11/21/2014

With the 2014 elections now behind us and the airwaves finally devoid of those constant blithering attack ads, we can safely breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the Thanksgiving holiday. In expressing gratitude for our many blessings, we need to realize that despite the especially rough and tumble election season that we all just witnessed, there is still a lot to be said for our form of democracy, which allows for free elections and freedom of speech.

11/21/2014

Karen Reinertson, who had a long and distinguished public and private sector career in Colorado and who was known and respected by many in the political and governmental arenas, died Nov. 9 at the age of 70 at her home in Austin, Tex. She specialized in governmental service, finance, management, consulting, lobbying, political action, and education, beginning her career lobbying for Colorado Counties, Inc.

11/14/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Except for the unanimous decision by the House Democratic caucus to designate Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Democrat from Boulder, to serve as the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives for the 70th General Assembly — and that was indeed monumental — most of the remaining leadership elections on Nov. 14 more closely resembled minor intra-party squabbles where candidates vied for office, albeit with a heightened sense of congeniality.

11/14/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

When Senate Democrats caucused on Nov. 15 to elect leadership for the 70th General Assembly, which convenes on Jan. 7, the tone of the meeting was hardly reminiscent of the past few years when they had majority status. Gone were the boisterous cheers and giddiness that ushered in the new Democratic majority back in 2004 and every session since then.

MARES: MENTAL HEALTH IS HEALTH
11/14/2014
By Don Mares
Contributing Columnist

I want you to imagine for a moment what it would be like if Americans treated cancer in a different way than we do now. Imagine that instead of encouraging people to quit smoking and take other steps to prevent cancer, we just sort of crossed our fingers. Instead of telling people they need to get regular screenings, we waited until the illness had progressed to a more noticeable and less treatable stage.

11/14/2014

Interstellar

Starring Matthew McConaughey,
Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain,
Michael Caine;
directed by Christopher Nolan

11/7/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, stoking widespread discontent with President Barack Obama, toppled Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall on Tuesday, scoring the first major statewide win by a Colorado Republican in a dozen years.

“Is there anybody here from Yuma?” Gardner asked an ecstatic crowd packed into a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center at the state GOP’s election night party, referencing the small town on the Eastern Plains where his family has lived for generations. “Tonight, we shook up the Senate,” he shouted. “You shook up the Senate!”

11/7/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s congressional delegation kept the same partisan distribution — four Republicans and three Democrats — on Tuesday and every incumbent who sought reelection won another term, including U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Aurora Republican who triumphed by a wider than anticipated margin in the face of one of the most hard-fought challenges in the country from former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

11/7/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Gathered at the newly redeveloped Union Station in downtown Denver after the polls closed Tuesday night, supporters were hopeful that Gov. John Hickenlooper would make his acceptance speech early in the evening before heading over to the Westin Hotel a few blocks away to celebrate with fellow Colorado Democrats.

10/31/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A week before ballots are counted, former President Bill Clinton addressed crowds at Hinkley High School in Aurora on Monday night and the Sheraton Denver West Hotel in Lakewood on Tuesday, sharing the stage with U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper, two incumbent Democrats locked in neck-and-neck races.

Congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff made a pitch to help him unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman at the Aurora rally and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who is facing a challenge from Republican Don Ytterberg, asked Democrats to send him back for another term at the Lakewood rally.

LOVE KOURLIS: OUR SYSTEM OF JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE IS ONE OF BEST
10/31/2014

Do you wonder about the judges on your ballot? Do you want more information about them?

SANDERSON: ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR THE COAL INDUSTRY
10/31/2014

Imagine seeing big increases in your monthly electricity bill that never seem to end.

Picture the loss of 9,000 jobs in Colorado and the West.

Think of how life would change if power outages became a matter of course instead of rare occurrences.

10/27/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Jodi Garnier was ready to go out walking.

Ten days before the election, the Littleton Republican had just met U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in what could be tightest U.S. Senate race in the country, and she was fired up to head out into nearby neighborhoods on a balmy Saturday afternoon to persuade voters to turn in their mail ballots.

10/24/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an impassioned defense of the Democratic record while urging a crowd of volunteers to help revive some of the magic that swept her husband, President Barack Obama, into office six years ago, at a campaign rally in Denver on Thursday for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who is facing a neck-and-neck battle with Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner in a bid for a second term.

10/24/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

The half-hour gubernatorial debate at the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry’s annual luncheon this week felt a little bit like speed dating. For those expecting a pair of fatigued boxers emerging from their corners for a late round exchange of body blows and clinches against the ropes, both candidates’ crisp, quick responses had to come as something of a surprise. A lengthy tennis match may better describe these Colorado combatants. Entering their fifth and final set, with Election Day fast approaching, Bob Beauprez and John Hickenlooper now anticipate eachother’s shots.

