Colorado Times Recorder https://coloradotimesrecorder.com Tue, 07 Apr 2020 22:53:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Are Gardner and Trump Trying to Dismantle Obamacare During a Pandemic, Ask Advocates https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/why-are-gardner-and-trump-trying-to-dismantle-obamacare-during-a-pandemic-ask-advocates/22569/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/why-are-gardner-and-trump-trying-to-dismantle-obamacare-during-a-pandemic-ask-advocates/22569/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2020 22:53:09 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22569 Everyone agrees that having health insurance is more important than ever, so why are Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Trump continuing to try to dismantle Obamacare, asked a group of health care advocates during a digital “town hall” Tuesday.

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Everyone agrees that having health insurance is more important than ever, so why are Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Trump continuing to try to dismantle Obamacare, asked a group of health care advocates during a digital “town hall” Tuesday.

They cited data and their personal experiences to make the case that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who’ve gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) cannot afford to have the national health care law further weakened or lost now.

Grace Thomas, a storyteller with Rocky Mountain Values, a progressive advocacy group, said their bout with COVID-19 cost about $1,000, even with health insurance, as their expenses for out-of-pocket expenses added up.

“Right now, people should be able to save their money and not spend all of it on pharmaceuticals,” said Thomas.

Without health insurance, a patient’s costs for COVID-19 treatment could go through the roof, said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, a nonpartisan health advocacy group.

“If you need treatment for COVID-19, you’re looking probably at $20,000 to $30,000 minimum walking out of the hospital, probably much higher than that,” said Fox.

Fortunately, Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) has allowed Connect for Health Colorado, where Coloradans can sign up for Obamacare insurance, to open for a “special enrollment period,” running through April 30, allowing uninsured folks to sign up for health insurance, said Fox.

At the federal level, Trump decided not to allow open enrollment under Obamacare during the pandemic.

But Coloradans who lose their jobs and/or don’t have health insurance can get coverage from the Obamacare exchange–and low-income people with no insurance can sign up for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.

Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid resulted in over 400,000 Coloradans gaining health insurance, lowering Colorado uninsured rate from about 16% to 7%.

“The pandemic illustrates how far we’ve come with our health system and how far we have to go,” said Fox, citing the high costs of health insurance for many people and the number of people who do not have insurance.

But the loss of the ACA would “exacerbate the problem we face right now,” said Fox.

RELATED: How Cory Gardner’s War Against Obamacare Propelled Him Into Power

Penny Potts, a teacher and cancer survivor, said her own family and the families at her school rely on the ACA, in part because her pre-existing condition would have made it difficult or impossible for her to get insurance without it.

She said Gardner, who hasn’t made a public statement about Obamacare in months, and the Trump Administration are “forgetting the people they are supposed to serve” by trying to eliminate the ACA during the pandemic.

Alice Kresh, a respiratory nurse, said the bill for her son’s birth was $2.8 million, due to horrific complications.

Kresh had “really good” health insurance through her employer, but she thinks “all the time about where we would be” if they hadn’t had health insurance.

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Colorado Attorney General Joins Effort to Stop Texas’ Coronavirus Abortion Ban https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/colorado-attorney-general-joins-effort-to-stop-texas-coronavirus-abortion-ban/22531/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/colorado-attorney-general-joins-effort-to-stop-texas-coronavirus-abortion-ban/22531/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2020 17:44:29 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22531 Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general across the nation in opposing Texas’ ban on abortion services during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general across the nation in opposing Texas’ ban on abortion services during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an amicus brief filed Friday, the attorneys general argue that states can effectively address the public health threat posed by coronavirus while allowing abortion clinics to continue operating, challenging conservatives’ calls for abortion clinics nationwide to be deemed non-essential.

On March 22, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order postponing all procedures not deemed immediately medically necessary.

The following day, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that all abortion services, except those necessary to save the life of the mother, were included under the governor’s order.

Since then, a legal battle has ensued. Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights quickly filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Texas order. A week after the ban was instated, a district court judge blocked the order from taking effect. Just a day later, however, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals halted the district court’s decision, and the ban was reinstated.

