We have no snappy opening line this morning. Sorry. Get Gravy now…
The Associated Press says that Sen. Ken Salazar is gaining clout after only two years in office:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chose him to deliver the Democrats’ first-ever Spanish-language preview to the State of the Union Address. And in two years, he will become the state’s senior senator when Republican Wayne Allard retires.
Much of Salazar’s growing clout comes from Democratic victories nationwide and the party’s efforts to make inroads in the West, said Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
But Salazar also “played his hand very skillfully” as a freshman senator when Democrats were in the minority party, he added.
“He’s established a very moderate, middle-of-the road image in a state where that’s admired,” Loevy said. He also built a reputation as someone who reaches across the aisle to work with Republicans.
Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo says he’s running for President, but does that also mean he won’t be running for re-election? Dan Haley of The Denver Post points to evidence that suggests he might not run again:
Will Congressman Tom Tancredo run for re-election next year, or will he fully engage in a presidential run? Former chief of staff and campaign manager Jacque Ponder has accepted a full-time gig with Secretary of State Mike Coffman, and some see that as a sign Tancredo may be moving on. He’s expected to announce by June whether he’ll seek a fifth term.
Ponder, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is Coffman’s deputy director of licensing. She’s scheduled to take over when current director Mike Shea is deployed with the military to Iraq this spring, said spokesman Jonathan Tee, who was spokesman for Rick O’Donnell’s congressional campaign this past fall.
Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News takes a look at Gov. Bill Ritter’s first few weeks in office, including a brief Q&A:
Today marks Democrat Bill Ritter’s 21st day as Colorado’s 41st governor.
Last week, he talked to four business groups, where he repeated his mantra that transportation, health care and education are critical to Colorado’s economic development. He took heat over a Democratic labor union bill that would amend the Labor Peace Act, which business honchos think would be bad for Colorado, but supporters say would help workers.
1. You said in your State of the State speech that you were going to spend one-fourth of your time on economic development. What have you done so far?
Does all the time I’ve spent on the Labor Peace Act controversy count? Seriously, I spent a lot of time on the phone trying to work on the (National Center for Atmospheric Research) supercomputer selection. Unfortunately for Colorado, our good friends in Wyoming prevailed, but this will be good for the region. My staff and I also have spent a significant amount of time looking at the business-personal property tax issue.
According to state Sen. Sue Windels, Colorado ranks in the Top 10 nationally in terms of percentage of women legislators. Here’s the note from an e-mail she sent out last weekend:
In the United States, we have 1,734 women legislators which means women hold 23.5% of all legislative seats. The good news is that here in Colorado, women in our legislature represent 34% of our legislative seats. We rank 5th in the nation! Finally, we don’t rank 48th, 49th as we do in most national statistics! Who beat us? Vermont (37.2%), New Hampshire (36.3%), Minnesota (34.8%) and Arizona (34.4%.) And who holds the bottom rankings in this statistic? South Carolina (8.8%), Kentucky (12.3%), Oklahoma (12.8%), Alabama (12.9%), Mississippi (13.8%.)
Alabama and Mississippi are in the bottom 10? No way.
Julie Poppen of the Rocky Mountain News reports today on a bill that would protect “duped dads”:
A bill that would undo that law and allow a man to get out of paying child support if he can prove the child is not his is expected to be voted on today by the Senate Judiciary Committee. [Dylan] Davis, who has become one of the faces for what has become known as “duped dad” syndrome, will be there to try to persuade legislators to come around to his point of view.
Davis, who works for a start-up company and lives in a downtown Denver apartment, still pays $663 a month in child support, but he has no contact with the children, who live out of state. He was able to reduce the amount of support after he was laid off from his job as a software engineer at Sun Microsystems. However, he owes his ex-wife $32,000 in back payments after having fallen behind schedule. His ex-wife declined to comment for this story.
Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Ohio have laws that protect men who prove they are not biological fathers, he said. A similar effort in Colorado two years ago failed to garner the necessary support. But Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, the bill’s sponsor this year, said the vote was close.
“I think it’s a matter of simple fairness,” Mitchell said. “It’s important that a child receive adequate support, but not based on an injustice.”
The organization Citizens Against Paternity Fraud estimates that 1 million men nationwide are in Davis’ predicament.
The News also lists three other bills of interest scheduled to be discussed this week. They are:
The editorial board of the Rocky Mountain News is pleased with a new bill that would de-regulate the taxicab industry in Denver:
Rep. Jerry Frangas, D-Denver, recalls one New Year’s Eve, when he and his wife were on the town, having no plans to drive home . . . and couldn’t find a cab for hire. The chilly walk to their hotel that followed convinced him (and his wife) that the current regulatory scheme wasn’t satisfying consumers.
So Frangas has introduced House Bill 1114, which would blow the bracing breezes of competition into Colorado’s taxicab marketplace. Aside from one small caveat – which we hope can be remedied as the bill moves forward – we enthusiastically support this legislation.
The bill would prevent the Public Utilities Commission from erecting roadblocks to would-be taxi operators, as it has for decades. The doctrine of “regulated competition,” which gave the PUC every opportunity to prevent new companies from offering taxi services in metro Denver and statewide, would be repealed from the statute governing “motor vehicles for hire.”
Instead, the law would state that “competition in the motor vehicle carrier industry will benefit Colorado consumers, making for greater choice and convenience.” HB 1114 would allow supply and demand to largely determine the number of hacks on the street.
How refreshing. It’s about time the consumer wound up in the driver’s seat.
Thousands of people protested President Bush’s new Iraq policy over the weekend. The Washington Post has the skinny:
A raucous and colorful multitude of protesters, led by some of the aging activists of the past, staged a series of rallies and a march on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq.
Under a blue sky with a pale midday moon, tens of thousands of people angry about the war and other policies of the Bush administration danced, sang, shouted and chanted their opposition.
They came from across the country and across the activist spectrum, with a wide array of grievances. Many seemed to be under 30, but there were others who said they had been at the famed war protests of the 1960s and ’70s.
They came to Washington at what they said was a moment of opportunity to push the new Congress to take action against the war, even as the Bush administration is accelerating plans to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq. This week, the Senate will begin debating a resolution of disapproval of the president’s Iraq policy, setting up a dramatic confrontation with the White House.
Be careful if you click on the link to this story