Pete Webb’s column on Rep. Amy Stephens was a mere puff piece of haphazardly constructed half-truths and assertions — and he never called me for a response

Dear Editor,

In the “Webbcast” opinion published on Aug. 5, 2011, Pete Webb made several unsubstantiated assertions that I would like to refute.

About halfway through his article, Mr. Webb switches gears from his anti-Tea Party rant and throws out: “The county GOP, now being led by a 22-year old, has been openly hostile and supportive of the fringe groups.”

There are several errors in this allegation.

First, let’s get this straight: Eli Bremer is the chairman, Dave Williams is vice-chairman and I, Sarah Anderson, am the secretary. Mr. Webb certainly has an odd definition of who is leading the county GOP. Actually, last time I checked, it was the county GOP leadership who censured me.

Second, the only people to whom the county GOP ‘leadership’ has been “openly hostile” are those who believe that the party actually stands for something — that we have a platform for a reason and we need to stand by it. The only “fringe groups” the county GOP has been “supportive” of are the establishment groups who seek to protect and insulate power and public officials at all costs, including the sacrifice of the core principles and values that make us Republicans.

Third, it’s disingenuous to say that someone who philosophically disagrees with a legislator on one issue and has not once engaged in public personal attacks on that legislator (merely spoken on the merits of a bill and the poor manner in which it was handled, and infrequently at that) is being “openly hostile,” while giving a free ride to the same legislator who called all of her senatorial colleagues and the majority of her house colleagues “…libertarians and other people I view as anarchists” because they voted against her bill. “The libertarians are trying to take over the Republican Party, and I think that some people have to pay attention to that,” says Amy Stephens. “It’s not just libertarian, it’s anarchy … and it’s happening fast.”

These other elected officials are some of the most socially conservative, non-libertarian folks I’ve ever met (some, by comparison, would make Rick Santorum look like a pro-choice activist) — and I have worked for several of these legislators. The only “personal attack” that could even come close to being accurately held against me was asking for an apology or clarification of Rep. Stephens’ public statements to make sure that her colleagues weren’t being lumped in with the “libertarians and other people [she] view[s] as anarchists.” As far as I know, that has never happened.

Mr. Webb claims not to have spoken with the person he praises in his article (“And I’ve not talked to her about how she’s portrayed, but I’ve seen plenty of coverage.”) Mr. Webb also didn’t try to speak with me or determine the truth of any of his accusations and assertions regarding his statements about me (not even bothering to use my name but using my age to try and give the impression of a young and unknowledgeable person).

This was nothing more than a puff piece of haphazardly constructed half-truths and assertions. It is not my place to correct all the errors contained in this piece, but I did want to set the record straight on the issues regarding myself. The real question is not why he didn’t bother to verify facts, but who asked him to write it in the first place.

I’m no newcomer to politics (getting my start with Bill Owens’ gubernatorial run in 1998). Having worked in a myriad of capacities since then, I fully understand (more than most) the necessity of tactical compromise and the ‘legislative game’. Compromise, however, does not mean sacrificing the core principles and values of your political party. If a political party cannot hold itself accountable, who can?

More importantly, if the parents (or in this case, the Republican Party) corrected errant children who blatantly and flagrantly disregarded their family’s core principles and values, there would be no need for “temper tantrums.” Of course, those who have the guts to continue to stand up for what is right should continue to have “a future in politics.”

Sarah Anderson
Colorado Springs

ED’S NOTE: The article by Pete Webb in last week’s issue was a commentary, not a news story, and the opinions reflected in the piece are those of Mr. Webb. He was under no obligation, as a columnist, to run a response from the subject of his writing. We did clarify his reference to party Secretary Sarah Anderson in our online edition, but that slight technicality, we think, was actually meant more as a reference to her leadership role, not to her actual position in the El Paso County party hierarchy.

We appreciate Sarah’s response and welcome letters to the editor about our stories and columns.

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