Now, those seeking abortion care in Texas are forced to travel to nearby states — like Colorado — in order to visit an abortion clinic.

Conservatives’ arguments for banning abortion during coronavirus include concerns about the use of Personal Protective Equipment, like masks, that is in short supply for health care workers, and that allowing in-person visits to abortion clinics could cause exposure to the virus.

Abortion rights advocates, on the other hand, say that the bans amount to political opportunism and that conservatives are using coronavirus as an excuse to achieve their longtime goal of shuttering abortion clinics.

The amicus brief, which was filed in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, argues that banning abortion is unnecessary to fight COVID-19, and states that “most pre-viability abortions do not use PPE or hospital services, and thus restricting such abortions does not appreciably preserve those resources.”

The attorneys general also argue that the time-sensitive nature of abortion makes it an essential service.

“Because abortions cannot readily be postponed for weeks or months, and also effectuate the constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, abortions are on a different footing from the types of medical services that can be considered ‘nonessential,'” the brief states.

The effort was led by New York Attorney General Tish James.

In a tweet last week, Weiser thanked her for her leadership on the issue, writing that they stand together in the “fight for equal rights for all.”

Several states with Republican governors have moved to limit abortion services during the coronavirus pandemic, including Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Alabama.

Federal judges in most states that are attempting to ban abortions have blocked these orders from taking effect, most recently yesterday in Oklahoma.

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Citing “Parents Rights,” Colorado Republicans Vote Against Any Vaccination Requirements, Despite Virus https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/citing-medical-tyranny-and-parents-rights-colorado-republicans-vote-against-any-vaccination-requirements-despite-virus/22481/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/citing-medical-tyranny-and-parents-rights-colorado-republicans-vote-against-any-vaccination-requirements-despite-virus/22481/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2020 22:23:47 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22481 As scientists across the globe are racing to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, Republicans in key Colorado counties voted overwhelmingly in recent weeks against any state vaccination requirements for children or anyone else.

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As scientists across the globe are racing to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, Republicans in key Colorado counties voted overwhelmingly in recent weeks against any state vaccination requirements for children or anyone else.

In a platform position passed by a 58 to 19 vote last week, the Adams County, Colorado, Republican Party, condemned “any form of mandated vaccinations.

Asked about the plank, JoAnn Windholz, Chair of the Adams County Republican Party, told the Colorado Times Recorder that the resolution was about the “parents’ right to choose what’s best for their children,” and it would apply to “any type of shot.”

If a coronavirus vaccine were developed, parents should decide whether their child should be vaccinated, said Windholz, a former Colorado Republican lawmaker from Adams County, which is north of Denver, adding that the resolution was not passed in response to the pandemic.

“It has to be the parents’ decision,” she said.

Colorado allows parents to opt out of vaccination requirements for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons, but many states do not have such nonmedical exemptions.

The Adams County resolution reads, in full: “Be it resolved that the Colorado Republican Party condemn any form of mandated vaccinations; support the right for all citizens to accept or decline any or all vaccinations; condemns any use of tracking systems to track citizens based on vaccination status; condemn discrimination against citizens based on their vaccination status; and supports the rights of citizens to live free of tracking and discrimination (medical tyranny).”

Republicans in El Paso County, which is located around Colorado Springs and has more GOP voters than any other county in the state, passed two resolutions that reject vaccination requirements, without exceptions.

One resolution titled, “Parents’ Rights to Choose Vaccinations” minces no words in stating that the El Paso County Republicans “condemn government mandated vaccinations that are against an individual’s, religious, philosophical or medical beliefs; including parents’ rights to choose all, or no, vaccinations for their children.”

Republicans in El Paso County, which has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado, also condemned “discrimination against any person based on their vaccination status, which includes discrimination in eligibility for employment based on their vaccination status.” The resolution further condemns “government tracking of individuals based on their vaccination status.”

Douglas County Republicans passed a more succinct position, by a 68% to 32% margin, opposing “any state-mandated vaccinations.”

