Will Ticket Splitters Save Colorado Republicans? — The Buzz (@FloydCiruli)

Click the link to read the post on The Buzz website (Floyd Ciruli):

After some early optimism about Republican Joe O’Dea’s election chances, new bipartisan polls show the race about 9 to 10 points in favor the incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet ( Keating, Magellan poll 46-36 Bennet – 10/2/22). Although it’s still a month out and the economy is deteriorating, the race does not appear close. The governor’s race is even worse with Heidi Ganahl polling an average of 13 points behind Jared Polis.

Hence, the question, will ticket splitters help Republicans in two other statewide races for Secretary of State and Treasurer? Although ticket splitting has declined both nationally and in Colorado in recent years, the state does have many unaffiliated voters and Republicans have nominated strong candidate for the positions. If they fail it will solidify Colorado’s reputation as a blue state and suggest that the Republican Party’s relationship with controversial views on abortion and Trump’s big lie has damaged their reputation even in down ballot races.

#ColoradoSprings voters to decide whether to dedicate $20M for #wildfire mitigation — The Colorado Springs Gazette Cheyenne Edition

Black Forest Fire June 2013 via CBS Denver

From The Colorado Springs Gazette Cheyenne Edition (Mary Shinn):

Colorado Springs residents will decide in November whether to allow the city to keep up to $20 million in tax revenue to create a wildfire mitigation fund.

The Colorado Springs City Council voted unanimously to place on the ballot a question asking voters to retain the money and spend no more than 5% of the funding annually. The city needs voter approval to keep the funds because they are in excess of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights cap, a limit on how much tax revenues can grow each year.

Any additional funding over $20 million will be refunded to voters through their city utility bills, Mayor John Suthers said.

Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal said the new funds would help protect the 35,000 homes in the wildland urban interface, where homes are adjacent to wooded areas where fire danger is highest…

The city could use the funds to pay crews to do direct fire mitigation such as trimming back trees, shrubs and other vegetation. It could also use the funds for evacuation planning and community wildfire education.

Waldo Canyon Fire. Photo credit The Pueblo chieftain.

Mitigation could help prevent the level of catastrophe the city saw during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, Councilman Richard Skorman said…

The ballot question does not list all the ways the money could be used to mitigate fire to ensure the city can use the money as it’s needed, Suthers said. He expects the money to be used throughout the community, including areas such as Palmer Park and Corral Bluffs Open Space on the east side. The money can also be used outside the city’s boundaries if necessary.

If the question passes, the city expects to invest the money and use interest from the funds for mitigation and a portion of the main funds, he said.

The city could also replenish the fund with future TABOR retention questions, he added.

Skorman said he didn’t want to see the 5% limit on spending placed in the ballot question in case the city had an important opportunity for wildfire mitigation funding come up.

However, Suthers supported the limit to help show the community the money wouldn’t be spent all at once. The council as a whole supported the limitation as well in its vote.

President Biden Announces Five Key Nominations #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Here’s the release from the President’s office:

[June 18, 2021], President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following seven individuals to serve in key roles:

  • Xochitl Torres Small, Nominee for Under Secretary of Rural Development, Department of Agriculture
  • Laura Daniel-Davis, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of Interior
  • Hampton Dellinger, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, Department of Justice
  • M. Camille Calimlim Touton, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Interior
  • Christi Grimm, Nominee for Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Xochitl Torres Small, Nominee for Under Secretary of Rural Development, Department of Agriculture

    The granddaughter of migrant farmworkers, Xochitl Torres Small grew up in the borderlands of New Mexico. In 2008, she came home from college to work as a field organizer, working in colonias in southern New Mexico. She continued serving rural New Mexico as a field representative for Senator Tom Udall, where she collaborated with local grassroots leaders, business owners, elected officials, and regional and state economic development officials to help communities access American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Inspired by Senator Udall’s work on water in the West, Torres Small studied water law and worked closely with rural water utilities. In 2018, Torres Small became the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s second congressional district, the largest district that isn’t its own state.

