J Paul Brown is a rancher in far south-eastern Colorado and the Republican Candidate for the 59th District of the Colorado House, the seat currently held by Rep Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, who is running for Colorado Senate. According to his website, Brown believes in individual freedoms and personal responsibility, he’s against tax increases and will work to turn our country back to God. He replaces Orange County, Calif-native Lew Webb, who was pushed aside by district GOP party leaders who thought Webb was too conservative.
Brown attended a Tax Day Tea Party rally, however, and according to the local Pagosa Sun newspaper, doesn’t appear to be a moderate of any stripe. Reporter Jim McQuiggin was at the rally, too. “The Red meat was served up when J Paul Brown stepped up to the podium,” he writes.
McQuiggin did more than simply transcribe events. Apparently taken aback by some of the things he was hearing, he fact-checked Brown’s speech.
Brown, a former La Plata County Commissioner, began his speech on the topic of taxes, saying, “We are paying way too much, too many taxes: Income taxes, death taxes, capital gains taxes, property taxes and the list goes on and on, all the fees and everything on top of that.”
Brown claimed that the Colorado Legislature had considered over 300 pieces of legislation, “raising taxes by 1.3 billion dollars.”
$1.3 billion is in fact the budget shortfall the state faces this year. Actually, the state cut spending by $2.2 billion and, through the elimination, suspension or limitation of tax credits, would raise a projected $148.2 million over the next two years. Due to the TABOR amendment, any tax increase must go to the voters as a ballot initiative.
The only tax approved by the governor during the past year was a mandate to collect Colorado’s existing sales tax from out-of-state online retailers, with an estimated $4.7 million in revenues projected for this year.
Brown continued with statements that are often staples of Tea Party speeches and Internet legends. Regarding the student loan provision in the health care reform act he said, “They’re going to take over all student loans … now, I wonder why? They want to control our kids.”
What that provision did, in fact, was remove third-party lenders from the process, for an estimated $61 billion in savings over 10 years.
Brown also pointed to a provision in the act that would activate 6,000 medical workers and emergency responders in the event of a national emergency. “Section 5210 established a ready reserve corps. That’s Obama’s private army.”
Speaking to one of the Tea Party’s biggest issues — gun rights — Brown said, “Can you imagine what Barack Obama would do if we didn’t have guns? No telling what he’d do; this guy’s after power, let me tell you, and they want to take away our guns.
“Hillary Clinton is talking about a treaty with the U.N. to do exactly that,” Brown continued, referring to a United Nations small arms treaty agreed upon last fall. Setting international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons, the treaty would allow nations to remain in charge of arms export control arrangements, but would legally oblige countries to follow terms set forth in the treaty.
“I tell you what I know, that you guys will stand right with me. It’s going to be civil war when they try to do that,” Brown added, his statement met with a loud, “Amen!” and applause.
“The United Nations is not going to tell us what to do with our guns and they’re not going to with our land, and they’re trying to do that all the time, right now,” Brown said.
While the treaty would set controls for the import and export of conventional weapons between nations, the treaty would not subject citizens of one nation to the laws of another. Furthermore, in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in District of Columbia v. Heller) that, “(T)he enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”
In fact, the only gun legislation President Obama has signed while in office expanded gun rights, allowing loaded and concealed weapons in national parks.
Finishing with a tearful reflection on George Washington and his belief that the colonies’ victory in the war was the result of “divine providence,” Brown took several questions from the audience…
Brown entered the race last fall when district party leaders pushed out Webb, who they at first wooed but then came to believe would turn off voters with his social conservative views. Webb said the district was a little too “middle of the road” for his candidacy.
Brown is running now against Democrat Brian O’Donnell.
Rep. Ellen Roberts is running against Democratic Sen. Bruce Whitehead, who was appointed in August to replace Jim Isgar, who left the Senate when he was appointed as state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.