“Only individuals and parents have the right to decide vaccinations for their children or themselves,” states the Douglas County Party’s resolution.

In county assemblies in recent weeks, GOP activists approved not only anti-vaccine measures, but also dozens of other conservative planks. But the vaccine planks stand out due to the timing.

Both Democrats and Republicans have county-level organizations that pass party platforms, which are used, in part, to create a statewide party platform that is approved by delegates at a state convention.

County-level Democratic and Republican groups are run by volunteers and are responsible for organizing caucus-related gatherings, fundraising, get-out-the-vote efforts, and other party activities in their counties.

County groups report to the state party organization. In the Republicans’ case, that’s the Colorado Republican Party, led by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck.

A bill that cleared the Colorado Senate this year would provide additional vaccine information to parents, as well as require that parents use a state-issued form to obtain a non-medical exemption from school vaccination requirements, or complete an online education class.

“You talk to medical providers, and they say we would not be in the situation we’re in if we had a vaccine,” said State Rep. Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn), a sponsor of the bill, who’s an ER nurse currently treating potential COVID-19 patients at a Denver hospital.

He said he’s proud of his Democratic colleagues for “showing they care about the community by passing policies that “make sure people are safe.”

Legislation proposed by Republicans at the Colorado Capitol would loosen vaccine rules in Colorado, even though Colorado’s immunization requirements are already considered lax compared to other states, and it has some of the lowest vaccination rates.

Updated with a comment from Mullica.


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Cartoon: “People Who Should Stay Home” https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/cartoon-people-who-should-stay-home/22537/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/cartoon-people-who-should-stay-home/22537/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:56:23 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22537 The post Cartoon: “People Who Should Stay Home” appeared first on Colorado Times Recorder.

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Initiative to Ban Abortion at 22 Weeks Fails to Gather Enough Signatures to Make the Ballot https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/initiative-to-ban-abortion-at-22-weeks-fails-to-gather-enough-signatures-to-make-the-ballot/22518/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/initiative-to-ban-abortion-at-22-weeks-fails-to-gather-enough-signatures-to-make-the-ballot/22518/#respond Sat, 04 Apr 2020 00:57:54 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22518 Initiative 120, which aims to ban abortion at 22 weeks, did not gather the required number of signatures to place the measure on Colorado’s November 2020 ballot, the Secretary of State’s office announced today.

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Initiative 120, which aims to ban abortion at 22 weeks, did not gather the required number of signatures to place the measure on Colorado’s November 2020 ballot, the Secretary of State’s office announced today.

That means proponents will be granted a 15 day cure period to meet the 124,632 signature requirement, as required by state law. Of the 137,624 signatures turned in by the campaign, called “Due Date Too Late,” 114,647 were valid, according to the Secretary of State’s line-by-line review of petitions.

Due to coronavirus, however, that cure period won’t go into immediate effect, given that signature gatherers can’t go in public to circulate petitions under Colorado’s stay-at-home order, which is set to last until at least April 11. If Governor Jared Polis doesn’t extend the order, the cure period will start on April 12 and conclude on April 27.

“The stay approved by Judge Martin Egelhoff is significant since it gives Due Date Too Late and its volunteers a fair opportunity to collect more signatures in public, which would be impossible during a potential cure period amid a statewide stay-at-home order,” a press release from Due Date Too Late says.

Abortion rights advocates in the state strongly oppose banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy, often classifying the decision to have an abortion later in pregnancy as one that is best left between doctors and patients.

“Coloradans strongly believe that health care decisions belong between patients and doctors, without interference from politicians,” said Karen Middleton, president of the local reproductive health advocacy organization Cobalt, in a press statement. “There is nothing more simple, and more powerful, than each person’s ability to control their own body and to decide for themselves if, when, how, and why to have children. And the supporters of this effort need to recognize and respect that right.”

There’s also the often complicated nature of later abortions, which frequently take place when patients with desired pregnancies receive a diagnosis of a fetal anomaly that can’t be detected until later in pregnancy.

Colorado is one of just a handful of states without a gestational limit on abortion care. The Boulder Abortion Clinic is world-renowned in treating patients with complicated fetal anomalies.

