Colorado Representatives Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) and Ken DeGraaf (R-Colorado Springs) held a town hall last night at Church For All Nations where they addressed upcoming legislation in between long digressions on Marxism, abortion, evolution, and transgender people.
Bottoms began by warning the audience of the leftist agenda. “There’s going to be a pro-Palestinian resolution that’s going to come to the floor,” he warned. “I will get up and go at that with everything. Israel is not an occupying force. I’ve been over there. I’ve seen it myself. I can give an example. So the Gaza front on the Israel border, the other half of that is an Egyptian border, right? The Israeli leadership has been trying to get Gazans out of the Gaza Strip, the Gaza area getting into Egypt. Egypt will not let them come into Egypt because, this is Egypt saying, they’re terrorists. Egypt is saying they’re terrorists and they want to plan. So the idea that this is an occupation or apartheid or all this stuff — guys, that’s just evil, evil speak. It’s not political speak. It’s evil speak.”
DeGraaf warned the audience of legislation would keep guns out of designated sensitive spaces. “Basically anything outside your house would be considered a sensitive space,” he said. “Parks would be, churches would be, schools would be, grocery stores would be — everything. Everything would be a sensitive space.”
Bottoms, a pastor at the Church at Briargate, promised he would not comply. “This bill about the guns, and trying to take guns out of sensitive spaces, churches are included in the list,” he said. “Well, here’s the thing. They tried to shut me down when we started Covid. We never closed a day. They tried to make us distance. We never did. They tried to make us mask. We never did. And the government is not going to specifically attack the First and the Second Amendments in my church. I’m the pastor of that church, the state has nothing to do with it, and they will stay out of my church. They will leave us alone. I’ve done it before, I’ve fought it before. I know how to fight this and I will continue to fight this.”
A follow-up question, about the possibility of ending permitting requirements for concealed carry of handguns, led Bottoms and DeGraaf to engage in an extended discussion about abortion, natural rights, and evolution.
“This is something that I don’t think the average person really processes,” responded Bottoms. “Freedoms are already something that you have. Your freedom to live, something that you have. That freedom is given to you by God, at the point of conception. The only thing the government can do is take away that right, that freedom, and they do that by killing babies.”
After discussing the right to life, Marxism, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago,” Bottoms weighed in on the theory of evolution. “I am not an evolutionist, I think that’s a big hoax,” he said. “It’s been a hoax since it was propagated, and most scientists nowadays know it was a hoax. They’re not allowed to talk about it, but they know that. But here’s the thing- if you believe in evolution, why don’t you just kill people?”
DeGraaf accused Democrats of supporting slavery, after they rejected an amendment from Rep. Ty Winter (R-Las Animas County) that would ensure products or materials that have child slavery in their supply chain are not subsidized in Colorado. “We said Colorado will not give a tax credit or a refund or anything like that for any materials, anything, that’s used, that’s engaged in using slave labor, child slave labor,” said DeGraaf. “What would that do if we eliminated child slave labor from the electric car market? Do you know how many electric cars that could be incentivized by Colorado? Zero. None of them could. So how do you think the Democrats vote? They voted for slavery. Now, that doesn’t surprise anybody who’s familiar with the founding of the Democrat Party. But the Black Democratic Caucus voted unanimously for slavery.”
Bottoms also commented on the Jewish Caucus’ opposition to the amendment. “I’m telling you, it is bizarre,” he said. “The Black Caucus and the Jewish Caucus fought against this more than any other group there.”
While members of the Republican Caucus have engaged in rhetorical hyperbole and conspiracy theory on a number of issues, and while Republicans across the country have staked out firm opposition to electric vehicles, the concerns about children slavery in the electric vehicle supply chain are not unfounded. Last year, Forbes reported that a study by New York University and the Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights found that major auto, battery and electronics manufacturers are doing too little to ensure the cobalt they’re using doesn’t involve child labor at Congo’s numerous unsafe “artisanal” mines.
“About 80% of the world’s cobalt is in the Congo and 20% of that comes from these informal artisanal mines,” Michael Posner, director of NYU’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and who helped create the report, told Forbes. “10% of the world’s cobalt is coming out of these artisanal mines — it’s a huge amount of product.”
Bottoms also discussed recent Democratic legislation to protect reproductive and gender-affirming health care. “They want to make sure that guys that are dudes that say, ‘I’m a woman,’ have reproductive health benefits, but I’m telling you, this kind of insanity is what we’re dealing with at the Capitol,” he said. “If he comes in there and says, ‘I think something’s wrong with my ovaries,’ they’re not going to start medical procedures on ovary issues because those people are not insane. They’re gonna start with mental health issues, because obviously a guy can’t have those issues no matter how much they say that.”
In 1999, Robert Eads, a 53 year-old transgender man in Georgia, died after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1996. Over a dozen doctors refused to treat him because they feared that treating a transgender patient would hurt the reputation of their medical practices.
Bottoms also mentioned Rep. Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon). “The Speaker of the House literally is an unhinged Marxist bully,” he said. “She has no right to be in that leadership position.”
This isn’t the first time Bottoms has used a town hall event to attack Democratic legislators. During a June, 2023 town hall, Bottoms complained that Rep. Elisabeth Epps (D-Denver) “just annoys me with her voice,” and said of Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), “I will never, ever, ever in my whole life call him ‘she.’”
McCluskie recently criticized Bottoms for a sermon he preached. “Recently, it has come to light that Representative Scott Bottoms saw the Hamas kidnappings and murders of innocent Israelis as an ‘opportunity’ to convert Jews to his church,” she posted on social media. “This is deeply offensive and hurtful to our Jewish community.”
McCluskie also unofficially censured Bottoms during November’s special session. He was denied the ability to speak on HB23B-1002, the Increased Earned Income Tax Credit, during the special session. As a result, Bottoms has filed a lawsuit against McCluskie and Governor Jared Polis, hoping to overturn the law.
“She censured me illegally, unconstitutionally,” said Bottoms. “And so we are suing the governor. The suit against the governor [is] because he signed the bill. He doesn’t know anything about any of this, he just was the last person to be part of the bill. The bill is unconstitutional because the state illegally censured me, and she does not have that power, doesn’t have that right.”
As the town hall drew to a close, there was a question about election integrity. DeGraaf responded by questioning El Paso County’s 2022 primary election, in which a slate of “establishment” Republican candidates defeated the “grassroots” candidates, far-right conspiracy theorists supported by El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins.
“They [the grassroots candidates] won the vote,” said DeGraaf. “They won the election, I will believe that they didn’t win the election when they go back and they do an actual hand count.”
Bottoms ended by encouraging the audience to harass their political opponents. “We are the voice of a minority,” he said. “I think we have a spiritual responsibility in this. Harass, harass. Get in there, talking. As [DeGraaf] was saying, we’re one of 19. We don’t have–in a house that’s 65 deep–we don’t have that much voice, but we can get in and just mess up the process and cause problems and say words and make them listen to us.”