyonfire and  #waldofire, and coming from CO Springs Mayor Steve Bach, John Schroyer at the Gazette, and CO – Emergency Management. According to the Emergency Management website, CO is now at Preparedness level #5 on a scale of 1-5.  

Among the facts being relayed to the press about the fires:

There is an open fire ban all across CO. No charcoal fires or open-flame barbecues. (Governor Hickenlooper’s Office)

There is a “red flag warning” meaning the fire danger is critical. One stray ember could have a disastrous effect.(NOAA — National Weather Service)

A call center has been established to answer non-emergent questions regarding the Waldo Canyon fire 719-955-0742. (El Paso County Sheriff)

If you see/smell smoke, avoid outdoor physical activities.If visibility <5 miles, smoke levels are unhealthy. (Colorado Health Dept.)

This morning, the CO Springs Sheriff stated that all commercial resources were being used first, and the federal government resources are ready to deploy when ordered.

Four hundred fifty-five firefighters are fighting the Waldo Park fire alone. (KKTV.com)

According to Hickenlooper’s office this morning, the federal government is now coming to help in the form of sending two C130s, which should arrive Monday. Other resources are also on its way from neighboring states.

Here is some information for those who must mitigate the fire risk around their home: http://www.rmiia.org/downloads… .

Disclaimer: All information shared above is from publicly available sources including the Colorado Gazette, the Colorado Emergency Management website, the CO Department of Public Health, and the National Weather Service.

Expect to see big changes in the aggressive response to these fires very soon. Stay safe, Colorado!  

John Hickenlooper’s Great Idea: TBD Citizen’s Summit

I spent Saturday at TBD — a very lame name for a pretty cool idea. Governor Hickenlooper wanted to bring together one thousand civic leaders from all over the state, educate them on the basics of the budget process in Colorado, and give them ample opportunities to talk to each other about how best to move forward, in a completely nonpartisan environment.

The name TBD means “To Be Determined”, which I am told, refers to the fact the completed program still does not have a permanent name. When I was initially invited to join the group, the name was daunting — despite a vague description on a website, I had no idea what I was in for.

TBD took place over two weekend half-days in various regional locations, and culminated in a day-long Summit in Denver. Two other cities in CO joined the Denver group by Skype. The main content of the workshops revolved around five key areas previously chosen by a “framing committee”: transportation, health care, state workforce, education and the state constitution. These key areas became the framework for discussion and debate.

Lt. Governor Joe Garcia attended the full day Summit with us, and Governor Hickenlooper attended the last portion of the Summit, giving closing remarks, and inviting all of us to stay  involved on state matters. I overheard the Governor say to someone at one point, “That’s a very interesting idea. Why don’t we go for a beer and talk about is some more?”

During the course, participants were given reading materials, an overview of how the budget process works, and how TABOR, the Gallagher Amendment and the Colorado Constitution interact. Every step of the way, we were given questions to answer about our personal values, which were tabulated electronically in real time using college test-taking hand units. After each participant voted on a question, the results were displayed immediately on a large screen, sometimes prompting further discussion. During the Summit, we transferred those values into the State Budget using the Backseat Budgeter. As you would imagine, balancing Colorado’s budget is much harder than it looks, and almost every attempt resulted in a smack against the infamous “Wall of TABOR”.

I found the whole process to be fascinating. Logistically, the program clearly had some bugs — there were questions that didn’t make sense at first glance and needed to be clarified, and there were times when our small groups did not understand what was being asked of us. Sometimes the pace seemed very rushed; other times a little slow. Because this was the first year for TBD, I’m confident will be worked out for future year’s workshops. The high-tech classroom worked well for the most part, and clearly furthered Hickenlooper’s brand as the geeky but lovable Governor who thinks outside the box.

Because the room was filled with municipal and county leaders rather than elected officials, I found it refreshing to talk honestly to people without partisan politics getting in the way. The participants were from a wide range of geographical areas, political affiliations and demographical groups, and I learned a great deal about why people vote the way they do. I also gained a better understanding of the mechanics that make balancing the state budget so complex (and frustrating).

TBD was presented through a private organization and paid for through contributions to a 501C-3. No state dollars were used to pay for any of it. Summaries of the statewide discussions and votes can be found on the website: http://tbdcolorado.org/

I strongly encourage my fellow activists and blog readers to apply to the program the next time it rolls around. The time commitment is minimal, the educational opportunity is great, there are free meals, you meet interesting people from all over the state, and when the temperature is 103 degrees outside, the air conditioned classroom is a godsend. And maybe the best part of all … the opportunity to see the Governor’s face when the vast majority of the room expresses their serious reservations about fracking.

I’m Not Just Another Key Demographic

A facebook friend of mine, who happens to also be a Latino activist, posted the following great analysis of recent political attempts to win him over:

It’s fascinating how white Republicans seem to think Latinos are monolithic. Marco Rubio is Cuban and most Latinos simply don’t identify with him. He isn’t some sort of magical key to the Latino vote. Cubans are a slim minority of all Latinos in the United States. Most of us are Mexican. Many of us are also Salvadoran, Colombian, Peruvian, Chilean, Panamanian, Argentinian, etc. Not only is it geography, it is culture, food, language (the Spanish language is a far more diverse than English). We are straight, gay, European, Native American, African, Asian. Latinos make for a fascinating tapestry. It might do Republicans some good to recognize this reality.

I was struck by the honesty and power of his post; as a woman I had been feeling exactly the same way. We are no longer just slightly more than half the country. We’ve become a commodity.

Already this summer, I’m observing stereotypical, schmaltzy, one-size-fits-all attempts to court women voters.  Many campaigns seem to reach from the same old tired bag of tricks every time they want to reach out to women:

• Make the website page look soft and feminine.

• Have a “Women For… (Insert candidate’s name here)” group.

• Talk about abortion to the exclusion of almost anything else.

• Show the candidate’s wife as often as possible.

• Hire perky, pretty college girls to sign up supporters using clipboards.

• Shoot photos around the dinner table (as if that’s the only place women hang out).

Snore.  Flinch. Recoil. Why are they doing this?

Women make up 51% of the population of the United States. Women and Latino voters are the key demographics to win in the November general election, from the County Coroner to the President of the United States. As the lead organizer in Denver for Colorado’s grassroots “We Are Women” March and Rally on April 28th of this year (there were lead organizers in other cities and towns around the state, too), I’ve received a number of phone calls from candidates asking for my help in “getting women on board with our campaign”. Our two-thousand person Rally and March in CO was unique in that it was not sponsored by a non-profit or corporation, but entirely grassroots, was replicated at the same time on the same day in all fifty states around the nation, and entirely funded by the activists who participated. Campaigns have been chomping at the bit to get a piece of it, wanting to know if they can have my activist list, Google docs, and “secret words” (or secret handshake?).

Here’s the secret. Start respecting women.  And while you’re at it, start respecting everyone else, too.

At the federal level, any incumbent who voted against the Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Actor pissed off the Children’s Defense Fund, should hang up their campaign right now. Don’t even bother reading to the end of this page.

At the State level, any incumbent who voted in favor of limiting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care, or who voted to decrease school funding, or to limit resources to the poor, the elderly, children, and anyone else who is vulnerable, take a hike.  Take it now.

What about targeted state level and higher candidates who are running for election for the first time?  Here’s how voters should decide. (Listen up, women activist friends – I’m about to tell you.)

Go to the candidate’s website. If equality for all persons regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, citizenship, health, original language, and country of birth (otherwise known as civil rights) are not clearly one of the top three marquis issues, close the website and walk away. Send your money and spend your volunteer time working for another candidate. If it’s up there, go to the next step.

Call your candidate. Ask to meet his/her paid staff. Tell him/her you will offer your support only if you can see the paid staff.  On a state level campaign, it may be one or two other people, and at the federal level, it may be a dozen or more. Why? These are the men and women who, if the candidate wins the election, will probably transition from stressful political jobs with long hours to policy jobs with good benefits. (Candidates always take care of their own when they become legislators.)