10/17/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

With three top-ticket races that each appear to be tight as a tick — the U.S. Senate contest between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner; Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and his challenger, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez; and three-term U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s run against former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff — Republicans, Democrats and single-issue groups are pulling out all the stops in an effort to chase every ballot.

ARNOLD: DON’T BE CONNED BY THE BLUE BOOK REVIEWS
10/17/2014
By Matt Arnold
GUEST COLUMNIST

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
— Abraham Lincoln

As Coloradans prepare to cast their ballots in the 2014 elections, despite being bombarded with political ads and mailers, most voters have little to no information on up to a third of the people asking for their vote: our state’s third branch of government, the judges.

10/10/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, his Republican challenger, sparred over healthcare, birth control, the economy and national security in a feisty, hour-long debate on Tuesday night in Denver, one of three debates between the Senate candidates this week, just days before mail ballots go out to Colorado voters.

10/10/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

Three candidates for Attorney General engaged in a spirited debate before the Colorado Bar Association this week. David Williams, Libertarian, Cynthia Coffman, Republican, and Don Quick, Democrat, were afforded a three-minute opening, followed by a series of questions submitted from various interest group bar associations. Fred Brown, former columnist and editor with The Denver Post now teaching journalism ethics at the University of Denver, served as moderator.

10/10/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

On Friday an overflow crowd filled the AME Shorter church in East Denver for a memorial service in remembrance of Regis F. Groff. For two deeply moving hours the former Senate Democratic Minority Leader was honored for his qualities as leader, pioneer, mentor, teacher, parent and role model. Nearly overlooked were his mischievous temperament, infectious humor and visceral enthusiasm, which he carried into both his political and personal life. Groff was far more than the conscience of the Colorado Senate; he was also a genuinely happy warrior.

10/3/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez shook hands on stage Tuesday night when the Democrat proposed that their two campaigns swear off negative ads, but both candidates swung hard at each other during the rest of an hour-long debate in Denver.

10/3/2014
By Sandra Fish
Special to The Colorado Statesman

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has raised nearly four times as much as Bob Beauprez, his Republican challenger.

But the financial heft of the Republican Governors Association and Beauprez himself could render the incumbent’s fundraising lead moot.

In fact, outside spending by the RGA, the Democratic group Making Colorado Great and potentially others will likely ultimately overshadow spending by the two candidates.

11/21/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado law requires the Governor to issue an annual budget proposal each year on the first Monday in November. Since the six members of the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee ultimately draft the state’s budget, it is often argued this can prove a wasted exercise. When the Governor’s party controls one or more of the legislative chambers, his or her budget proposal enjoys some chance of being considered. Otherwise, a Governor’s preferences can be and generally are ignored by the JBC.

SMITH: MAJOR PROBLEM STILL EXISTS WITH IGUALA
11/21/2014
By Morgan Smith
The Colorado Statesman

To the great surprise of most observers, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has pushed forward three major reforms that could lead to dramatic political and social improvements for Mexico as well as new business opportunities for Colorado companies. He has broken the telecommunications monopoly, meaning that Mexicans should soon have better and cheaper phone service.

11/21/2014
By Judie Schwartz
The Colorado Statesman

First, a disclaimer. Style Matters loves jewelry, any kind. I will stop to peruse Target’s jewelry department. I think the new JC Penney jewelry cases at Park Meadows are worth inspecting. The first place I go to when visiting a new city is its museum jewelry display.

11/21/2014
By Maggie Tharp
The Colorado Statesman

You’re going to go to Zengo and you’re going to like it. That’s not an order; it’s a prediction.

11/14/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

There were plenty of high fives to go around at the Senate Republicans caucus last week as members of the GOP team rejoiced in having successfully punted the political football across the goal line for an 18-17 victory on the big Nov. 4 game day. At a Tuesday morning rehash of all the action, Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, was the consensus pick for MVP and tapped Senate president-designate. He will report to camp on Jan. 7 for opening day of the new legislative season.

11/14/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

House Republicans were the first to hold their leadership elections, even though the exact size of their caucus was still undetermined several days after the Nov. 4 election. But the trend was apparent, and members came to grips that despite early returns, which actually showed them closing in on grabbing control of the House away from Democrats, they once again would be relegated to minority status. Democrats will control the chamber 34-31 in the new session.

COX: MUSINGS FROM THE MISTS OF AMEREXICO
11/14/2014
By Robert E. Cox
GUEST COLUMNIST

Well, the Dems have been pounded into pulp, the Republicans will have control of Congress for the next two years and Obama will have the veto pen.