“The petition signature campaign ‘Due Date Too Late,’ at its core, was built on medically inaccurate information about abortion providers and patients, and Colorado voters said NO – we will not support any effort that restricts abortion access,” reads a statement from the Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition. “Every pregnancy is unique. Placing restrictions on abortion care is not only dangerous, it’s intrusive and a violation of our most basic rights.”

Due Date Too Late did not immediately respond to an email seeking to know whether they were confident in their ability to gather the roughly 10,000 extra signatures needed to qualify for the ballot and if they had concerns about how coronavirus could impact signature-gathering efforts. This story will be updated with any response.

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Congressman Joe Neguse Wants to Protect Post Offices https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/neguse-wants-to-protect-post-offices/22501/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/neguse-wants-to-protect-post-offices/22501/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:58:27 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22501 U.S. Rep.
Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide $25 billion to a
United States Postal Service (USPS) that was struggling financially even before
the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States.

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U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide $25 billion to a United States Postal Service (USPS) that was struggling financially even before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States.

The proposed law, called the Protect Our Post Offices Act, was a response by Neguse to concerns heard by his office from his district (spanning from Boulder to Fort Collins to parts of Summit County) about the delivery of medications and other important supplies.

The USPS was projecting to run out of operating funds by 2021, but now, with fewer people sending mail, the service is estimating that it could be forced to cease operations by June.

Because of COVID-19, people are spending less on postage and packages — the primary source of income for the USPS. However, many people still rely on the USPS for consistent mail delivery.

“As this public health emergency worsens, our frontline postal workers remain vulnerable to the coronavirus and our post offices require immediate support to maintain on-time and consistent deliveries for customers who are quarantining or vulnerable and rely on mail for essential supplies and food,” Neguse said in a statement released Tuesday.

In addition to food and medical supplies, the USPS could play a critical role in both local and national elections, which may need to be conducted via mail-in ballots if the pandemic continues into the summer and fall.

The USPS provided a statement to the Colorado Times Recorder emphasizing the importance of mail delivery.

“The Postal Service continues to provide an essential public service in the midst of this pandemic,” the USPS statement reads. “As recently as January of this year, the National Security Council identified the delivery of postal services as a ‘critical government service’ necessary during times of crisis, and the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month identified ‘postal and shipping workers’ as essential to critical infrastructure.”

Michael Ruiz is a mail handler for USPS in Colorado and sits on the executive board for Colorado’s division of the National Postal Mail Handler Union (NPMHU). Ruiz understands just how essential postal workers are every time he goes to work.

“It’s important to bring people their medicine,” Ruiz said. “Some people still rely on the mail for communication. Along those lines, everyone quarantined in their homes might need information about what’s going on and things of that nature. It’s very important to have that.”

Neguse’s legislation aims to not only keep the USPS afloat but also provide funding to keep workers and customers safe, a real concern when COVID-19 can spread so easily.

The shortage of protective masks and sanitation supplies affecting the healthcare industry is also plaguing the USPS, which was criticized this week for not providing mail carriers and handlers with a safe working environment amid the pandemic.

A report by ProPublica cited a Denver postal worker who felt pressured to keep working even though they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

After that report was published, the USPS said it has instituted a slate of workplace policies including eliminating the need for customers to sign for packages, increasing how often cleaning occurs, and changing their sick policy to include time off for dependent care (like caring for children whose schools are closed).

The USPS has 10,000 employees in Colorado, and while the media hasn’t reported any positive COVID-19 cases among postal workers in the state, there have been 111 cases nationwide. A postal worker in New York died from the virus last week.

Ruiz feels confident that if a Colorado postal employee tests positive, the service would be able to isolate those who had contact with them and clean any surfaces they might have touched. Ruiz says that employees now have access to hand sanitizer and masks.

“Management has been doing talks for the employees most mornings to keep us informed, and they are allowing employees to take liberal leave if they are feeling sick,” Ruiz said.

