HD43 Highlights

News from the legislative session, plus other key insights for HD43 residents.

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This past weekend, I attended the Castle Rock PrideFest. I had intended to stop by PrideFest in the morning on my way to Pueblo for the Colorado State Fair. I was informed that morning, however, that a group of men intended to disrupt Pridefest by “open carrying” in front of the event to intimidate event goers. So I canceled plans to ensure I could attend at that time to lend my support.

The festival itself was no different than a school fair with activities, food, and loads of entertainment. This was the most well attended PrideFest in Castle Rock Pride history! Events offered in DougCo such as PrideFest create a sense of belonging for our diverse residents.

Unfortunately, a large group of “White Shirts” took coordinated aggressive action to disrupt PrideFest by donning their shirts to “Stand to Protect Children” and then stood in the bench seating area, on the benches, and in the aisles to block the stage. This went on for 40+ minutes until PrideFest security convinced the group to leave. Such conduct would not be tolerated in a movie theater or a Shakespeare festival, yet these men felt entitled to engage in such conduct without consequences. A young 10 year old boy next to me was crying uncontrollably in fear of the harm these men intended to inflict upon his sister. Additionally, there was anti-LGBTQ graffiti painted on several cars and on the Fairground facilities before the event. Unlawful conduct is far different than lawful exercise of First Amendment rights. One would hope the Douglas County Sheriff Office would put aside their close ties to these groups and act professionally and in an impartial manner against those who flaunt the Rule of Law. Elected leaders must role model impartiality and fairness to uphold the oath of office taken to protect the Constitutional rights of their constituents.

On the positive side, I did have a parent come up and thank me for having extra candy at the end of the July 4th Parade. Apparently this parent’s children were at the end of the parade and everyone had run out of candy. But I still had a bunch and made up for some of their “loss”. Say what you will about me as a legislator, politician, or person, but I do take my parade candy duties seriously. For me, distributing candy to kids in parades is one of the biggest perks of the job.

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The Groups Protesting DougCo Pride Fest

Douglas County Fair

One of my favorite things to do as your representative is to meet and talk to people. It always provides me with interesting perspectives. It also reminds me what a privilege it is to be a public servant and to help the constituency with issues that they are facing. I did just that during the Douglas County Fair.

Back to School

Hope your summer was fun and relaxing. School is starting for many across the district. I hope that everyone pays attention to speed limits and follows the safety precautions in school zones. Our schools are the cornerstones of our local communities. Thriving schools are indicative of a thriving community. The Douglas County School District recently approved MLO/Bond language for critical funding needs. And I hope everyone will educate themselves about the issues facing the Douglas County School District.

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New director of the Douglas County School District Board of Education sworn in

Colorado Open Meetings Law Complaint

On July 7, Representative Epps and I filed a complaint against the Colorado State House of Representatives and House leadership, Democratic and Republican, for decades long Open Meeting Violations. We both had independently, and then jointly, tried to resolve our concerns while in session. But we ultimately concluded after six months of effort that the institution is unable to reform itself without an “intervention”. If followed to the letter, many Open Meeting Law restrictions do make it very difficult to perform our duties as legislators. Rather than change the law, however, the legislature chose over time to simply ignore the law. My colleague and I did not think that was appropriate and finally took action when our efforts to address the issues internally did not seem to bear fruit. We have since been in negotiations to quietly resolve the issues without a public hearing. And we hope it will lead to reforms that will benefit both the legislative process and the public.

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EDITORIAL: Kudos to 2 legislators determined to make the other 98 stop violating open meeting laws

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Open meeting violations routine at Colorado Legislature, two of its own Democratic members allege

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Democrats allege pattern of illegal meetings at Colorado's Capitol

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Quadratic Voting Lawsuit

Unfortunately, my Sunshine Law activity makes me a target for retaliation and I have been named as a defendant in an open meeting lawsuit regarding “Quadratic Voting”. I was the only rank and file member named in the suit. As a first year legislator, not only did I have no role in creating or directing the use of this system that had been in operation for years, or authority over it, but I already provided all documents within my custody to the Plaintiff regarding the system, as I would to anyone who asked under a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request. I was still named, however, to the shock of the other defendants. I have even been assigned my own separate counsel because my involvement as a participant alongside all the other members who were not named is distinct from leadership who directed the use of the system, creating a conflict of interest. I do not expect to defend the system if a court views it as violating open meeting laws. But I do view this suit as “much ado about nothing” as compared to all the other Sunshine law issues of concern in the legislature. And the filing of this suit against me while simply being one member among the 65+ directed to use it by leadership is simply politics given the nature, purpose, and the litigants who filed the suit.

Douglas County Libraries Book Challenge

I attended the Douglas County Library Board of Trustees meeting regarding the petition to remove four books from their 100K plus collection. I gave a public comment where I read excerpts of President Eisenhower’s 1953 Dartmouth College graduation speech where Ike emphasized that we must not just tolerate books that we do not like, but ensure that “they are accessible to others...or it isn’t America.” I then pointed out that simply because there might be a sexual component to a work does not make it obscene. The prurient interest of a work has to be the sole reason/purpose for the work to be banned, pointing out how many young boys in the 1970s were avid National Geographic readers...solely for prurient interest. The DCL Board of Trustees unanimously voted to retain the books in the collection. This was the right decision, not because they approved of the books, but based on their policy being appropriately followed for selecting the works. The price of liberty, however, is eternal vigilance. So we must ensure that because these works survived simply because library rules were followed that an effort will not now be made to change the rules.

National Conference for State Legislators Conference

In July, I attended the National Conference for State Legislators (NCSL) in Indianapolis. I was appointed to the State and Local Tax (SALT) task force and decided to stay through the rest of the conference. I was also able to listen and learn from other legislators across the country about public policy issues and solutions for a wide range of issues. One of my favorites was to add braille information on prescription bottles to make it easier for blind persons and those with limited visibility to be safe with medications. What an excellent idea! If you would like to learn more about NCSL, visit www.ncsl.org.

Colorado South Asian Democrats Picnic

Always great to meet up with friends who have been my supporters from the very beginning. Glad to see so many friendly faces and listen to new initiatives underway within the community. I had a great time talking to community leaders and listening to candidates from around the Denver Metro area. Our democracy thrives when we have people of diverse backgrounds running for elected office and helping local communities by providing policy solutions to real problems. I hope you’ll get to know some of the young candidates and support them.

Douglas County Disaster Fund

Some great news! Since the Highlands Ranch tornado from June, I had been quietly lobbying the Governor's office and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to include Highlands Ranch in their FEMA request for funds to mitigate damages suffered in Highlands Ranch. They finally included Douglas County although it was not certain that we met the criteria. I must commend Governor Polis for securing federal funds for all the counties that were heavily impacted during the severe summer storms. He quietly endured falsehoods so egregious from some Douglas County GOP officials that Kyle Clark at 9News even called them out. He never responded to those attacks upon him but simply did the work to obtain the help that these counties needed. Work horses are always more valuable than show horses.

Related News

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Most Wanted Democrats

The Colorado GOP designated me one of THE MOST WANTED DEMOCRATS in the entire state! Always nice to be wanted....

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Bob 4 Colorado

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