That Depends on Your Definition of “Gravy”

Git yur Political Gravy right here! We’re like Sportscenter, without the sports. Or the television…

Congress convenes today for the first time under Democratic control in more than a decade. The Washington Post reports that Democrats are focusing on the first 100 hours…depending on your definition of “100 hours”:

It sure sounds like a race against time. Democrats have given themselves a mere 100 hours to break the bonds between lobbyist and lawmaker, boost homeland security, raise the minimum wage, fund stem cell research, lower prescription drug prices, slash student loan interest rates and free the country from its dependence on international oil.

A hundred hours to pass at least eight significant pieces of legislation and rule changes — 4.17 days! Heck, Republicans had all year to pass 11 routine spending bills and managed only two. But, hey, who’s really counting?

“We think we’ll do it in less than a hundred hours,” boasted incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) in a fit of bravado yesterday. “But,” he added, “it all depends on how you’re counting a hundred hours.”

The players and the party in control may change, but it’s nice to know that political gibberish is nonpartisan.

Newly-elected statewide officials such as Bill Ritter (governor) and John Suthers (attorney general) will be sworn-in during an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday. Every statewide elected official will take part in the ceremony except for Secretary of State-elect Mike Coffman, who has decided to hold his own private ceremony because he was mad that he wasn’t going to get to speak at the scheduled inauguration ceremony. Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News has the story, which was first reported last night at Colorado Pols:

Republican Mike Coffman said he decided to hold a separate swearing-in ceremony so he could make a speech and address his staff. Traditionally, statewide officers – governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state – are sworn in one after another on the west steps of the state Capitol.

“Initially, they said they were going to let us speak, but then they decided against that, so I just thought, ‘I’ll do my own thing,’ ” Coffman said Wednesday.

The political blog Colorado- Pols reported Wednesday that Coffman might be trying to “upstage” the other elected officials by holding his ceremony at the same time.

Very classy, Mike. If I can’t be the king of the ball, then I’ll hold my party. I’ll show you guys!


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Coffman may not want to play with the other kids, but there is plenty of demand for inauguration festivities. The Ritter inauguration celebration has added a second reception and dinner venue to the Jan. 12 festivities, and about 700 tickets will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at www.coloradopromise.org.


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Ritter also announced two new cabinet nominations on Wednesday. Broomfield Health and Human Services director Karen Legault Beye to head the state Human Services Department, and Jefferson County District Judge Peter Weir to head the Public Safety Department.


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Senator Ken Salazar says that he isn’t actively seeking a nod for Vice President, but says that he also wouldn’t rule it out (and why would he?). The Grand Junction Sentinel reports on an item first picked up by the blog Colorado Lib:

Colorado’s junior senator said Wednesday that while he is not “actively” seeking a vice presidential nomination in 2008, he has not foreclosed the possibility.
“Never say never,” Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said with a laugh when asked about the possibility. “Who knows what will happen in one’s life around the corner?”

For the time being, Salazar, who was elected in 2004, said he is content to serve Colorado in the U.S. Congress and is not “actively seeking anything.”

Salazar’s name was mentioned Sunday on “The Chris Matthews Show” on NBC as a possible running mate in the 2008 election.

Though Salazar has not made any announcements regarding the 2008 election, the mention of his name on Matthews’ show sent the state’s liberal bloggers into a brief frenzy. Coloradopols.com highlighted the alleged noncoincidence that Salazar hired Jeff Lane, a former aide to 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, in December.


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Incoming!

The Colorado National Guard is bombarding rural Colorado with hay bombs in an effort to stave off starvation for thousands of cattle that haven’t already become cowsicles as the result of December’s blizzards. As David Montero of the Rocky Mountain News reports, Colorado faces a heifer of a disaster:

The weather cooperated Wednesday with Colorado National Guard troops dropping bales of hay from helicopters to stranded and starving cattle, but state officials worry the snow is covering a disaster of epic proportions.

Gov. Bill Owens wrote President Bush on Wednesday asking him to authorize federal funds for the rescue and recovery of livestock and also asked for help through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Prices moved upward on beef markets as nearly 13 percent of the cattle in Colorado stood stranded by historic snowfall. U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar also sought federal disaster relief Wednesday.

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Lakewood voters have rejected a proposed land swap that would have allowed for development of a city-owned park:

The vote was 14,216 against, to 10,594 in favor, of trading 22 acres in Iron Spring Park for a 22-acre open- space corridor owned by a developer, Carma, that connected several parks.

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Pam Zubeck of the Colorado Springs Gazette writes that Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera will run for re-election in April. Once considered a rising star in the Republican Party, Rivera lost a contentious six-way primary for congress (CD-5) last August.


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Colorado’s newest congressional members, Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden), will be sworn-in today in Washington D.C. as other members of the delegation get set to introduce new legislation. As Anne C. Mulkern of The Denver Post reports:

Democrats will take over at noon, and soon after will tackle an aggressive agenda that includes legislation to expand federal research using embryonic stem cells, a bill sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver. Several other Colorado lawmakers planned to immediately offer legislation when the session begins today.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, will introduce a bill to rename the Vail post office for the late President Gerald Ford, who had a home in the area. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan, will submit legislation requiring a three-fifths vote of each chamber before Congress can spend more money than the federal government takes in.

Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., plans to introduce a number of bills today dealing with such matters as reimbursement rates for doctors in managed-care plans, improving rail and mass-transit security and methamphetamine addiction.

DeGette will reintroduce her bill to expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. A vote is expected Jan. 11, as it’s among the six main legislative priorities Democrats campaigned on last year.

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Stella Hicks was selected by a Republican vacancy committee to fill the seat of Colorado Springs Rep. Mark Cloer, who resigned last month for family reasons.

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According to Square State, the battle for Jefferson County Democratic Chair will be between Vince Todd and former CD-7 candidate Herb Rubenstein.

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Jason Bane

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