The USPS is also confident in its ability to quell the spread of COVID-19 among its customer base. While there is a published study stating that the virus can survive on cardboard for 24 hours, the USPS points to the CDC and World Health Organization who have both indicated that the virus cannot be spread through the mail.

Neguse hopes that the Protect Our Post Offices Act will give the USPS the resources it needs to keep delivering the mail in a safe, healthy manner.

“This legislation would ensure needed support for the postal service, our frontline postal workers, and ensure all Americans can continue to take advantage of mail services while they remain in their homes,” Neguse said in his statement, “This will help shore up postal operations throughout the 2nd District from Boulder to Evergreen to Bailey to Fort Collins.”

The $2 trillion coronavirus bill signed and passed March 27 did not contain emergency funding for the postal service. Instead, it included $10 billion in a raised borrowing ceiling for the service, a measure that was not enough in the eyes of the USPS.

In its statement to the Colorado Times Recorder, the USPS said that without emergency funding it would have “insufficient liquidity to continue operations.”

The initial version of the coronavirus stimulus package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives included $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS on top of the increased debt ceiling, but the Senate cut the funding. Neguse hopes that his bill will be included in the fourth coronavirus stimulus package to be negotiated once Congress is back in session.

The USPS said it could not comment on Neguse’s bill because the legislation is pending.

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Opinion: We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/opinion-we-need-a-lot-more-transparency-from-the-cdc/22493/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/opinion-we-need-a-lot-more-transparency-from-the-cdc/22493/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:27:04 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22493 “COVID-19 is a White man’s disease. It doesn’t seem to infect Black people,” posited Jane, a community leader in New Haven, Connecticut, who had come to the U.S. as a refugee from Africa many years ago.

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“COVID-19 is a White man’s disease. It doesn’t seem to infect Black people,” posited Jane, a community leader in New Haven, Connecticut, who had come to the U.S. as a refugee from Africa many years ago.

Jane addressed my team of health researchers and members of the local immigrant community to improve communication between medical doctors and refugee patients. Our team meets regularly to develop plans that address health literacy, discrimination. and cultural competency.

“And who gets to be tested? Who gets to be treated?” Jane recently asked our team. “There is something that they aren’t telling us,” she concluded.

She’s right.

The federal government has failed to report publicly which groups in our communities have received access to COVID-19 testing and treatment. This lack of transparency leaves our communities vulnerable to disinformation and confusion.

Jane’s concerns are grounded in a distrust of the U.S. health care system. People of color have long suffered disparities in the way they access and receive healthcare services compared to white people.

Eliminating this unequal treatment has been a national health priority for years. I fear that the federal government’s inadequate public reporting of COVID-19 will make the situation much worse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tasked with hosting the nation’s public-facing COVID-19 dashboard. But this online tool reports only three outcome metrics: Total Cases; Total Deaths; States Reporting Cases.

There’s so much we don’t know. Do people of color get the same access to COVID-19 tests as white people? How about families who speak a language other than English? Or those who suffer from a disabling condition?

We don’t know.

But federal and state governments can make minor adjustments to their current public reporting on COVID-19 to help identify health disparities. To start, the CDC should expand its dashboard, and publicly report metrics using demographic categories like sex, race, ethnicity, primary language, and disability status.

Doing so would help public health experts better understand how resources are being distributed. This information would then help inform strategies to ensure that all Americans, especially marginalized groups, can access these resources in a fair way.

To be sure, making these adjustments would add administrative burden to professionals at the front lines. But communicating accurate information in times of disease outbreaks is supposed to be a strength of our nation’s public health system.

The National Health Security Preparedness Index determines U.S. readiness for managing public health emergencies and disease outbreaks. Last year, the U.S. scored highest in our nation’s ability to effectively deploy resources and information to protect the health of communities in need. Living up to this standard is in the interest of all Americans.

Policymakers have begun to take notice. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley, for example, have demanded that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar instruct the CDC to begin collecting racial demographic information pertaining to COVID-19 testing.

Public reporting and communicating information shouldn’t be difficult.

