PeakFeed: Gardner Keeps Pressure on Udall over Obamacare Support

Rep. Cory Gardner’s latest television ad tells the story of the 335,000 Coloradans who received healthcare cancellation notices because of Sen. Mark Udall’s support for Obamacare. Gardner’s family was among those whose health insurance was cancelled.  They bought their plan off the open market like so many Coloradans and were not on the health insurance offered to members of Congress.

Sadly, Colorado families have not only lost their health insurance plans but also seen their premiums rise and lost access to their doctors.  If Udall wants to talk about social issues, he needs to realize this is the real social issue of the 2014 campaign.  

 

TBD NO MORE: Beauprez Releases “A More Competitive Colorado” Economic Plan

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s lack of leadership has resulted in liberals run amok and has compromised the success of Colorado businesses.  Hick’s opponent Bob Beauprez yesterday released his solution to the problem – a plan called “A More Competitive Colorado”.  The plan outlines four steps to creating a more friendly business environment for Colorado companies:

  1. Audit state government to reform state regulations
  2. Adopt priority-based budgeting
  3. Empower Colorado job creators
  4. Hold the line on destructive legislation

Noting that “costs of regulatory compliance as estimated by our own government may exceed corporate taxation revenue by a factor of more than 8-to-1″, the Beauprez campaign laid out specific items to make Colorado more competitive.  Some of our favorites:

  • A moratorium on new regulations until a state audit could be completed
  • Forcing the state government to justify its use of one of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars and forcing it to have clear customer-centric benchmarks for success
  • A searchable, transparent, online state budget (oh, the fun we could have!)
  • Competitive Colorado portal where Coloradans could report regulations that have a negative impact on their lives

The fact that this plan exists at all provides a contrast with our current Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has adopted from his predecessor the Blue Ribbon Commission legacy and a strong commitment to TBD – we’re still waiting to see what that might deliver.

Feel free to read the plan below. Tell us what you think.

The Stronger Colorado Plan, Part I: A More Competitive Colorado

 

MORE BAD NEWS: Rothenberg Report Changes CO Gov Race to Leans Dem

TGIF

This has been another bad week for Governor John Hickenlooper and it just got worse.  The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call just downgraded Hick’s chances of re-election to Leans Democratic from Democrat Favored.  This is the second national political report to do so in the past 30 days as The Cook Political Report also downgraded Hick’s re-election chances on July 18.

Here’s what Rothenberg said about the change in Roll Call:

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez gives Republicans a credible nominee and polls have shown him within striking distance of the governor. But he has also been underfunded…

The overlap with the very competitive U.S. Senate race between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner and the competitive 6th District race between Democrat Andrew Romanoff and incumbent Republican Mike Coffman makes Colorado a top state to watch on election night.

The shift comes after Hickenlooper told two separate audiences that his donors make his policy decisions and that he hasn’t taken a stance on the Keystone Pipeline because it would make people in D.C. mad.  Of course, neither of these approaches bode well for Coloradans, the people who elected him.

 

WIMPY HICK: Hickenlooper Refuses To Fight DC To Put Colorado First

“Please don’t make me fight the mean people in DC”

PeakNation™, we swear we don’t have a string that makes Gov. John Hickenlooper speak our talking points when pulled, he just does that on his own.  Over these past four years, the two biggest areas in which Hickenlooper has failed Colorado are: his complete and utter lack of any sort of ability to be a leader and his willingness to listen to everyone but average Coloradans, the very people for whom he is supposed to advocate.  In Hick’s latest chapter, Hick told an energy summit that his refusal to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is because he doesn’t want to piss off people in Washington, D.C.  Hick knows he is the Governor of Colorado, right?  And, not, say, the Governor of Washington, D.C. (Spoiler: D.C. doesn’t have one).  As Peter Marcus at The Durango Herald writes:

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday told a room full of Western gas and oil executives that he hasn’t taken a position on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline because he hasn’t wanted to “piss off” the powers that be in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve avoided taking a position (on the Keystone pipeline) because it’s just going to piss off a lot of people in Washington that I don’t need to piss off, and my opinion is not going to change anybody’s opinion there,” Hickenlooper said during a panel discussion at the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit at the Colorado Convention Center. [the Peak's emphasis]

Good to know we now also have a fraidy-cat as a Governor who cares more about what people in Washington, D.C. think about him than his very own constituents here in Colorado.  Good to know Hickenlooper would rather have bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. think highly of him than create more jobs here in Colorado.  Good to know that if there is ever a fight between Colorado and Washington, D.C., we have a Governor that is equivalent to France—“Je surrender!”