At least the growing dysfunction in Washington will be simpler to understand — it’ll be Obama down at the White House against the Republicans on Capitol Hill. No finalists left standing in this war to define the American soul. Will it be one of enlightened progress or creepy conservatism? Will it once again blaze a fresh trail into the future, or be content to rest, fat as a croaking frog, on its molding lily pad of laurels?

11/7/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

As the crowd that packed the West Foyer of the State Capitol on the morning after Election Day chanted “Four more years!” a smiling Gov. John Hickenlooper encouraged their cheers and then gave a hearty summation: “The voters of Colorado have spoken. What I want to express, first and foremost, is gratitude. We are incredibly grateful that we have earned a second term as Colorado’s governor.”

11/7/2014

Editor’s Note: On Nov. 3, the day before Election Day, Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign appeared confidant — at least publicly — of victory. Campaign manager Adam Dunstone was on record predicting that the final results of the contest between Udall and Republican challenger Cory Gardner probably would not be determined until at least a day after the polls closed since there would be so many late votes coming in on Nov. 4 despite the mail balloting that had begun three weeks previously.

He was wrong.

11/7/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

For the second election in a row, Republicans swept all three of Colorado’s statewide cabinet-level offices on Tuesday, scoring wins for attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton won a second term, besting former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, the Democratic nominee, 50 percent to 44.9 percent. Libertarian David Jurist got 5.1 percent of the vote, according to returns posted at press time by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

11/3/2014

On Saturday, three days before the election, Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson launched a one of a kind Bike in Your Ballot campaign to encourage voter participation. “Democracy doesn’t work unless we vote. That’s why I biked nearly 20 miles to inspire people to be active civically as well as physically,” said Johnson.

10/31/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Less than a week before ballots are due, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told several hundred avid Republicans that Colorado voters have the chance to turn the tide of history by sending U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner to the Senate and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez to the governor’s mansion.

“This is a historic election that’s going to make a huge difference in the future of this country,” said Bush at a rally for the GOP on Wednesday evening at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock.

10/31/2014

Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis;
directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Whiplash
Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist;
directed by Damien Chazelle

I saw these films together and so will review them together. But I’m having a hard time deciding which one to review first, or even which one I liked better. I just can’t seem to get started.

10/24/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Good morning! Today is Oct. 24, exactly one week before Halloween. But an even bigger day looms a short time afterwards as we get set for the Nov. 4 Election Day. That could be pretty scary for some of our readers who are following the polls, but the results are liable to change from now until then depending on The Ground Game of the campaigns. Those seem to be the code words everyone is muttering under their breath, as if the much-ballyhooed get-out-the-vote drives are the campaigns’ secret ammunition. We’ll see.

10/24/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Hillary Clinton told a packed ballroom full of excited Democratic volunteers in Aurora on Tuesday that embattled U.S. Sen. Mark Udall was “fighting on the frontiers of freedom” by making women’s rights the centerpiece of his campaign against Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.

10/17/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Democrats honored party stalwarts and vowed to redouble efforts to turn out the vote — just days before mail ballots were set to go out — at the party’s sixth annual Edward M. Kennedy Dinner on Saturday night at the downtown Marriott.

With major races for the U.S. Senate, governorship and control of the state Senate up for grabs, officials again and again reminded party workers that they hold the direction of the state in their hands if they’re able to run up the totals and persuade voters to keep checking boxes down the ticket.

10/10/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Gubernatorial candidates John Hickenlooper, the Democratic incumbent, and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, his Republican challenger, clashed over public safety questions and the state of Colorado’s economy at a debate in Denver on Monday, but it was an off-the-cuff quip by Hickenlooper about state voters’ decision to legalize marijuana that drew the most attention.

10/10/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

Well-known Colorado politicos debated controversial Amendment 68 at the South Metro Chamber of Commerce office in Centennial on Oct. 7. The citizen initiative, if passed by voters on Nov. 4, would provide as much as $114 million annually to improve Colorado K-12 public and charter schools by permitting expanded gaming at Arapahoe Park horse racetrack. It would also allow gaming at no more than one horse racetrack in each of Pueblo and Mesa counties where racing and wagering have taken place for at least five consecutive years.

10/10/2014
By Morgan Smith
Special to The Colorado Statesman

Regis Groff not only brought great class and dignity to the Colorado General Assembly but he was able to lift us from what often seemed like the day-to-day grind of our work and enable us to see that being an elected official was both a special opportunity and a unique responsibility. I served in the House and he was in the Senate and I remember often going over to the Senate Chambers when he was to speak on an issue because I knew that whatever he said would be uplifting.

10/3/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign across Colorado, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez routinely stumped for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and this week the former Massachusetts governor returned the favor, rallying a crowd of supporters on Monday at Heritage High School in Littleton for Beauprez and the GOP ticket in the state.