My friends like Jane are living in fear of being excluded from medical testing, from treatments being withheld, from information being hidden. Transparency can help build trust between the health system and all Americans living with uncertainty.

If we don’t take public reporting seriously, we risk harming our communities, causing more confusion in our neighborhoods, worsening health disparities, and ultimately making this pandemic harder to beat.

Dr. Leo Lopez III is a fellow at the National Clinician Scholars Program at the Yale University School of Medicine. This op-ed was produced by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, adapted from The Crisis, and distributed by OtherWords.org.

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Arapahoe County GOP Removes Candidate from Ballot for Not Being a Republican https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/arapahoe-county-gop-removes-candidate-from-ballot-for-not-being-a-republican/22485/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/arapahoe-county-gop-removes-candidate-from-ballot-for-not-being-a-republican/22485/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2020 18:38:07 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22485 Arapahoe County Republicans booted a state House candidate from the ballot after discovering he was not registered as a Republican, which disqualifies him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.

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Arapahoe County Republicans booted a state House candidate from the ballot after discovering he was not registered as a Republican, which disqualifies him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.

The candidate, Steve Monahan, announced his run for the House District 3 seat back in February, and it took about a month for Arapahoe County Republicans to discover that Monahan was registered as an Unaffiliated voter and to remove his name from the ballot prior to assembly, which began Saturday, according to a source.

Asked if she removed Monahan from the ballot, Arapahoe County Republican Chair Dorothy Gotlieb told the Colorado Times Recorder that she asked Monahan if he was an Unaffiliated voter, and he replied, “yes.”

Monahan

The decision to oust Monahan left Bill Klocek as the only candidate for assembly delegates to choose from on the ballot, and he got 100% of the 56 votes tallied, according to results distributed by Arapahoe County Republicans.

A call to Monahan, a pilot, seeking to know if he thought he was treated fairly by the Arapahoe County Republicans was not returned.

Klocek did not immediately return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder.

Klocek

Frolich was appointed to the House District 3 seat by fellow Democrats after Jeff Bridges resigned to fill a state Senate vacancy. Bridges beat Republican Toren Mushovik in 2018 by 23 percentage points.

House District 3 covers parts of Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, and Greenwood Village. It’s currently represented by Democrat Meg Froelich.

Updated with the quote from Gotlieb.

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County Chair Rejects Calls From Other GOP Leaders to Resign Over COVID-19 “Hoax” Post https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/county-chair-rejects-calls-from-other-gop-leaders-to-resign-over-covid-19-hoax-post/22453/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/county-chair-rejects-calls-from-other-gop-leaders-to-resign-over-covid-19-hoax-post/22453/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2020 14:41:59 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22453 Several Colorado Republican leaders are calling for El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins to resign after she used the party’s official Facebook page to ask followers if they believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a manufactured hoax.

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Several Colorado Republican leaders are calling for El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins to resign after she used the party’s official Facebook page to ask followers if they believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a manufactured hoax.

She also confirmed to Colorado Politics reporter Ernest Luning that she wrote on her personal Facebook page that the outbreak is a “PSYOP,” using the same term she posted to the county page. The post has since garnered bipartisan national attention, including a tweet from Guy Benson, political editor of the conservative blog Townhall, and coverage from the left-leaning sites Raw Story and Huffington Post.

Denver GOP Chair Kristina Cook, joins former county chairs Jake Viano (Denver), Joe Webb (Jefferson) and Eli Bremer (El Paso) in calling for Tonkins to step down.

Former El Paso County Chair Eli Bremer first flagged the post and shared it with other Colorado Springs conservative Facebook groups.

Reached for comment, Tonkins dismissed criticism over the post itself, attributing it to the tension between the establishment and grassroots elements of the party, and claiming Bremer had other reasons for sharing the post:

“The individual [Bremer] that started the misinformation of my saying Coronavirus is a hoax…which I never said…does not like the fact a black woman is in the position and won by over 60 votes… The grassroots said they wanted something different and who could be more different than me.”

While Tonkins did not state that Coronavirus is a hoax on the El Paso County page, she did describe the outbreak as a “PSYOP,” in a comment exchange on her personal page. Another El Paso County Republican, Missy Ward, shared a screenshot of the comment.