The caricature Hickenlooper likes to push of himself is a man above politics who only goes where the facts lead him.  The fact that he says he is still on the fence about the Keystone XL pipeline completely blows up that image.  Not only has President Obama’s very own State Department signed off on the pipeline, but even the hugely-Democratic unions are for it.  With such strong bipartisan support for it, it is only Obama’s determination to play politics with the pipeline that is preventing it from going through.  Hickenlooper’s refusal to side with the facts on the Keystone XL pipeline shows he is just as politically calculating as all those politicians he claims to be above.

This whole episode just reinforces what we already know: Hickenlooper’s inability to lead has created a vacuum of power that out-of-staters are more than willing to fill to the detriment of Coloradans.  It is time to have a Governor again who isn’t afraid to fight for Colorado.

 

HISTORY LESSON FOR HICK: The Blue Ribbon Commissions That Went Nowhere

There is nothing Democrats seem to love more than a good ol’ fashion Blue Ribbon Commission.  Former Gov. Bill Ritter was famous for creating them on everything from healthcare and education to transportation.  It actually became a joke that anytime Ritter was too scared to take a position on real issues he would convene a blue ribbon commission to study it.  

Sometimes these commissions would make policy recommendations.  However, even when that is the case, there is never enough political will to implement the suggestions.

Take President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – better known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.  It detailed a $2.5 trillion deficit reduction plan that is now collecting dust on a shelf in the White House. Obama even went to great lengths to distance himself from its recommendations.

These blue ribbon panels/commissions/boards – whatever you want to call them – produced absolutely bupkis.  All they do is waste time and money and give politicos like Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Jared Polis more empty talking points.

That is why the creation of yet another blue ribbon panel to study the issue of oil and gas is such a massive failure of leadership.  A similar commission was created two years ago on this exact same issue.  We’ve been there.  We’ve done that.   

Isn’t it time for a new approach?

 

FOX GUARDING HEN HOUSE? Hick’s Pick to Lead Fracking Commission Far from Moderate

LaPlata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt

When Governor Hickenlooper announced to the State that a “compromise” had been reached between his office and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and it involved (wait for it) a commission, there was a collective eye roll from across the state.  Governing by commission seems to be Hickenlooper’s M.O. – it’s not leadership and it accomplishes nothing.

So, when the Durango Herald reported that the commission would be led by La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt, we sort of shrugged.  …Until an astute reader pointed out her radical environmentalist ties.  Prior to serving as La Plata County Commissioner, LaChelt founded an organization called the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) which frequently partnered with organizations such as Sierra Club, Colorado Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and more.

In 2005, OGAP joined forces with the Mineral Policy Center to create Earthworks.  Here’s what Lachelt said about her work in 2010 remarks at an Earthworks conference:

“Back in the day, we used every trick in the book to block drilling, stop drilling, slow drilling, regulate drilling and we’ve fought to put new laws and regulations on the books where they didn’t exist before. We’ve blocked bulldozers, filed restraining orders, filed lawsuits, received death threats and been put on trial…

… On a practical level, the OGAP community can rattle off a number of successes over the years, ranging from the new Pittsburgh ordinance banning gas development within city limits, to local and state governments across the country passing precedent – setting regulations, to Wyoming adopting the country’s strongest rule requiring disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing operations.”