Take a look at the staff and size them up. Does the staff represent the American people as a whole, or are they predominantly white men in their late twenties to early forties? Is there the same diversity as a random line of people at a movie theatre in your community, or do they look like they just stepped out of a law school class photograph? Are there as many people of color or people with physical limitations, proportionately, at the highest levels of their staff, and are 51% of their senior staff women? Do they represent adults of all ages who vote, from ages eighteen to eighty-nine? Is the only woman over forty the one who answers the phones?

Sure, most savvy candidates will hire canvassers and field organizers, or solicit volunteer community leaders, who look like the community where votes are being chased. But how many of them have the same diversity in their inner circle? How could a campaign possibly know the experiences and desires of mothers and grandmothers if they don’t have one or more as their advisors? Elderly people? Jews? Asians? Immigrants? People of color? Gays and lesbians? People retired from blue collar jobs? Teachers? Union members?

Ask yourself, “If my future legislator is surrounded by this team, how much compassion will they feel for people who do not look, or speak, or ambulate as I do? How much does this team identify with me or my family members personally?”

The same kind of ignorance that makes a legislator oblivious to the concerns of the majority of Americans makes a candidate justify not hiring a diverse campaign staff. There is more to winning elections than crunching numbers, endless fundraising calls, and bullying one’s opponent. There is also integrity.

Integrity in knowing that every American has something important to offer the legislative process at every level of government, and that includes on the campaign trail. Integrity in knowing that when one talks about bringing jobs to their community, it starts with their own campaign. Integrity in knowing that win or lose, the candidate puts their money where their mouth is – in their own community.

If you are an activist and a member of one of the highly targeted demographics in the upcoming election, and most Americans are, please stand with me. It’s time to demand more of our legislators, and the best time to do that is when they are candidates. Your time and your money are precious to you and to your family – don’t waste it on candidates who do not value the people of your community — all of the people in your community — on a very deep level.

The next time a candidate calls me and asks for my help, or my email lists, or my money, I intend to say, “Sure, when can I meet your senior staff?”  I hope it will be yours, as well.  

Cook, Rothenberg: Miklosi Can Win

“This is Democrats’ best opportunity to pick up a seat in the entire Mountain West.”  – The Cook Political Report

Both Cook and Rothenberg Political Reports believe Joe Miklosi has a good chance of beating incumbent Mike Coffman in CD6. In today’s Cook Report, it states Colorado Democrats “scored a huge coup” from the state judge who redrew Congressional boundaries, and acknowledges that Coffman and Tipton’s continuous controversies are making those districts increasingly winnable for Democrats. The article also reminds readers that under the new lines drawn for CD6, Obama won by fify-four percent in 2008.

The Cook article continues on to review Coffman’s unpatriotic comment about the President at the Elbert County fundraiser, and his embarrassing string of foot-in-mouth moments trying to do damage control. In their words, Coffman “demonstrated that he hasn’t adjusted to life as a swing district candidate”.

The Cook Article goes on to say this:

Through mid-June, however, Miklosi has raised $641,000 and should be able to stockpile all of it for November since he’s facing only token opposition in the primary. This is Democrats’ best opportunity to pick up a seat in the entire Mountain West.

The Rothenberg Report
lists the Miklosi v. Coffman race as a “pure toss-up”. Earlier, they had written another article titled, “New Colorado Map Puts Coffman in Peril”.

Why do these reports matter? Both the Cook Report and the Rothenberg Political Report influence potential donors who hope to score political points by donating to the candidate with the best chance of winning. Until 2012, that man was always Mike Coffman in CD6. Look for Miklosi’s fundraising — and odds — to improve as big donors balance their bets on both candidates.  

The Definitive TABOR Thread, for Muhammad Miguel Ali Hasan

Miguel Ali posted this on one of the recent Doug Bruce threads:

“I stand by my mentor, Douglas Bruce

I believe him when he says he’s innocent and I proudly support his appeal  


Now, Miguel Ali has made some huge political strides in the past few years, rejecting the faction of the GOP that is racist, anti-immigrant, and homophobic. For that, I give him all of the credit in the world. M. Ali is also known around here for being polite — a characteristic this former preschool teacher finds refreshing. (Mrs. Hasan — great job!) I struggle to understand, however, how M. Ali has gotten so far as a “political insider” without fully understanding the horrific financial impact TABOR has made on the state of Colorado.

I’m wondering if in the spirit of free public education, for M. Ali’s benefit, and for the benefit of all of the Pols readers and lurkers we don’t know, we could have an intelligent thread about why TABOR is such a nightmare. I’d like to hear from our Polsters how different people have seen the effects in different ways around the state. There are a number of knowledgeable people here who could do a much better job explaining it than I can. Anyone else want to start, or should I?

And to M. Ali — I suspect we’ll all learn from an honest and respectful exchange. I hope you’re cool with this.

BREAKING: What a Difference 12 Hours Makes: Governor Declares Special Session.

BREAKING, per Lynn Bartels: Governor Hickenlooper to call for a special session; the agenda includes civil unions. Livestream of the Governor’s Press Conference beginning at 1:45pm here.

At the same time, President Barack Obama just announced he now favors gay marriage. When it rains, it pours. From the Huffington Post.

From Colorado’s State Constitution, Article IV, Section 9 (thank you, David Henderson):

“The governor may, on extraordinary occasions convene the general assembly, by proclamation, stating therein the purpose for which it is to assemble; but at such special session no business shall be transacted other than that specially named in the proclamation. He may by proclamation, convene the senate in extraordinary session for the transaction of executive business.”

The official on-line version of Colorado’s Constitution has annotations to describe how the courts have interpreted this right. /1873?fn=document-frame.htm

Bottom line for activists: phone calls, tweets, emails, faxes, and rallies matter. Thanks to all who put pressure on the Governor to move from being one who believes in doing the right thing, and one who uses his executive privileges to lead others in doing the same!

Thank you, Governor Hickenlooper. Your commitment to basic civil rights for all Coloradans will be your lasting legacy!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

BREAKING: Civil Unions Bill Passes Out of House Judiciary Committee

(One small vote for Nikkel, one slightly larger step toward equality. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

At 9:30pm, House Republican Representative BJ Nickkel cast the deciding vote to get SB2 out of the House Judiciary Committee.

Earlier today, it was rumored that Rep. Nikkel had changed her mind from a previous “no” vote. Speakers signed in as early as 1pm, and observers wearing red waited through hours of other bills, including the bill to make driving under the influence of marijuana illegal. As hours passed, many pro-civil unions supporters wondered aloud in the hallway if the bill would be heard in committee at all.

SB2, also known as the Civil Unions bill, began after a very quick vote on Secretary of State Gessler’s election procedure reform bill. Upon completion of the election bill vote, Representative Ferrandino joked, “I hope the next bill will also go as quickly”, to very loud laughter.

In attendance at the hearing were the same cast of people seen last year: representatives from One Colorado, Father Carmady, Rosina Kovar (aka the “crazy” church lady), three gay College Republicans, and a sea of red t-shirt wearing young people. (When I signed in at 1pm to testify, Rosina Kovar was standing behind me and also signed in. Due to predetermined speaker’s lists and a one hour time limit, neither of us were able to speak, however.)

Supporter’s speeches were very heavy on the “I am also a person of faith” side (I confess, that is what I had prepared as well), and there were more than a few pro-civil unions Republicans. One of them was Legal Counsel for Governor Hickenlooper, who spoke honestly about his personal life and his long-term relationship.  

As soon as Rep. Nikkel voted “Aye”, twitter and facebook were ablaze with excitement. Numerous tweets called Rep. Nikkel a “hero”, a “trailblazer”, and “courageous”. Several tweets referred to a post-vote celebration at Hamburger Mary’s (a popular lgbt hangout).

My understanding is SB2 now goes on to the Appropriations and Finance Committees, before being heard on the House floor. Whether or not those things happen quickly (or at all) before the legislative session ends, is up to Speaker Of The House, Frank McNulty.  