El Paso County Republican Chair Vickie Tonkins

Tonkins responds:

“Ward, without my permission, took a screenshot of my personal page and made this a story. The post may not have been up for even an hour…but they saw an opportunity to get me, I guess. Not sure why they hate me so much but that is what it is.”

Tonkins also says she was focused on those who are suffering financially during the pandemic.

“My intentions, which my naysayers say we should always look at, is that people are not just dying from this virus, people are losing their jobs and can’t pay their bills and is time we step up to help them. Maybe had I put “the media thinks” [in the original post] I would have been heralded as a hero. This has been blown out of proportion by my haters and I say let’s move toward helping our communities which is my heart and the heart of the Republican Party. People are making this about politics and I am thinking about people!”

Joe Webb, who led the Jefferson County GOP until last year, concluded his own public Facebook post about the incident by insisting Tonkins resign, and calling on the county party’s executive committee to remove her if she doesn’t.

This is not a time to play politics but because Vickie Tonkins added to the public health emergency and may have assisted in making the curve steeper regarding infections she needs to resign as Chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party at once. If she fails to do so then members of the Executive Committee must take matters into their own hands within social distancing parameters. We all need to contribute to flattening the curve. Many other reasons exist for her resignation but I listed the most serious one. Personal responsibility for your actions should matter.

Denver GOP Chair shared Webb post noting that she agreed with Webb. She added that Tonkins’ post jeopardizes the Republican Party’s mission of electing its candidates.

Asked if the Colorado Republican Party had asked or is going to ask Tonkins to step down, spokesperson Kyle Kohli said hadn’t had that conservation with party leaders but would relay the question.

The party has not been shy about demanding officials resign over social media posts involving the coronavirus. On March 3 Kohli called for Denver Councilwoman Candi Cdebaca to step down after retweeting a “sarcastic” tweet about someone with COVID-19 intentionally attending Trump rallies adding “#solidarity Yaaas!!”

On April 2, the party praised Congressmen Buck, Tipton and Lamborn for their support of a resolution intended to hold China accountable for its “misinformation campaign” regarding COVID-19.

Tonkins said she has had conversations with the state party following the controversy, but that she was not formally asked to step down.

The post County Chair Rejects Calls From Other GOP Leaders to Resign Over COVID-19 “Hoax” Post appeared first on Colorado Times Recorder.

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Gardner Delivered ‘Historic Unemployment,’ Says Colorado Republican Party Ad https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/gardner-delivered-historic-unemployment/22369/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/2020/04/gardner-delivered-historic-unemployment/22369/#respond Thu, 02 Apr 2020 20:30:19 +0000 https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/?p=22369

Most politicians like to boast that they deliver jobs.

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Most politicians like to boast that they deliver jobs.

But if you believe an advertisement this week, the Colorado Republican Party thinks people will vote for U.S. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if they’re convinced he delivered “historic unemployment.”

The Colorado Republican Party did not return an email asking if the ad was supposed to state that Gardner delivered “historically low unemployment,” a claim that would be further from the truth but is closer to Gardner’s normal talking points, say progressive labor leaders.

The ad, which appeared in Colorado Politics, a weekly online and print publication, reads, “CORY GARDNER DELIVERED MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, HISTORIC UNEMPLOYMENT, PUBLIC LAND PROTECTION.”

Jared Wright, Publisher of Colorado Politics, said in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder that his publication was not responsible for the text of the advertisement.

“Wow – that sure is a typo,” Wright emailed after being alerted to the apparent error. “It was delivered to us by the advertiser that way. We did not perform the design. That said, I will let them know to send a new file. Thanks for catching that.”

Asked to comment on the GOP ad, Dennis Dougherty, director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said, “Cory Gardner did deliver working Coloradans something: historically low pay.” The AFL-CIO gave Gardner a zero rating on key votes in 2018 in support of working families.

In fact, 44 percent of American workers barely earn enough to live on, according to a January Brookings report.

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