Hickenlooper loves to talk a big game about his moderate stance on issues.  Does this sound like a voice of moderation to you, PeakNation™?  After fractivists held Colorado’s economy hostage to their unreasonable demands, putting Lachelt in charge of the commission seems a little like putting the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse.  Fortunately, this “commission” has absolutely no teeth and will simply make a recommendation to the legislature.  But, chalk this one up to another odd misstep by Hickenlooper.

 

PeakFeed: An Ad Actually Talking About Issues Coloradans care about

“What?! There are other issues Coloradans care about more than women reproductive issues???” is surely what Sen. Mark Udall and his campaign are thinking as they watch this new ad produced by Crossroads GPS.  Then again, talking about Obamacare has never been Udall’s strong suit.  Whether it is him lying to us about keeping health plans we like, or lying about being able to keep doctors we trust, whenever Udall talks to Coloradans about Obamacare he can’t seem to stop lying.  Now, as election season rolls around, Udall can’t even be bothered to talk about one of the few things he has actually accomplished over the past six years.  Don’t worry Udall, that’s why we have outlets like Crossroads, so you can’t run from the horrible, ultra liberal record you’ve earned over the past six years in the Senate.

 

BALLOT INITIATIVES: Where Are We Now?

Since the fracking ballot initiatives that everyone was carefully watching have now been pulled, we thought we would cover the ballot initiatives are actually headed to the 2014 ballot.  The next step for each of these initiatives is for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to certify the signatures, of which each needed just over 86,000.

  • Initiative 48: Requires labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms
  • Initiative 124: Ensures that any public school board or district meeting covering collective bargaining agreement is open

Rich Coolidge, spokesperson for the Secretary of State, explained the process to The Denver Post:

“We have 30 days to verify them. We start off with a 5 percent random sample with each of them. If with that sample we find out they qualify, then we will qualify them. If not, we have to go hand by hand through each of them.”

The following initiatives have already made the ballot:

  • Amendment 67: Recognizes unborn children as persons
  • Amendment 68: Funds K-12 education via gambling at horse racetracks

We support the people’s right to put these things on the ballot, but we just have to wonder if GMO labeling belongs in Colorado constitution.

 

PAY TO PLAY: Large Donors Have Direct Line To Hickenlooper

Got to look good for my biggest donors

Looks like some small infant decided to cross the interstate again.  Gov. John Hickenlooper can’t seem to stop putting his foot in his mouth.  The latest?  His nonchalant admission he won’t be paying our sheriffs around Colorado a living wage because his biggest donors don’t want him to.  As 9News reports:

The average Joe wouldn’t be surprised to learn that major supporters of politicians influence their decisions, but rarely does a politician just come right out and say so.

That’s what Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to do in a clip of video, obtained by Colorado-based conservative group Revealing Politics…

“Part of who called into my senior staff were these large donors,” Hickenlooper told the roomful of sheriffs. “In Colorado, nobody donates more than $1,100, so there’s no corruption.”

Hickenlooper continued, explaining that the people who called are “busting their butts” to raise money for campaigns and wouldn’t be pleased with the optics of politicians raising their own pay.

We don’t know about you, PeakNation™, but the average Coloradans we know aren’t tossing around a $1,000 like it’s no big thing.  But, when you’re like Hickenlooper, who is good friends with billionaires like former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, we guess hanging out with people who think a thousand dollars is a lot of money isn’t something you do much.

For future reference Hick, if we donate only $500 can we at least talk to the intern of your intern?  Good to know Hickenlooper’s big donors are more important to him than Colorado law enforcement officials who help protect us everyday.  Perhaps if Denver had more sheriffs, Hickenlooper would actually be concerned about their well-being.  But, as the story has been with Hickenlooper for the past four years, if you’re a Coloradan who doesn’t live in Denver, Hickenlooper could care less about you and your concerns.

Here’s the video from Revealing Politics.  Listen to Hickenlooper’s own damning words for yourself, PeakNation™:

 

BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE FRACKING DEAL: How a Country Boy from Sterling Made a Liberal Oligarch Blink

The fracking ban deal seemed to appear out of nowhere on Monday, but the one thing stopping Rep. Jared Polis and his cadre of radical environmentalists was initiative 121, which would have prevented local communities that banned energy development from receiving state tax dollars from energy development. This initiative was a firewall that prevented radical environmentalists from seriously damaging Colorado’s economy.