A Call To Arms: With Underwear

Dear Women of Colorado (And The Men Who Love Them),

While you’ve been busy raising your children, going to work, and caring for everyone around you, Tea Party crazies have been trying to take away women’s rights and plunge us back into a previous century.

In 2010, Tea Party extremists gained power in Washington DC, and in many parts of this country. They’ve presented more than 1100 separate legislative provisions  aimed at making women second-class citizens, of which, more than 135 have been passed. These are the kinds of things they’ve been trying to do:

*   Defund Planned Parenthood,  an organization which offers cancer screenings, mammograms, well-woman visits, contraception, treatment of STDs and family planning services.

*   Slash Medicaid for 21 million poor women, so women cannot have health care.

*   Prevent access to birth control and cancer screenings.

*   Repeal ObamaCare,  which was the single biggest advancement in women’s health in generations. ObamaCare prevents discrimination based on gender, and makes sure insurance companies pay for the things woman deserve, like contraception, pregnancy services, etc.

*   Make women who need abortions to wait longer periods to have them. (Sometimes even, when waiting could cause injury to the woman.)

*    Force trans-vaginal ultrasounds  on women who do not need them (government sanctioned-rape).

*   Make women get permission  from their husbands or boyfriends in order to get abortions. (What are women and girls who are raped supposed to do?)

Republicans on the radio continue to use the airwaves to insult women, degrade women, and abuse women. Remember Rush Limbaugh who called college student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute eleven times, simply because she had premarital sex with her fiance? How about the conservative radio talk show host who told a father he should have a friend rape his daughter  to make sure she didn’t turn out to be a lesbian?

Colorado women and the men who love them will not stand for this lack of respect for women anymore. Join us in a revolt.

Show up to their offices, and make them talk to you. Send them your (clean) underwear to remind them you exist, you vote, and (over your dead body) will they continue to abuse, degrade, mock and insult women in Colorado. Bring your daughters, and granddaughters, and their girlfriends with you.

Picket outside their office with signs, banners, and underwear flags. Call them, fax them, email them, show up to meetings, and generally hound them, until they get the message that they need to go back where they came from.

Raise money for the candidates who seek to replace them (the good guys).

The Bad Guys

These are the bad guys who are at the top of the Republican party in Colorado, all of whom have ties to the Tea Party:

US Congressman Mike Coffman (Republican)

US Congressman Scott Tipton (Republican)

US Congressman Doug Lamborn (Republican)

Coffman, Tipton, and Lamborn are the crazy Tea Party wingnut men who need to answer to you, face to face. Here is where you can find them (taken from their own websites):

Mike Coffman

Congressman Mike Coffman

Coffman’s district office is at:

9220 Kimmer Drive; Suite 220

Lone Tree, CO 80124

Phone: (720) 283-9772

Fax: (720) 283-9776

Campaign Offices

5950 S. Willow Drive, Suite 306

Greenwood Village, CO 80111

9249 South Broadway, #200-501

Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Phone: 303-791-6453

Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton has five offices, for your convenience.

609 Main St., #105 Box 11

Alamosa, CO 81101

Phone: (719) 587-5105

Fax: (719) 587-5137

#10 West Main Street, Suite 107

Cortez, CO 81321

Phone: (970) 565-7383

Fax: (970) 259-1563

835 E. Second Avenue, Suite 230

Durango, CO 81301

Phone: (970) 259-1490

Fax: (970) 259-1563

225 North 5th St., Suite 702

Grand Junction, CO 81501

Phone: (970) 241-2499

Fax: (970) 241-3053

503 N. Main Street, Suite 658

Pueblo, CO 81003

Phone: (719) 542-1073

Fax: (719) 542-1127

Doug Lamborn

Doug Lamborn has two offices for your convenience.

1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110

Colorado Springs, CO  80920

Phone: (719) 520-0055

Fax: (719) 520-0840

415 Main Street

Buena Vista, CO  81211

Phone: (719) 520-0055

Fax: (719) 520-0840

(no mail delivery)    

The Colorado Springs District Office is serviced by the Colorado Springs Metro Bus System. The Purple Line Stop is a short walk from the office.

Picket outside their office with signs, banners, and underwear flags. Call them, fax them, email them, show up to meetings, and generally hound them, until they get the message that they need to go back where they came from.

Raise money for the candidates who seek to replace them (the good guys).

The Good Guys

Here are the good guys, men who treat women with the respect they deserve. Please do everything you can to help them get elected.

Candidate Joe Miklosi (Democrat)  

Candidate Sal Pace (Democrat)

Candidate Dave Anderson (Independent)

Register to vote. Make sure every woman you know is also registered to vote. Then, make sure every woman you know does vote. Your life, your daughter’s life, and your granddaughter’s lives depend on it.

Copy this letter and hand one to every woman you know.

Thank you,

Nancy Cronk

Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother and (hopefully someday), future Grandmother

“We Are Women Colorado” Events Were A Huge Success!

(Fantastic work, organizers! Keep the pressure on! – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

Update: The We Are Women Colorado group would like to thank all of our speakers, volunteers, perfomers, security guards and so many others for helping us pull off a huge event this past Saturday!

To clarify, although it was organized and paid for by the grassroots, we couldn’t have pulled it off without the PR help of our friends in Allied organizations who mentioned our event in their newsletters, emails, social media, or at their events: NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Women of Colorado, Blueflower, 9 to 5, White House Project, Health Care for All Colorado, Occupy, Emerge, AM 760 radio, local Democratic groups, etc. Thank you to OFA and some other groups for allowing their voter registrars to come to our event, as well. A huge thank you to Senator Morgan Carroll for helping me put together the roster for the rally! (Please let me know who I have forgotten.)

My emphasis in the comments that ours was a grassroots event was not to minimize the contributions of these wonderful allied organizations — only to fend off accusations that we were somehow a front group for the Democratic party or for some other group. We weren’t and we’re not, although we do appreciate our allies in this community! Please accept my apologies if you are one of the many people or organizations that helped us spread the word. We love our allies! Please continue to donate to them, volunteer for them, and support them!

Thank you!


Thousands of Colorado men and women participated in “We Are Women” events on Saturday, which included a Rally, a March/Parade, pre- and post-event concerts, and a flashmob at the Colorado State Capitol.

Denver’s main newspaper had nothing to say about it. Meanwhile, Denver’s Channel 9 News did mention the women’s events briefly while also making time for another important breaking story, “Student Makes Prom Dress From Pop Tabs”. Denver’s Channel 7 was the only main-stream media that covered We Are Women events, showing the beginning of the crowd pouring in for the pre-Rally concert, and and actually, a great shot of some flashmob performers.

Numerous simultaneous events were going on in Denver on Saturday, yet the following community leaders stood proudly with Colorado women. Some, like House District 35 Democratic Candidate Armando Valdez, drove hundreds of miles to attand. Some of the high-profile attendees managed to attended the funeral of Democrat Paul Sandoval, and still attend the March afterward.  

Legislators in attendance:

House Representatives Crisanta Duran (D-HD5),

Lois Court (D-HD6),

Su Ryden (D-HD36),

Jonathan Singer (D-HD11),

Beth McCann (D-HD8),

Rhonda Fields (D-HD42),

Joe Miklosi (D-HD9),

State Senators Morgan Carroll (D-SD29),

Gail Schwartz (D-SD5),

Betty Boyd (D-SD21),

Linda Newell (D-SD26),

Evie Hudak (D-SD19),

Pat Steadman (D-SD31),

Brandon Shaffer (D-SD17),

Former Legislator, Dianna Primavera (D-HD33)

Andy Kerr (D-HD26), was later photographed along the parade route.

State Senator Irene Aguilar quickly jumped on the “We Are Women Colorado” facebook page, and apologized for not being able to attend. Senator Aguilar, a popular speaker at Health Care for All Colorado events for a number of years, has been a regular attendee at pro-women’s health rallies in the past.


Pre and post-event concert by The Foxfield Four (formerly the David James Band)

Musical Comedy by “The Raging Grannies”

National Award-winning Poetry Slam Artists, Suzi Q and Jen Rinaldi

Sami DeBell and Company performed a surprise flashmob at the State Capitol, and then joined the March, adding to the parade numbers.