    In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Representative Torres Small kept a rural hospital from closing its doors, improved constituent access to healthcare over the phone, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars for broadband in New Mexico through USDA’s ReConnect Program. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Torres Small raised the alarm on broadband disparities, serving on Majority Whip James Clyburn’s Rural Broadband Taskforce and as an original cosponsor of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Torres Small helped build the case for dairy farmers harmed by Canada’s violation of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, and drafted legislation to help local farmers and rural communities invest in infrastructure to navigate new markets. Torres Small also partnered with Senator Udall to introduce the Western Water Security Act, and helped secure key provisions of the legislation in the FY 2021 Appropriations Omnibus. In addition, Torres Small worked closely with the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to secure New Mexico water priorities in the Water Resources Development Act, including Rio Grande ecosystem restoration from Sandia Pueblo to Isleta Pueblo and increased authorization for the Tribal Partnership Program within the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Throughout her career, Torres Small has employed her experience organizing in vulnerable, rural communities to achieve lasting investments that combat persistent poverty.

    Laura Daniel-Davis, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of Interior

    Laura Daniel-Davis currently serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management, overseeing the important activities of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

    Daniel-Davis has worked to conserve public lands, protect wildlife and address climate change for three decades, prioritizing a collaborative and partnership-based approach. She previously served in the Interior Department during the Clinton and Obama Administrations, serving as Chief of Staff to Interior Secretaries Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar in the Obama administration and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration.

    She was most recently the Chief of Policy and Advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation and led NWF’s bipartisan efforts on implementing natural infrastructure solutions, including habitat restoration work, along with supporting enactment of the historic Great American Outdoors Act. Daniel-Davis also has experience working in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO).

    Daniel-Davis lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, daughter, two dogs and a cat, and enjoys hiking on public lands and identifying bird calls. She holds a BA in Political Science from Wake Forest University.

    Hampton Dellinger, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, Department of Justice

    Hampton Dellinger is a former Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Department of Justice and served as Chief Legal Counsel in the Office of the North Carolina Governor from 2001-2003 where his responsibilities included overseeing the judicial appointment process. In the private sector, he has devoted a significant amount of time to pro bono matters including representing an international coalition of women’s soccer players challenging gender discrimination at the 2015 World Cup.

    Dellinger has written on a wide range of legal topics including publications in the Harvard Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and for SCOTUSBlog. Other essays he has authored have appeared in Atlantic.com, Politico, Slate, and the National Law Journal.

    Dellinger received his B.A. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1989. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1993 and served as a senior editor on the Yale Law Journal. He was a law clerk for United States Court of Appeals Judge J. Dickson Phillips, Jr. He and his spouse, Professor Jolynn Childers Dellinger, live in Durham, N.C. and have two grown children.

    M Camille Calimlim Touton MIT via Twitter (@mitwater)

    M. Camille Calimlim Touton, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Interior

    M. Camille Calimlim Touton is a Nevadan who has spent her career focusing on water policy. Prior to joining Interior, Camille served as Senior Professional Staff for the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Camille’s congressional experience also includes serving as Professional Staff for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, the authorizing committees for the Department of the Interior. Camille also served as the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science under the Obama Administration.

    Camille holds a BS in Engineering (Civil) and a BA in Communication Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University. While her heart is in the west, Camille, her husband Matthew, and their daughters call Arlington, VA home.

    Christi Grimm, Nominee for Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services

    Christi A. Grimm is the Department of Health and Human Services’ Principal Deputy Inspector General (PDIG) and has been performing the duties of the Inspector General since January 2020. As the senior-most executive for the largest federal Office of Inspector General, Ms. Grimm leads an independent and objective organization of more than 1,600 auditors, evaluators, investigators, lawyers, and management professionals who carry out OIG’s mission of protecting the integrity of HHS programs as well as the health and welfare of program beneficiaries. Ms. Grimm has more than 20 years of experience leading organizations, individuals, and teams to deploy creative solutions, overcome challenges, and achieve positive outcomes.

