With two months to go before the start of the next Colorado legislative session, the presumed new Republican House majority is already signaling their priorities. They are telling you want they don’t like and won’t support.
“The GOP axed the word “Energy” from what was previously called the House Transportation & Energy Committee; stripped “Human Services” from the House Health & Human Services Committee; and sliced “Labor” from the Business Affairs & Labor Committee,” according to a House Democratic communication.
The New Energy Economy is the engine that will drive job growth around the nation and especially in Colorado. But with climate change deniers led by their patron saint U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) dominating the Grand Old Tea Party, the nation will be in an even deeper energy and climate hole than it already is.
Colorado House Democratic Leader Sal Pace said yesterday, “After their anti-green jobs votes last year, it is clear in removing the word energy from the title of an important committee, that House Republicans no longer see one of our fastest-growing sectors as a top agenda item.”
Incoming House Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) says the changes signal a change in “tone and philosophy.” While a change in “tone and philosophy” is certainly not unexpected, it is nevertheless jarring to have it expressed in such an in-your-face manner. But then, that has been the tone established by the Party of No ever since Barack Obama was elected President. Without a doubt, they had contrived obstructionist plans as soon as the handwriting was on the political wall for the 2008 elections.
Working families, seniors, children and the disabled can expect to get short shrift from House Republicans, while they open the taxpayers’ wallet to the wealthy and to businesses that need no assistance.
At their roots, conservatives have never believed that the government bears any responsibility for “human services” in spite of the words of the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble which state that its purpose is to “establish justice…and promote the general Welfare.” In their perverted philosophy, those in need should go begging to churches and be subjected to religious belief systems in order to gain assistance. Right-wing conservatives (Are there any others?) believe that they and they alone should be able to decide who is or isn’t deserving of help, based on their political ideology and religious beliefs.
The Republicans should, however, take note that their House majority is by this slimmest of margins. The Colorado Democratic website indicates that as of this writing the final tally remains up in the air.
“The Colorado State House is one representative shy of the majority. We continue to review the votes for several House races… And we hope to discover the votes needed to bring back Debbie Benefield and Diane Primavera.”
Regardless of the outcome of closely contested races, there is no tidal wave of conservative support in Colorado as they would have you believe. The Senate remains solidly in Democratic hands, though by a smaller majority, and the Democrats still hold the Governor’s seat.
It’s up to us to make sure Democrats not only keep their progressive promises but establish policy based on progressive values. Justice and fairness demand it.