Brandon Shaffer (D-CD4),

Dave Anderson (I-CD5),

Joe Miklosi (D-CD6),

Armando Valdez (D-SD35),

Mike Foote (D-HD12),

JM Fay (I-HD41),

Tracy Kraft Tharp (D-HD29),

Paul Rosenthal (D-HD9),

Lorna Idol (D-HD25),

Jonathan Singer (D-HD11),

Pier Cohen (D-HD60)

Mary Parker (D-HD22)

Donovan ODell (D-HD38)

(Nancy Todd D-HD41, and husband Terry Todd, D Candidate for HD41, helped with the planning of the event but couldn’t be there.)

Don’t see your legislators or candidates for office here? Call them and find out why not. Note the two independent candidates in the above list. Notably absent were all Colorado Republican legislators and candidates, for any office.

Community Leaders and Activists:

Human Rights Attorney Beth Klein

Unitarian Universalist Reverend Dr. Nori Rost

Rosemary Harris Lytle, CO NAACP State President, ACLU

Personal story by Activist Kelly Everitt

DeAna Jiminez, Co-Chair of Colorado 9-5, with her children

Native American Activist and former CO State Trustee, Karen Wilde

Former First Lady of the State of CO, Dottie Lamm

Nancy Perlmutter, wife of Congressman Ed Perlmutter

Several attendees commented upon the best speeches of the day, with many agreeing they were by NAACP’s Rosemary Harris Lytle, and CD6 Candidate Joe Miklosi.

Lead Organizer Meg Fossinger summarized,

“It was a beautiful day. So many women and children out standing up for their rights… standing up for our rights! It’s time for those in power to understand women are not going to stand for the attacks against us. I was thrilled with the diversity of the speakers who were there. The roster included everyone from award-winning national poet Susi Q, to NAACP’s Rosemary Harris Lytle, to some amazing politicians like Representative Joe Miklosi and Senator Brandon Schaffer, who are challenging incumbents who do not support women’s rights. It was an incredibly inspiring day for women in Colorado.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette’s staff was extremely supportive of the events, despite the Congresswoman being at her law school reunion this weekend.

Colorado’s Lead Organizers were Nancy Cronk (Aurora), Pat Hansen (CO-Springs), Meg Fossinger (CO Springs), Kristie Wheeler (CO Springs), Kathryn Brusco (Evergreen) and Allison Vail (Aurora)

Colorado women — remember this list when it is time to volunteer, donate, vote, or subscribe to a newspaper. Your time, your money, and your opionions, matter.

Some memorable moments from Saturday:

Here is the whole two hour video if you want to see it all (except for the pre-event concert and the lunch with NARAL). I hope you watch through the march — the signs are hillarious.

I’m a little embarrassed to show a video of myself (self-conscious) but the movement is more important. Also, I regret my comment about Susan Daggett — she had mentioned to me that if she comes, she wanted to blend in with the audience, not be up on stage, so she could enjoy the crowd. My apologies to Susan.  🙁  Be sure to watch the last third of the bottom video to see lots of great signs and the flash mob.

Friday Dance and Jam Fest

What the heck.

The producer changed the lyrics a little to address religious fundamentalism in general, rather than picking on a particular faith, which I love. See you Saturday!

Friday Jams Fest

Just have to post this before leaving early in the morning to head downtown to watch the CO version of the Blunt Amendment be voted down on the floor. (Sorry, there is no Russian translation of this one Dave T.) The producer changed the lyrics a little to address religious fundamentalism in general, rather than picking on a particular faith.

See you, Saturday!  

It’s Official: Joe Miklosi Is “Red To Blue”

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: This is a significant break for state Rep. Joe Miklosi’s campaign against entrenched incumbent Mike Coffman, at least as significant as Miklosi’s life-preserving Q1 numbers and a sign he is successfully capitalizing on that momentum. Presence in the top tier of competitive races for Democrats national puts Miklosi on a path to real contention, where before he was nowhere. It’s welcome news for Miklosi to be featured in this list of pickup hopefuls, keeping in mind that he will need to continue to raise his own money to stay there.

But like the motivational speakers say, “good follows good.” Original post continues.


DCCC Chairman Steve Israel announced fourteen new Congressional races that have qualified for the highly competitive Democratic “Red To Blue” program to win back the US House of Representatives, and CD6 Candidate Joe Miklosi made the cut. Joe’s team has surpassed standards for aggressive fundraising, effective organizing and competent infrastructure. Joe himself demonstrated that he is a problem solver and most closely represents the priorities, issues, and values of his constituency.

The DCCC’s Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns, attracting donors in “safe red” or “safe blue” districts to invest in other, more competitive districts across the country. It also helps candidates with financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support.

Congressman Jared Pols serves on the Red To Blue Program committee. The Red To Blue program emphasizes the needs of the middle class, and Miklosi’s background, goals and record closely matched the criteria for becoming a Red To Blue candidate.

Miklosi is running against Tea Party Incumbent, Mike Coffman, in a newly redistricted area which is now roughly 1/3 R, 1/3 D and 1/3 U, thanks to the addition of the urban/suburban medium sized City of Aurora. Aurora is the third largest city in Colorado.

From the Red To Blue Press Release:

70 percent of the current Red to Blue candidates outraised their Republican opponent in the first quarter of 2012 (16 of 23). The House Race Hotline wrote these Red to Blue candidates are the “strongest recruiting class since ’06, no small feat.”

What does this mean for middle income voters all across Colorado? They are one step closer to being represented in Congress by someone who shares their values, their heartaches, their concerns, and their dreams. It also means it’s time to update Colorado Pols “Big Line 2012”.

Congratulations to Joe Miklosi and his staff… and congratulations to Colorado!

Other Red To Blue Candidates are:

   Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)

   Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

   Raul Ruiz (CA-36)

   Patrick Murphy (FL-18)

   David Crooks (IN-08)

   Gary McDowell (MI-01)

   John Delaney (MD-06)

   Shelley Adler (NJ-03)

   Julian Schreibman (NY-19)

   Manan Trivedi (PA-06)

   Pat Kreitlow (WI-07)

   Arizona’s 9th District*

   New York’s 18th District*

*Emerging races — designated as becoming increasingly competitive.

Have you donated to Miklosi for Congress yet?

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Thousands to March In Denver Saturday

(Truly wish I could be there. I hope it makes big waves. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

Supporting Women’s Exclusive Right To Make Own Decisions

On April 28th, 2012, at 9:30am, thousands of Colorado women and their family members will gather at Civic Center Park’s Greek Amphitheater for a Rally to protect women’s access to health care, and for the right of each woman to make her own health care decisions. State and federal legislators, musicians, poets, community leaders, and ordinary Coloradans will be addressing current legislation in Colorado and other states. Following the rally, attendees will march around the State Capitol and back around Civic Center Park to where they started.

Presenters at the Rally will include:

Human Rights Attorney Beth Klein

Musical Comedy by “The Raging Grannies”

Unitarian Universalist Reverend Dr. Nori Rost

Rosemary Harris Lytle, CO NAACP State President

CO State Representatives Crisanta Duran, and Lois Court

Award-winning Poetry Slam Artists, Suzi Q and Jen Rinaldi

Music By The Foxfield Four (formerly the David James Band)

State Representative and US Congressional Candidate Joe Miklosi

State Senators Morgan Carroll, Rev. Lucia Guzman, and Betty Boyd

State Senate President and US Congressional Candidate Brandon Shaffer

The Rally and March have been organized by a grassroots group of Colorado women, primarily using social media, following talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s personal attack on Law Student Sandra Fluke, and Foster Friess’s comment that women should “put an aspirin between their knees” as a form of birth control. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 1100 separate provisions were presented in state legislatures across the country in 2011 which attempted to limit a woman’s family planning options or access to health care. Approximately 135 of them were passed and became law.

Lone Tree resident Jean Tinley plans to bring her whole family to the March. “Women’s reproductive healthcare should remain in our hands and those of our doctors, not legislators. Family planning is a personal and private decision”, she said.

