Thunderdome 2015 : Media spotlight vs. election-politics ‘strategery’

“Thunderdome 2015” is The Colorado Independent’s wrap-up series on the 2015 legislative season. For a series overview, check out “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome.”

Bright sunlight in the form of great reporting completely turned around an effort to disappear $20 million per year for the Denver public schools in what now seems clear was a long-game election politics effort directed from Washington that targeted U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the former Denver schools superintendent who is up for re-election next year.

It was a widely embraced bipartisan House bill aimed at trimming back school system contributions to its employee pension fund based on mandatory recommendations from state accountants. It passed the House on a 55 to 9 vote.

But no!

Senate Republicans killed the bill so that Bennet opponents next year could argue his deal-making around the school pensions was disastrous.

After stories piled up by The Colorado Independent and The Denver Post and after Senate Republican explanations for why they voted against the bill failed to persuade anyone, Democrats and Republicans re-introduced the bill in the House.

The bill passed there a second time and again with broad bipartisan support. Then it landed in the Senate where, under close scrutiny, it was passed.

Score one for policy and cooperation! Score a major loss for petty election politics.

Read “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome,” for the rest of the series. 


Photo credit: Chris Goldberg, Creative Commons. Flickr

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.