“Moral decay” is how Colorado State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) refers to some of the results of Colorado’s general election–in particular, anti-abortion ballot measure Proposition 115, which failed to pass by a 59% to 41% margin.
The state senator spent time Thursday on the KFTM’s Big Morning Show with John Waters criticizing Colorado voters for some of the choices they made last Tuesday, ranging from the ouster of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to the passage of several measures that will raise taxes.
“I’m trying to figure this out because [Colorado voters] will vote for more income tax relief to keep more of their own money,” Sonnenberg said. “They will vote to limit government with [Proposition] 117, which says if you create a government enterprise, then you’re going to collect large amounts of fees. You need to bring that to the voters. But yet they vote to increase the amount they pay in property taxes for their homes, tobacco taxes, and then the largest health care or enterprise, quite honestly, that I that could imagine, in family leave.”
Sonnenberg chastised the family and medical leave measure for what he believes was a lowball estimate of the real costs of the program. He claimed that likely most employees will take 12 weeks paid leave, which would lead to a significant increase in fees.
Sonnenberg was clearly angered by the defeat of Prop. 115, which would have banned abortion after 22 weeks.
“If you wait twenty-two weeks to make that decision, you’re just off your rocker, quite frankly,” said Sonnenberg.
“But that ads were trying to make this all a woman’s choice. And I don’t know, you know, what’s next? If you don’t like the baby after it’s born, do you have a week then to kill the baby? To me, it’s the same difference whether you kill a baby while it’s in the womb a day before it’s born or kill the baby a day after it’s born outside the womb. It’s still killing the baby.”
Prop. 115 only made an exception for abortions immediately necessary to save the patient’s life, which medical professionals state was an extremely narrow exception that put women’s health and possibly their lives in danger during pregnancy situation.
Opponents of Prop. 115 argue that pregnancy is complicated, and there are many circumstances in which a late abortion might be necessary; oftentimes, a patient’s health may be at high risk from the pregnancy, the fetus may be diagnosed with a fatal condition, or a patient may not find out that they are pregnant until later on in the pregnancy.
Also under the umbrella of disappointments for Sonnenberg is what he called the “legalization” in Oregon of “meth, heroine, cocaine.”
Oregon decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs this election, although users can still receive misdemeanors for possession above a certain amount, and felonies will be handed to those possessing enough with which to deal.
Outside of laws passed this election, Sonnenberg and Waters also lamented the exit of Gardner as Coloradan U.S. Senator.
“I honestly believe Cory Gardner got more done as a U.S. senator than any of the other senators I have seen in recent history that I’ve had an opportunity to interact [with],” said Sonnenberg. “I mean, if you look at the Arkansas conduit, you look at conservation stuff that he has done, Cory is a workhorse. And for the people to reject him just because he is an R and the money that was spent to paint him as something other than a hard worker, I guess that’s the reality of politics.”
Sonnenberg and Waters also praised Gardner on working well across the aisle.
Gardner was scored as the third most bipartisan senator in 2019 by a nonpartisan scoring system, although many argue that Gardner’s record of voting so often with President Donald Trump dampen his bipartisanship score.
When it comes down to the state election results on both statewide and national levels, Sonnenberg blamed high turnout in Colorado.
“It’s amazing how these campaign machines work. The Democrats have done a great job,” Sonnenberg noted. “You wonder why there’s such a great turnout in Colorado. Colorado will have the highest percentage turnout of the entire nation.”
“That’s because Democrats have passed laws to register other people, the people that receive benefits,” Sonnenberg continued. “And then go out and harvest those votes, make sure that those people vote and help them. And that’s unfortunate. And we’re seeing that grow across the country.”
When asked to clarify what laws, what people, and why that would be unfortunate, Sonnenberg told the Colorado Times Recorder that he was referring to a Colorado law that automatically registers people who apply for Medicaid benefits as voters.
“[The legislature] only selected a certain group of people to register to vote,” said Sonnenberg. “They didn’t make it mandatory for people to register if they pay property tax or if they pay income tax. Only a certain demographic is who they targeted to register to vote.”
The Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2019, which Sonnenberg presumably refers to, doesn’t just automatically register Medicaid applicants.
It also registers any U.S. citizen who applies for, renews, or corrects their Colorado driver’s license.
Newly-registered voters under this law have 20 days to return a notice stating if they want to be unregistered or affiliated with a political party.
“I don’t think it should be a requirement to get benefits… that you have to register to vote,” Sonnenberg said over the phone. “Some people don’t want to register to vote; there’s a reason they haven’t registered to vote. I’m not sure that is an appropriate role of state government is to mandate people register in order to get benefits.”