“Extremists in Congress like Mike Coffman are deliberately increasing the cost of health care for millions of women. At the same time, they have let the Violence Against Women Act expire. It is outrageous” said State Representative Joe Miklosi.

For more information, contact Nancy Cronk at wearewomenco@gmail.com or visit the national website at Unitewomen.org .

As George Bush so fondly like to ask, are you with us or against us?

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GOP Gives Guns to The Mentally Ill?

Controversial House Bill 1048 passed on a 37-28 vote, with four Democrats joining the NRA and 33 pro-death, pro-gun profit Republicans in support of the measure. The bill would eliminate the state’s background checks on gun sales for firearms.

Tea Party sponsor Mark Waller (R- Colorado Springs — but you knew that) justified the bill, stating it simply eliminates a “duplicitous system” because the FBI already performs background checks through federally-licensed dealers.

Representative Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), who lost her son and his fiance to gun violence, urged legislators to defeat the bill, saying, “We should be doing everything we can to preserve and protect life”.  

Democrats and pro-life advocates need to band together to defeat this pro-death bill, which was clearly written to increase profits for gun manufacturers. Gun checks at the state and federal levels sometimes create slightly different results, creating a much-needed second-opinion before putting firearms in the hands of persons who may be mentally ill, or may have criminal records. The evidence that a second gun-check is effective in reducing gun sales to potential criminals is obvious — if the bill didn’t prevent an occasional sale (profit), the NRA would not be pushing this piece of legislation. And they are.

As a woman who grew up surrounded by rifles, I have nothing against guns. My father worked in a factory during the week, but on evenings and weekends, he and my brothers hunted and fished in the Michigan woods, regularly bringing home dead things to eat to supplement the family food budget. Dad loved guns; my brother does even more today. In fact, he and his wife and seven children pose every year in front of their Christmas tree for their annual holiday photo, with their new gifts of camouflage and rifles (probably why I converted to Judaism and became a vegetarian as an adult). My Dad was the biggest hunter-enthusiast I’ve ever known, and he would have clearly renounced this bill.  

I am disappointed in the four Democrats who voted for this bill, and I urge all Coloradans — whether Democrat, Republican, Unaffiliated or Independent, to defeat this pro-death bill in the Colorado Senate. In the state that suffered huge losses in the Columbine shooting, we know better than to cut corners by putting guns in the hands of people who should not have them.

Denver Resident Michelle Schoen, a two-time survivor of senseless gun violence that killed family members, agrees:

My 20 month old son, RJ, was murdered by a mentally ill teenager in 1991… In 1994, my brother (20 years old) was shot to death (the entire left side of his face blow off) with a shotgun, owned by someone who wasn’t required to pass a background check, in a state where a background check was not required. This bill sickens me to my core.

David and Goliath : Paladino Files Suit Against Gessler

(Ballsy move. Me likey.   – promoted by Middle of the Road)

In a gutsy move by a relatively unknown Democratic candidate in a Republican stronghold, SD27 Candidate David Paladino issued this press release today. Paladino joined Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Mike Cerbo, Pro-choice Colorado, the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Ballot Issue Committee, and Citizens for Integrity, in calling CO Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s latest actions “unconstitutional”.

If Paladino is this gutsy in his first political move, do Pols readers have a prediction for what might happen in his race against David Balmer?  

   State Senate Candidate David Paladino Joins Suit Against Rules Increasing Secrecy in Political Financing

   Paladino calls new rules a welcome mat to political corruption

   Centennial — A lawsuit aimed at stopping Secretary of State Scott Gessler from vastly increasing secret political spending in Colorado was joined by CO Senate District 27 Democratic candidate David Paladino on Friday, April 6th.

   Paladino, who is seeking his first term in office to represent an area that covers Centennial, called the new rules “an insult and a welcome mat to potential corruption by rolling back campaign finance disclosures and preventing Colorado voters from knowing who is funding political campaigns, a right we all have today. It will bring political spending in Colorado to new lows.”

   Under these new rules, Gessler says that a county or city political party where there’s home rule may now funnel money to its state party without reporting who donated the funds, no matter how much.  He also loosens the restrictions on when a political party, issue committee or other political organization must report contributions and expenditures, making it possible for special interests to avoid disclosure.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in political spending would be obscured as a result.

   “Colorado’s constitution has long protected voters and citizens from back-room funding of local candidates and campaigns,” said Paladino, “but now the Secretary of State wants to turn the tables around so that millions of dollars could be potentially funneled into political use without the public knowing about it.

   “This ignores our state’s constitutional protections against secret money in politics and it violates every sense that we have that  political money has to be out in the open so we know who is being supported by what interests, and how. Voters deserve to know that.”

   The legal action was filed in Denver District Court.  Included as plaintiffs along with Paladino are Mike Cerbo, Colorado AFL-CIO executive director, Pro-Choice Colorado, the PPRM Ballot Issue Committee, and Citizens for Integrity, Inc.  Colorado Common Cause filed a similar suit on Friday.

   The court is being asked to stay rules that Gessler created in March because the Secretary of State overstepped the authority and legal bounds of his office. It also says that the rules are in violation of Colorado’s clearly-defined constitutional requirements for political contributions and spending.

   “It’s been a long-time right for voters in our state to know who is backing whom and what,” said Paladino, “and Scott Gessler has no right to change that.”


Will Gessler Get Away With His Newest Rule Interpretations?

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Over My Dead Body (Literally)

Republicans have declared a War On Women, attempting to take away their right to make their own health care decisions, including the use of contraception for family planning and medical reasons. They’ve also introduced hundreds of bills into state legislatures across the country which attempt to introduce “personhood clauses”, which encroach upon women’s reproductive rights. These bills are usually presented in ways that play upon the sympathies of women, by using stories from current events. In Colorado, HB1130 uses the tragic story of a pregnant woman who was hit by a car and killed, to sneak in a definition of life as beginning with a fertilized egg.

As a suburban mother, a former preschool and religious school teacher, and one of nine children raised in a conservative home, I might have fallen for their tactics. Fortunately, I’ve been paying attention for too long.

If the Republicans were really interested in protecting babies, rather than playing to their base for donations and votes, they would not have exempted doctors from prosecution in the CO bill. Medical malpractice in obstetrics and gynecology is a huge problem, but they exempted doctors in HB1130. Why? Because the AMA is a large contributor to the Republican Party.

If Republicans were really interested in protecting babies, they would be making sure fewer young and poor women were becoming pregnant. How? By covering contraception under every insurance plan in these United States.

If Republicans were really interested in protecting babies, they would be investing more public funding in higher education. Women who go to college are far less likely to become unmarried mothers than women who do not.  

I’ve shared my own traumatic pregnancy story in blogs before. What I did not share was what was going through my head in the minutes between being told my life depended on having a D&C, and actually having one. In a nutshell, I had been a stay-at-home mother of a one-and-a-half year old, married to a graduate student. I was four months into my second pregnancy when I awoke one morning in a pool of blood. At the hospital, I was given an ultrasound and told I was no longer carrying a fetus, but Gestational Trophoblastic disease.  

The condition started with a molar pregnancy (hydatitiform mole, a condition where the fetus becomes crowded out by pre-cancerous tumors within the uterus which are fed by pregnancy hormones, resulting in rapid abdominal growth mimicking a normal pregnancy). I was told the ultrasound indicated the fetus was no longer viable, but in very rare instances, sometimes they still can be. Once the uterus fills with the tumors, and bleeding begins, the woman will bleed to death unless she is emergently given a D&C. While I sat waiting for my emergency surgery (I was bleeding heavily at the time), I thought of my conservative upbringing, my previous anti-abortion beliefs, and my own toddler at home, waiting for his Mommy to come home.

I knew I had no choice but to have the D&C because my life depended on it, and even in the very small chance the ultrasound was wrong about the fetus being non-viable, not having one meant certain death for me and the fetus, anyway. Still, my grief over losing a wanted pregnancy, coupled with the terror of waking up in a pool of blood, was second only to my strong sense of guilt. Although I had every reason to believe I was doing the right thing, and I had even fought for the ERA while in college , I was suffering from what mental health experts call “internalized oppression” — the belief that somehow I wasn’t qualified to make my own decisions about my own life.

