Worker, pro-choice groups sound warnings on Maes-Williams ticket

Advocates for labor and reproductive rights voiced objections to the Dan Maes-Tambor Williams Republican ticket to head the state, arguing that the duo would embrace reckless policies that would lead to large layoffs and cut backs in women’s rights in the state.

Spokespersons for the state-workers labor group Colorado Workers for Innovation and New Solutions (WINS) and for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado say voters should know what they’re getting in the Maes-Williams ticket.

Speaking for the more than 31,000 state employees WINS represents, President Pattie Johnston said Maes has promised to cut 2,000 state employees if he is elected and to repeal an executive order allowing government employees to form quasi-unions such as Colorado WINS. She said Williams has also opposed legislation to implement a new more fair system of pay evaluation for government employees.

“The Maes-Williams platform to lay off thousands of Colorado workers and to oppose efforts to build a competitive and accountable state workforce is astounding. It’s bad for our families and our economy,” she said.

Maes has yet to say where exactly he would make the cuts in the state workforce nor has he addressed legal questions that might rise around the blanket layoffs.

Williams only said that the state had pandered to unions for too long and criticized the legislature for working to provide a pay program that could raise salaries and increase the cost of government during the recession, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

“What does that say, when even the Democratic governor can’t buy into this Legislature’s actions?” she said.

She was referring to House Bill 1409, an attempt to fix what Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter called a “broken” pay-for-performance system. The bill would have attached any raises for state employees to time served but also to required performance reviews. Raises would also be subject to legislative approval and only would have gone into effect once personal income had increased by 5 percent in the state. I the end, Ritter vetoed the bill.

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado said they thought Williams might support continuing a ban on state funding for their organization and also endorse Amendment 62, the so-called personhood Initiative.

“We hope that Ms. Williams will not take the extreme position on access to abortion care that candidate Dan Maes is advocating,” Kinsey Hasstedt, political affairs manager for the group said. “Maes has publicly expressed his support for Amendment 62, which would not only ban abortion in all circumstances, but also ban safe, commonly used forms of birth control that the majority of women in their childbearing years depend on to prevent pregnancy.

“In addition, the issue of state funding is a moot point. Planned Parenthood does not take state or federal family planning grant funds. Rather, we provide family planning services, excluding abortion, to Medicaid clients. Thousands of our clients throughout the state depend on us for this essential preventive health care.”

Williams supports a ban on abortion with exceptions for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother, and was one of nine Republican legislators who asked then-Gov. Bill Owen’s to protect Planned Parenthood funding. She has said she will disagree with Maes on abortion but has so far been non-committal on funding exceptions for Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider but also one of the most frequented reproductive health-care organizations in the state, as around the country. In 1999 she joined nine other women legislators supporting state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Maes picked moderate former state representative Williams as his running mate Thursday, acknowledging that he needed a running mate with experience.

“I know what I lack, and what I lack is Tambor Williams. She will bring the political experience to the table that I lack,” said Maes to a crowd at his headquarters in Englewood.

Greeley Republican Williams served two terms in the Colorado legislature from 1997 to 2001 and led the Department of Regulatory Agencies for two years beginning in 2004.

She is experienced but she is also a political moderate, compared to Maes, who supports the personhood amendment, an Arizona-like law for immigration, and has said that a Denver bike-sharing program might lead to more U.N. control.

Williams supported controversial Referendums C&D in 2006, measures that sought to keep refunds for taxpayers in order to pay for education.

At the press conference Thursday, she spoke about those positions.

“I didn’t support Ref C by itself. I supported it thinking that Ref D would also pass, which would have required that the excess revenue be spent on transportation. I never intended it to be a free-for-all to just grow government.”

When asked whether she was pro-choice, she said, “I wish it were that easy. I will probably say I am pro-life, with the exceptions that we have come to respect — that is the life of the mother, rape, incest. I think there are times when pro-life has to give way to the best of possible choices, and they’re never, ever easy.”

Additional writing and reporting by Luke Johnson.

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