Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Colorado Has Two Radically Different Political Parties

On May 13, the leadership of Colorado’s legislature met in a question and answer session with interviews by Shaun Boyd of CBS Channel 4 and the Colorado Sun’s John Frank (an online paper with several Denver Post top reporters). In the University of Denver event, co-sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Center on American Politics and the Colorado Sun, more than 500 alumni, faculty, educators and students packed the Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall.

From legislative recalls, to solutions to school shootings, to the death penalty, there were starkly different viewpoints, with Democratic House Speaker KC Becker offering the most articulate liberal viewpoint on a host of issues and promising more of the same next year. Supported by her Senate colleague, Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, both from Boulder, they made clear that some bills that failed this year will be back, including paid leave and abolition of the death penalty.

The group couldn’t even agree on more school resource officers as the Republican Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert and Patrick Neville in the House were unwilling to go beyond encouragement for the state’s more than 170 separate school districts to take their own action, or in Neville’s view, arming teachers, versus KC Becker fearing the militarization of the classroom.

The two parties strongly disagreed on the use of recalls against legislators, with Neville an active behind-the-scenes encourager and Becker calling it unjustified intimidation and do-overs.

Thanks to the legislators for their time and candor. There is no doubt Colorado voters will have a clear choice in the next round of elections, and in the meantime, Democrats will aggressively pursue their agenda and Republicans continue to play the weak hand dealt them in the 2018 election.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder (R)  and Senate Minority
 Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker on stage at the Davis Auditorium in Sturm
Hall at DU, May 13, 2019 | Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun

Read The Colorado Sun: Six big takeaways from The Colorado Sun’s forum with Gov. Jared Polis and top state lawmakers

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