I could have died that day. I could have bled to death.  And if I had, my baby at home would have not had a mother.

Damn Republican legislators for making any woman value her own life less than the “life” of a handful of cells the size of a walnut. Damn Republican legislators for using a woman’s personal decisions about her own life to get donors, or votes, for their own political advancement. Damn Republican legislators for valuing women below their own greedy career aspirations and the opportunity to make money as lobbyists later on.

I had that D&C, and received close monitoring from my personal physician, a radiologist, an oncologist, and an endocrinologist for the following year. I was told I might not be able to have more children because the precancerous tumors were very aggressive and advanced, and the inside of my uterus looked like it had been through a lawnmower. Fortunately, a biopsy said the tumors were benign, and I did not have any of them travel to any other parts of my body.

Two years and eleven ultrasounds later, I gave birth to Jonathan Lincoln. His name means, “A gift from G-d”. Two years after that, I gave birth to Jordan Eric. Every day since then, I privately thank G-d for ending that pregnancy before I had to do it myself. Every day, I thank G-d for giving me all three of my children. Every day, I thank G-d I made the right decision; the decision to save my own life  — with no looking back.

I am adamantly pro-choice because of the many situations where it is unwise or dangerous for a woman to continue a pregnancy, and I will fight to the end for every woman to make her own health care decisions.

At the same time, I am no ogre; I do feel compassion for a fully developed fetus that could live outside the womb if it were delivered. We must find ways to have a civil, intelligent dialogue that balances the needs and rights of a woman, the educational, psychological, financial and health care needs of an infant after birth, and scientifically-proven fetal development. We cannot have this discussion as long as American society refuses to care for women and children, and continues to deny them the basic necessities of life — food, shelter, health care, clean air and water, etc. When all sides can come together in reason, committed to caring for every person on this planet, and absent from religious dogma, maybe we’ll make some headway on this issue. Until then, we must always protect a woman’s right to choose.

To the Anti-choice Republicans in the CO State Legislature, if we have not yet met, I look forward to the day we do. When that happens, I will look into your eyes and ask you, “Would you really have let me die?”

Join me and thousands of other women on April 28th at 10am for a March and Rally Against the War On Women At Civic Center Park. Someday, the life you save, may be your own. www.unitewomen.org

House Passes “First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child Bill”

From State Rep Daniel Kagan:

This morning, on a party line vote, Colorado House Republicans passed a bill imposing “person hood”.

The party-line vote was 33-32.

HB12-1130, sponsored by Rep. Janak Joshi (Republican), would create a new class of crime victim – “an unborn member of the species homo sapiens.”

Statutes already exist in Colorado imposing additional penalties on perpetrators who knew, or should have known, that their victims were pregnant women. But the Joshi bill would allow murder charges to be filed against someone who causes a miscarriage.

Colorado voters have twice overwhelmingly rejected proposed constitutional amendments that would confer “personhood” rights on fetuses, and many organizations have expressed concerns about the potential effects of the bill.

Even the Colorado Catholic Conference declined to support it.

Rep. Daniel Kagan  of House District 3 has become an outspoken advocate for human rights issues, from gay marriage, to pro-choice, to developmental disabilities, to worker’s rights for rural shepherds. Kagans family history includes family members who were victims of the Holocaust. Kagan’s facebook status has become a popular place for women all over Colorado to look for updates on women’s rights issues in the legislature. This morning, Representative Kagan did not disappoint his supporters, posting this timely update during one of his breaks.

Time to organize.  

Former CD-6 Candidate Breaks Silence On Coffman, Farber, Miklosi

Those who know Former CD6 Candidate Hank Eng, know he is a man of integrity and few words. Hank rarely grabs the media spotlight for himself. Last night, Hank sent this message, and gave me permission to distribute it. The letters in bold are my emphasis. ~ NC

Friendship and Conscience – By Hank Eng, Former Congressional Candidate CD6

Friends and friendship are things we cherish and nurture. This is a normal part of being human. We will do anything for a friend, right? Well almost anything. This is where another human trait enters the picture; that is conscience. As human beings we all have one. As much as we may want to suppress a conscience, it is what tells us right from wrong, good from bad and helps us navigate our behavior throughout life.

By now many of you have read the Denver Post article reporting that Steve Farber, a well-known Denver attorney and registered Democrat will co-host a fundraiser for 6th Congressional District Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. Fundraisers are not unusual. It is that political season once again. What is a bit of a shock is the fundraiser is being co-hosted by a Democrat for a Republican, and hence this commentary.

Steve Farber is an unquestionable leader in our community and commands a great deal of respect including mine. Although Steve has never held public office, he has been in public service. He has been appointed to numerous public commissions by both Democratic and Republican Governors. He could always be expected to conduct his work in an ethical and non-partisan manner.

He has hosted or co-hosted many fundraisers for the community at large. I have attended some of these fundraisers in part because I wanted to learn more about causes being championed by a community leader and in part because these were causes I believed in too. And so we come to this particular cause.

Representative Coffman has served two terms in Congress. In 2008, he did not bother to campaign taking for granted his electorate and the election. In 2010 he again counted on a district that was still highly tilted in favor of a Republican in a year in which anti-administration sentiment fostered by faux grass-roots (AstroTurf) groups and general disappointment by Independents and Democrats with the pace of economic recovery slowed by a Republican more interested in culture wars than creating job. Now facing an election is a highly competitive district due to redistricting, Representative Coffman is calling on friends for help.

Mike Coffman voted for the Ryan plan which would end Social Security as we know it. In fact he has voted along party lines over 90% of the time he has been in Congress. He supports the Republican agenda to roll back affordable healthcare, defund Planned Parenthood, declare war on women health, and cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class. He may not have voiced outright support for this agenda, but he has not voiced opposition either. Campaigning on job creation, he has joined the majority in culture wars. Rather than cherishing the right to vote, he has made it more difficult for Americans to do so. He has voted for the narrow interest of the reactionary right against the better interest of all his constituents, which brings many of us to the dilemma we face.

Usually when a community leader such as Steve Farber calls for a fundraising event, we heed his call. This is the respect he commands. However, this is not a non-partisan event for a friend. It is a Republican fundraiser pure and simple for someone who already has the backing of powerful interest in Washington whose unlimited funding due to Citizens United, can buy an election. You’ve seen the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad that spread the Republican talking points on behalf of Congressman Coffman. Undoubtedly we will see more of these disinformation ads come out as we move into this election cycle. So how do we reconcile attending a fundraiser co-hosted by a community leader we respect and the cause for which Democrats and many Independents cannot support?

If conscience plays a part in your decision, you can show your support as a Democrat by contributing the $500 minimum to attend Steve Farber’s fundraiser to the campaign of Joe Miklosi. Of course any amount contributed, large or small will be welcomed if we are to counterbalance the advantage an incumbent always holds. For Independents and Democrats you have more options. One is to contribute to Joe Miklosi’s campaign if you believe we must take back our country from those wanting to destroy the middle class. Another is to make a contribution to Planned Parenthood. Both organizations are in need of your support.

2012 will be an important election year. There is much at stake. We can see what issues are front and center for the Republican. It is playing out in news story after news story. It is culture wars that divide us as a nation and not job creation that will bring us together. In fact, there really is no dilemma. I know where my conscience will lead me.  

BREAKING: “First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill” Passes CO State House 2nd Reading

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Horrible news for women’s rights from the state House tonight.

From State Rep Daniel Kagan(D) regarding HB 12-1130:

“…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.”

Pols readers may believe this bill will be stopped in the Senate. Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights this year. To assume it cannot happen in Colorado is a dangerous assumption.

Please call your State Representatives and demand justice for Colorado women. Tell them to vote “No” on this bill, which is a partial step toward completely outlawing abortion in Colorado. http://www.leg.state.co.us/cli…

Also, save the Date: March Against the War on Women, April 28th, 2012, at the Denver Capitol.

