Americans for Prosperity is spending thousands to thwart a special session
Colorado’s chapter of the free-market group Americans for Prosperity is spending at least $10,000 to try and stop Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper from calling a special legislative session.
“We’re running digital ads around the state along with print ads in several of the major Colorado papers,” the group’s spokeswoman, Tamra Farah, said in a statement. “On top of that, we’re doing targeted direct mail.”
Whether all 100 lawmakers will return to the Capitol for a special session is a perennial question when the session ends in May. This year, Hickenlooper has said he’s been thinking about the idea after Republicans blocked a key budget strategy his administration pushed that would convert a hospital program into a standalone enterprise that would free up more money in the state budget.
Late last month, a group of more than 100 organizations signed on to a half-page letter in The Denver Post on behalf of the pro-business group Colorado Concern, urging the governor to call a special session.
“We recognize that the charged political atmosphere of the times can make collaboration difficult; still, we believe the legislature has an obligation to forge real solutions to matters of public concern,” the letter read in part.
Americans for Prosperity is used to challenging the business community in Colorado, particularly on the hospital program question.
AFP asked lawmakers to sign a pledge saying they wouldn’t vote for re-classifying the hospital program, and singled out Republican lawmakers who were for the proposal that has backing from Hickenlooper, state Democrats and a near monolithic voice of the business community.
Now, the Koch-backed group is spending resources to make sure they don’t have to battle lawmakers again this summer. The group says its activists sent more than 600 emails to Hickenlooper urging him not to call lawmakers back.
“Our expectation is that this effort will resonate with Coloradans who are sick of continually growing entitlements at the expense of other major priorities, like fixing our crumbling roads and bridges,” Farah said.
In April, The Colorado Independent published a report on what Americans for Prosperity is doing in Colorado, canvassing in the suburbs and focusing more on state-level issues at the Capitol.
Hickenlooper spokeswoman Kathy Green tells The Colorado Independent the governor is still determining if a special session is “the best course.”
[Photo credit: Keith Cooper via Creative Commons on Flickr]
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