State Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) last week took to Facebook to defend his vote for a state program providing drivers licenses to immigrants.
McKean was under attack by fellow Republican State Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, who called Democrats and Republicans “shameful” for opposing a budget amendment Friday that would have cut a program giving drivers licenses to, in Williams’ words, “illegal aliens.”
“This program is something that I have been told by farmers in my District is vital to help their employees in obtaining insurance so that they can limit their liability when those workers have to leave the farm, even for a few hundred yards,” McKean wrote on Facebook in response to Williams attack. “After an hour of debate, virtually none of which was related to the budget discussion, nothing was offered to mitigate the effects of a very broken federal immigration system. I will continue to vote for my District and continue to put pressure on our Congressional delegation and our President to fix this flawed system. I will never tell my colleagues in the House how to vote. I count on them to know their Districts and know what their people need.”
Williams use’ of the word “illegal immigrant” in his amendment angered Democrats, like Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar.
“This is an alt-right show,” Salazar told the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic. “When you pass a policy like this, people learn how to drive better and they have insurance. They take tests that insure they know how to drive on our roads safely, which lowers insurance rates… But it has to be a show for some, not about policy, not about what’s good for Colorado, but because we have to put sparklers and glitter over a show and use hateful language in order to get people’s attention. We should rise above the show.”
“What we should be talking about here are citizens, the citizens we’re supposed to be representing and protecting,” Williams told the Statesman. “This program is another program that attracts illegal aliens to our state and in turn endangers our public… This is a sanctuary city policy. If by keeping this policy in place the majority wants to endanger our citizens, I won’t be a part of it.”
Williams’ amendment was one of a slew of measures offered last week by Republicans who said they wanted to transfer funds from existing programs to transportation. Other GOP amendments, also defeated, would have raised Medicaid co-pays, reduced Medicaid eligibility, and eliminated funding for red-light cameras and a state patrol aircraft program.