We’re taking you behind the scenes with Republican Representative Jerry Sonnenberg to see how it all went down.  If anyone deserves major props in this battle its Sonnenberg as well as his partner in crime on this issue, Rep. Frank McNulty.  Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) head Tisha Schuller also praised their efforts in the fight to save Colorado’s oil and gas industry:

“This is a victory for bipartisan common sense and common ground.  I thank state Representatives Frank McNulty and Jerry Sonnenberg for their leadership and unwavering support.  Despite the great intent of initiative 121, their decision to pull the measure means initiatives 88 and 89 won’t be on the ballot,  which could have put Colorado’s economic future at risk.  We thank Representative McNulty and Representative Sonnenberg for their stalwart support of this vital industry.”

So this has been a whirlwind week. As you and Rep. McNulty said in a statement, Polis caved, Colorado won. How are you feeling about it all?

We eliminated a risky situation, so I am happy to be helpful to create that stability that oil and gas obviously needed. I had hoped to not pull the initiative immediately, as we still had roughly a month to see how the initiatives and the signatures played out. I believe Polis was under so much pressure to pull this from his own party, I think he would have done so, but our friends within energy wanted the stability of no initiatives immediately.

When did it first occur to you that your initiative – which would have prohibited cities that ban drilling from receiving energy revenues – was such a major source of leverage in fighting Polis?

We actually filed it to combat and create leverage as well as an alternative to what Polis was doing, so we knew from the beginning that we would be able to, at a minimum, provide help to the industry on the ballot.

Do you plan to push the proposal again? 

I indeed plan to bring it back, either again through legislation, as I have done in a couple of different legislation sessions or in 2016 to combat another fractivist set of initiatives.

How much do you think the decision of Polis to withdrawal was driven by concerns that his initiative would jeopardize the re-election of Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper? 

I think that was the whole driving force for him to withdraw. He was under so much pressure from within his own party.

The Boulder fractivists are pissed off at Jared Polis. Do you feel bad for Polis?

I indeed did feel bad for him…for possibly a second when I may have been weak.

One conservative group ran a TV ad ridiculing the anti-fracking crowd as “flat earthers” and, well, freaks. Agree?

I don’t know if I would go that far, but I indeed view them as people not in touch with reality. There were a number of folks that said my initiative should have said that if a community prohibits oil and gas production, we shut off their energy supply so no natural gas or electric heat and no car. These anti-fracking folks want their cake, and eat it too, which is not right.

Tell us about this task force that Hick appointed to look at the state’ oil and gas regulations. are you worried it is a stalking horse for Polis to come back in 2016 with a similar ban? 

That is always a concern, but I have already had a number of conversations with the Governor’s office to make sure this is a balanced commission. Although I don’t believe it will be balanced, my hope is to have enough input on members that I can move the discussion at least a little. A commission is the standard path for this Governor. Whether it is S.B. 252 when they pass a bill and then create a task force to fix it, which was a total failure, or this commission where they put forward an initiative and then create a task force to fix it. It is governing by extortion.

Do you think Polis’ retreat is evidence that the Sierra Club and environmentalists lost the frack wars?

I don’t think there is any question they lost, but will the voters remember this conversation 90 days from now? Will those voters remember that our Governor didn’t stand up to Polis months ago and tell him that his initiatives are damaging to the economy instead of negotiating with, what I consider, an eco-terrorist in Polis. This was a mess and not handled well by the administration or by Polis. Understand that the Governor called me and said we have a deal to remove the Polis initiatives which included my initiative. I asked “who was we” as this was the first I had heard of it. My fear is that oil and gas will not do everything they can to elect Republicans so that we have a new Governor or control of the Senate and House, and that if this commission comes up with a hair-brained suggestion, there will be no back stop when the legislation moves forward.

 
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