Rush’s Smackdown and CO Women Unite

When the GOP decided to create a fictitious “war on religion” to smear President Obama, and chose contraception coverage for employees of religiously-based hospitals and universities as their battle-ground, they had no idea what they were starting. Women across America realized it could potentially be a two-fer for Republicans — not just an attack on the President’s character, but also a pre-meditated, Rovian-style attempt to undermine the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

And they thought we wouldn’t even notice.

“Stupid women — too busy raising children and buying hair products to notice some of their health care benefits are being taken away”, must have been their thinking.

The argument that requiring religiously-based institutions and organizations to provide contraception coverage is an affront to the First Amendment, fell on disgusted, disbelieving ears. The United States government requires people to do things that violate their spiritual beliefs every day. For example, a number of religions believe war is morally wrong, yet, every working adult is required to pay taxes which support the Department of Defense. Some religions find eating pork offensive, yet no one has declared that food off-limits under the school lunch program. Some faiths believe in healing through prayer, yet the government can, and does, require families to seek medical care for their dependent family members. With hundreds of religions in this country, and many levels of observance within each one, it is impossible to please everybody.

Freedom of Religion is a straw-man argument, and American women’s bullshit detectors are going off at record decibals. Add to the contraception debacle the many anti-choice bills being presented in states all over the nation this year, and you get millions of women madder than Tom Tancredo lost in the middle of a Cinco De Mayo crowd with no one willing to give him directions in English.  

How angry are American women? When Rush Limbaugh personally attacked law student Sandra Fluke on his radio program last week, calling her a “slut”, women took to the internet to boycott his sponsors. Within three days, he lost fifteen sponsors and two radio stations (and counting).

Meanwhile, women are organizing all over this country, in ways I’ve not seen since Gloria Steinem and her contempories in the 1970’s. When  Tea-Party Republicans held a hearing on contraception that did not include any women on the panel, Nina Elansi posted an angry YouTube video, produced in her kitchen. Within hours, it was seen by Karen Teegarden in Birmingham, Michigan, who decided to do something about it.

Using facebook, Karen declared there would be a nation-wide March against the War On Women. Word spread quickly. Within a few days, organizers were volunteering to plan marches all in every state. One of the first was Colorado, where Colorado Springs activists passed the baton to Denver activists.

Two weeks later, the National March Against the War On Women is becoming well-organized. Volunteers have emerged in fifty states; the orginal organizing page has nearly 19,000 members, and is growing rapidly. At last count, the Colorado march page has more than 700 members. Perhaps the most astonishing sign of success is our leadership groups (made up of volunteers) has as many registered Republicans as Democrats and Independents…and some are men.

As Republican member “Jane” from Douglas County put it today,

I’m a Republican and I have always been a Republican because I believe in conservative fiscal policy. None of the Republican presidential candidates are worth taking seriously — I couldn’t vote for any of them. And, I’m a mother. I am protecting my daughter’s right to make decisions about her own body. I’m thrilled to be involved with this movement.

Please join us to Unite Against the War On Women. March with us on April 28th. Show the world Americans will not tolerate women being treated as second-class citizens. Do it for your mothers, sisters, nieces, daughters and granddaughters. And do it for mine.


The Political Life of Dr. Seuss (long)

Today is Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday. Children everywhere honor it by wearing red-and-white-striped top hats, eating green eggs and ham, and reading Hop On Pop. Most people do not realize that the “King of Children’s Books” was teaching liberal values at a time when intelligent political dialogue was squashed in the public arena.

I tweaked this diary from an eight year old essay I wrote when I was working in the interfaith community and using a Seuss curriculum to teach kindness and compassion, caring for our Mother Earth, inherent worth and dignity, worldwide brotherhood/sisterhood, and critical thinking skills. The more I studied Seuss from a religious perspective, the more I understood the important political undertones of his work, as well.

Those who knew him say Dr. Seuss would have been surprised by his fame, since he was often his own worst critic. He justified his whimsical illustrations because he never learned how to draw, and he was embarrassed by the characters in his books so much he would not be friends with them if they were real. He claimed he didn’t try to write books that teach important lessons, but that they were merely interpreted that way. His humble beginnings shed some light on his discomfort with fame.

Born in Massachusetts in 1904, he was known by his classmates for his sense of humor, disorderly conduct in school, and his constant doodling of cartoons. Although he was generally a good student, his creativity got him into trouble again and again. When he attended Dartmouth College, he was suspended for having a series of parties, and was forbidden to write any more cartoons for the school newspaper. It was at that time Ted Geisel began to use pseudonyms to continue to publish his drawings and one-liners.  Upon graduation, he was known as a quick wit but otherwise untalented, landing him the elected title, “Least likely to succeed”. He went on to receive a doctorate in literature.

Early in his career, Ted Geisel was successful in drawing cartoon advertisements for Flit Pest Spray. Although marketing was his bread and butter, he attempted to write children’s books but was soundly rejected by every publisher he approached. His art was not appreciated, and his absurd wit was seen as unsuitable for young children. Despite the mixed reviews, Dr. Seuss did eventually publish To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, his first commercially successful attempt writing for children.

Theodore Geisel served in the army as a cartoonist, where he warned about the dangers of Fascism, particularly with anti-Hitler and anti-Mussolini cartoons. He won two Academy Awards for army training films. Several cartoons of that era are controversial today. They showed Japanese-Americans as possible traitors, not long before thousands of innocent Japanese-Americans were rounded up and forcibly sent to internment camps. This was seen by many of his contemporaries as a serious error in judgment by an otherwise thoughtful and idealistic man. Dr. Seuss’ political awareness grew as his career flourished, just as the generations of Americans have who read his books. He later said he regretted his work on those films.

After the war, Dr. Seuss read an article in Life magazine attributing the reason for the high illiteracy rate in children to kids being bored to death with their primers. “Look, Dick, Look, See Jane run. See Jane and Spot run, Dick” was apparently responsible for the death of the imaginations of millions of school children. Eager to show the world that children’s literature need not be boring, Dr. Seuss took a list of 220 basic words for beginning readers and turned it into the immensely popular Cat In The Hat. Riding a wave of excitement that followed, he accepted a dare to write an entire book using only 50 words, which soon became Green Eggs and Ham, a story which reminds us all to keep an open mind.  The world of children’s literature would never be the same.  Dr. Seuss went on to write dozens more children’s books including Horton Hears a Who, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Hop on Pop.

It wasn’t long before Dr. Seuss fans picked up on Seuss’s personal politics, and the seriousness of some of his messages. Although Seuss himself never had children, he honored their limitless creativity and interest in ethics. When asked why he never had children, he responded that he was afraid of them. Apparently, he knew they could be much more imaginative and creative than he could ever be, and that frightened him. Nonetheless, Seuss understood something many people did not about children. In a nutshell, despite their limited ability to read, children can often understand deep lessons about life more easily than adults. With each book published, the life-lessons became more obvious and more important to bestow upon future generations.

In Horton Hatches An Egg, an elephant is concerned that a bird’s egg is going un-warmed, so he takes it upon himself to sit on it until it hatches. Although hatching the egg is time-consuming and challenging at times, just as mentoring and nurturing other people’s children can be for adults in our own culture, Horton’s commitment to the egg has a glorious and surprising reward. When it hatches, the creature inside is half-bird and half-elephant. Horton is the adoptive parent who finds that the child he grows to love as deeply as his own is genetically similar to its biological parents, but also very much like himself as well. If ever there were a book advocating the concept of the “It takes a Village” concept, this one is it.

Horton comes back to us again in the book, Horton Hears a Who, published in 1954. In it, Horton is splashing in the pool when he thinks he hears something on a dust speck floating by. While employing mindful listening during his everyday activities, Horton hears a tiny shout for help, made possible by the voice of the tiniest child in the land of Who, being added to all the other voices in the land. Horton commits his life to protecting the inhabitants of who on the dust speck, who are too tiny to be seen, even by Horton. Horton’s love for them is summed up in his famous quote, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.

