Public interest groups call on Gardner to uphold Coloradans’ values

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Public interest groups call on Gardner to uphold Coloradans’ values

Colorado lawmakers don’t foresee Trump influencing 2017 state legislative session
Becker
Gardner
Grantham
Silverii

DENVER – Several public interest organizations held a conference call Monday to voice concerns over the incoming presidential Cabinet, and they asked Sen. Cory Gardner to honor Coloradans’ values over party loyalty under the Trump administration.

“Senator Gardner needs to serve Colorado, not D.C. and not Donald Trump,” said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, which organized the call.

Representative of various organizations called out multiple Cabinet choices and policies they see as questionable and not in line with Coloradans’ values, including rhetoric targeted at immigrants, the potential repeal of Obamacare and impacts on environmental policies.

“The Trump agenda is just out of step with Coloradans’ values,” said Pete Maysmith, executive director of Conservation Colorado.

Nine organizations were involved in Monday’s call, but many more expressed interest in an opportunity to relay their concerns about the multitude of issues they see on the horizon, Silverii said.

One particularly hot topic was the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and what that could mean for residents.

Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said a move to repeal Obamacare without a replacement program would “leave millions of people who now have coverage with nowhere to turn.”

Silverii said he hopes that voters who feel their concerns and values are not being honored by their congressional representatives will stay active in making their voices heard by contacting their congressional representatives directly.

Tim Markham, executive director of Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions, said that includes state-level representatives.

“They understand they have a role to play in publicizing when Donald Trump has gone too far,” Markham said.

Silverii said state politics is a place where Coloradans could see politicians take a stand.

“I do think you will see legislation attempting to resist some of the more draconian programs that Donald Trump has promised (on) the campaign trail,” he said.

That includes a bill that would ensure Colorado does not participate in programs to identify or discriminate against people based on religion, ethnicity, gender identification or sexual orientation, he said.

For their part, Colorado legislators are less concerned about the initial effects of the incoming administration on the state, but they know impacts will come in the future.

“The policies that come from a Democrat president with a Democrat Congress is going to affect all 50 states, the same thing is going to happen with Trump and a Republican Congress. It’s going to affect us somehow, in someway,” said Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City. “The significance of that and what exactly we are going to have to do in response to that we don’t know.”

Any response to legislation passed on the national level, such as the repeal of Obamacare, will probably have to wait until the 2018 legislative session, Grantham said.

“I don’t know what will happen in Congress. I don’t know what the president-elect might do outside of lawmaking authority,” said Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Denver, Senate majority leader. “Are their executive actions he could take? I don’t know. I’m certainly anxious to see what happens Jan. 20.”

For Democrats, the national election is affecting how they are approaching this legislative session, which begins Wednesday, said Rep. KC Becker of Denver, House majority leader.

Becker said the Democrats are trying to ensure no one feels left behind as that has been a common sentiment in the wake of a presidential election that saw Hillary Clinton lose in the Electoral College despite winning the popular vote.

“I think that is a thing that came out of the election, not only in Colorado but nationally, and it’s something we as Democrats are always concerned about,” Becker said.

Public interest groups call on Gardner to uphold Coloradans’ values

Becker
Gardner
Grantham
Silverii
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