Spiritual educator’s have seen a Christ-figure in Horton, who teaches that a person’s worth is not measured by his or her status in life, but by the fact that he or she exists. When I talked to several adults about this book recently, they thought the book was written about our relationship with children. When I asked a group of fifth graders at a local elementary school about what they thought Dr. Seuss might have been thinking in 1954, they immediately made the connection to the way African-Americans were being treated at that time. Several students also said it reminded them of how women were treated in Afghanistan under the Taliban. In the story, many “small” voices in unison eventually caught the attention of someone “bigger”, and together they changed the world. Apparently, Dr. Seuss knew what he was talking about when he said that children pick things up very quickly.

In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch, as many of you know, has a heart “two sizes too small”. The festivity and merriment of the residents of Who-ville at Christmas-time upsets this chronically depressed recluse, so he attempts to steal their happiness by taking their Christmas trees, gifts and even the “roast beast”. As you know, when Christmas does arrive, the residents sing and dance as they always had, without their commercialism and material goods.  As the Grinch learns, there is something much deeper and more valuable than presents and food and decorating at Christmas-time, and any other day of the year, for that matter.

Yertle the Turtle, written in 1958, is another religious educator’s classic. In it, King Yertle wishes to be seen as the important turtle that he is. He discovers that by climbing on the back of another turtle, he elevates himself to a higher position, and is more easily seen by the masses. The more turtles he stacks to climb upon their backs, the higher he rises. As in many great lessons, Yertle the Turtle ends up with disappointment. Although rising above others by putting them below himself sounded like a great idea, Yertle learns that the tower he made for himself out of the sacrifices of others, was bound to crumble eventually.

In Sneetches and Other Stories, the Sneetches live side by side peacefully on the beaches until they are made aware of their physical differences. Some of the Sneetches have stars upon their bellies, while the others do not. The Sneetches with stars become arrogant and decide it is better to have stars, and segregate themselves from those who do not have stars.  Not to be left out, the Sneetches with “no stars upon thars” quickly purchase stars from an opportunistic salesman.  When everyone eventually has stars, the original star-bellied Sneetches decide to identify themselves further by having their stars removed, and the others follow. The story continues in lunacy as stars are applied and removed at a dizzying pace, and the only person who benefits from it is the salesman who takes them off and puts them on again for a fee.  Sadly, the Sneetches never quite figure out that they are worthy and whole with or without the stars, and that the star salesman is the only one who benefits from their insecurities. (I think Michael Moore makes a similar point to Dr. Seuss in “Bowling for Columbine”.)

One of Dr. Seuss’s books was so controversial there was an attempt to ban it from libraries in Laytonville, California. In The Lorax, published in 1971, a greedy entrepreneur called the Onceler, attempts to cut down all of the Truffula trees which are home to many animals and creatures, including the wise, guru-like Lorax.  The book was obviously an environmental warning long before the days of organized environmental protection efforts. It was immediately seen as a threat to the lumbering industry and created a huge controversy. Seuss himself admitted The Lorax was the only one of his books he deliberately wrote just to get a point across.(The Lorax has been made into a full-length feature film to be released in 2012 — no doubt extreme religious fundamentalists will boycott it for this reason.)

Already being in some trouble over The Lorax, Dr. Seuss decided to take on bigger political issues. When friend and columnist Art Buchwald asked him what he thought of Richard Nixon, Dr. Seuss penned Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!  Afraid the public would not pick up on the inference, Art Buchwald printed the text of the book in his syndicated column, substituting Richard M. Nixon for Marvin K. Mooney.

Richard M. Nixon, will you please go now!

The time has come.

The time is now.

Just go.



I don’t care how.

You can go by foot.

You can go by cow.

Richard M. Nixon, will you please go now!

Nine days later, Richard M. Nixon resigned as President of the United States.

Even more controversial was the Butter Battle Book, written in 1984, during the height of the Reagan administration and with “Star Wars” in mind (the policy, not the movie). In it, two groups of people are at odds over which side of a piece of bread is the correct side for buttering. The argument becomes very heated, and the two groups separate from one another. Each group is convinced there is something wrong with the other. “How could they possibly believe that the other side of the bread should be buttered”, they ask themselves? “There must be something wrong with those people”, they conclude, as they build a massive wall to separate the two sides. As suspicion mounts about the other group, weapons are made to keep them at bay. Each group of bread-butterers insists on having a weapon bigger and more powerful than the other, in true Dr. Seuss exaggerated art, until one side develops a seed-size bomb that can blow up the world. As the side that discovered it creeps to the great dividing wall, the other side develops the same technology. The book ends with representatives of each side sitting on either side of the wall holding the small but powerful bomb, waiting and waiting, and wondering what their future will bring.

Dr. Seuss went on to write the ultimate liberal battle cry, Oh the Thinks You Can Think, extolling the many possibilities of reading, thinking, and choosing what one believes for oneself. In it, Dr. Seuss suggests that thinking outside of any box that we may find ourselves in, offers potentially great rewards. It also speaks to the idea that there is value in the diversity of opinions whirling around us — diversity for diversity’s sake.

Seuss also wrote a book poking fun at growing older called You Are Only Old Once before eventually succumbing to throat and mouth cancer in 1991. Although a serious issue, our own mortality can also be taken lightly, according to Seuss.

When Dr. Seuss passed away, he left an unfinished manuscript, which was illustrated and published by some of his contemporaries in his honor, which is my favorite of all of his works. Hurray for Diffendorfer Day is the story of a school where the children are encouraged to dream, to be creative, to use their unique talents, and to think outside of the box, just as Dr. Seuss himself had done all of his life. Hurray for Diffendorfer Day should be required reading for any politician interested in Education Reform.

As adults who care about children in our community, Dr. Seuss challenges us to nurture them as Horton nurtured the bird’s egg he found, to protect them as Horton protected the Whos on the dust speck, and to teach them the many lessons of The Sneetches, The Lorax and The Butter Battle Book. We are asked to challenge them with “all the thinks they can think”. Even more importantly, the legacy of Dr. Seuss is to never stop honoring the intuitive gifts of children, to learn from as well as with them, and to remember what is truly important in life.

Happy Birthday and thank-you, Dr. Seuss!


Balmer’s New Challenger: Meet David Paladino

As Chair of SD27 Dems, I am delighted to share the following press release with fellow Polsters. When David Paladino creates a Pols account and personally introduces himself (soon), I hope you will give him a warm welcome.

David Paladino Announces Candidacy for CO Senate District 27

CENTENNIAL – Centennial Democrat David Paladino has officially announced his candidacy in Colorado’s Senate District 27. The newly redistricted boundaries of Senate District 27 include the City of Centennial and portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County. Paladino will oppose 3 term State House Representative David Balmer.

David Paladino has operated a small business, is a former reporter, and is a 14-year resident of Senate District 27.  A retired communications specialist for AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), David has actively worked to improve life for families in Colorado and in many communities across the nation.  He has spoken out against working families taking the full brunt of the financial and government decisions being handed down during these tough economic times.

“Colorado faces big challenges, from growing the economy to making sure our children have access to a high quality education, to preserving our state’s natural health,” said Paladino, “but too many politicians today engage in partisan posturing rather than tackling the tough issues. I only know one way to work – as hard as I can – to bring jobs to our state, to invest in a 21st century education, and to stand up for the well-being of Colorado’s families. To have a greater Colorado, we have to put our state first, before politics.”

A first-time candidate for political office, David Paladino has worked with state and local governments across the nation. As an advocate for working families, he has gained a deep knowledge of public policy and practical management problems. He’s promoted efficiencies and clarity in government at every level – city, county, school district, state and in higher education.

David Paladino has been married to wife Cindi for 30 years, and lives in Centennial. He has three grown children — one adopted daughter, two step-daughters, and seven grandchildren. He served in the Merchant Marine while attending American University, from which he earned a BA in International Studies. He served as a volunteer on the Board of the Smokey Bear Balloon Crew in New Mexico, has actively supported many Denver area charities, and was appointed Adjunct Faculty for 1989 at the University of Ottawa-Phoenix to teach adult communication skills in Arizona.