    Ms. Grimm began her career with the Department of Health and Human Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services before joining HHS-OIG in 1999. She has held a number of leadership roles during her service at HHS-OIG including, Senior Policy Advisor to the Principal Deputy and Inspector General, Director of Policy and Programs, and Chief of Staff. In her current role, Ms. Grimm has led HHS-OIG through great challenges, while sustaining the agency’s mission and impact. She has been a crucial voice in guiding and informing key stakeholders, including those in the Executive and Legislative Branches, on important topics such as oversight of the Unaccompanied Children Program, federal health and human services’ response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the intersection of healthcare and technology. Further, she is a leading expert in HHS program integrity issues and has authored more than a dozen articles and delivered multiple speeches that have established her at the forefront of developments in the healthcare arena. In addition, Ms. Grimm spearheaded several programs within HHS-OIG to strengthen the organization and better serve the American people through important efforts such as creating the first-ever OIG Executive Engagement Committee and building OIG’s capacity to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ms. Grimm provides valuable healthcare oversight and program integrity expertise to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) as HHS-OIG’s representative to the PRAC and the leader of the Health Care Subgroup.

    Ms. Grimm has received numerous awards for her leadership and achievements, including the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence in Management in 2019 and the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Management in 2015. Ms. Grimm holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Senior Managers in Government. Ms. Grimm is a native of Denver, Colorado and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.

    From The Associated Press via KTNV:

    President Joe Biden has nominated longtime water policy adviser Camille Touton to lead the agency that oversees water and power in the U.S. West.

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner will be a central figure in negotiations among several states over the future of the Colorado River…

    Touton is a native of Nevada and previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for water and science in the Interior Department under the Obama administration.

    With #Colorado ‘at war’ with small businesses, agriculture, and oil and gas, #WeldCounty group seeks secession to #Wyoming — USA Today

    Screen shot from the https://www.weldcountywy.com website January 2021.

    From USA Today (Steve Kiggins):

    Weld County Wyoming, a political committee registered last year by Christopher “Todd” Richards, wants to place a measure on the November 2021 ballot that, if passed, would instruct county commissioners to engage and explore annexation with Wyoming.

    “We’re not really moving,” Richards said during a November meeting at a local church that was recorded and posted on a website built to promote the proposed measure. “We’re moving a line.”

    At the meeting, Richards said he got the idea for Weld County Wyoming after reading a Denver Post opinion article, admitting he considered the idea the “funniest thing I’ve ever heard.” Still, Richards later created a Facebook page to gauge interest that has since garnered nearly 5,000 likes.

    “This has never been done before, so we’re not here to tell you this can be done,” Geoffery Broughton, a local pastor, said at the meeting. “We’re telling you this is a hard thing that we think is worth trying to do.”

    A pair of rural Oregon counties are one election cycle ahead of Weld County Wyoming. In November, Jefferson and Union counties approved ballot measures to push lawmakers to consider relocating to Idaho, a state they believe is more representative of their political views.

    Two other counties rejected the same measure proposed by a group led by Mike McCarter called Move Oregon’s Border. What’s next? McCarter hopes to push similar ballot measures in 11 other counties as soon as this year, with a vision of ultimately taking 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties to a new “Greater Idaho.”

    It won’t be easy: The reallocation of any county would require votes by the state legislatures in Oregon and Idaho as well as the U.S. Congress.

    The Weld County Wyoming movement faces similar long odds, with Richards stressing at the meeting that the process would be “long” and “daunting.”

    If Weld County joined Wyoming, Vermont would suddenly become the country’s most sparsely populated state, with Wyoming’s population increasing by nearly 60%. The Colorado county east of Fort Collins has a population of about 324,000.

    Wyoming, with about 579,000 residents, has long celebrated its standing as the country’s least populated state since the 1990 U.S. Census. One Cowboy State radio station even pulled together a “10 Reasons NOT to Move to Wyoming” list that includes too much fresh air and not enough traffic.

    Why is Wyoming a better fit for Weld County? At the meeting, Broughton said it was because Colorado was “at war with three major economic drivers for Weld County: small businesses, agriculture, and oil and gas.”

    A similar idea proposed in 2013 that aimed to form a new state with several northern Colorado counties failed, though it passed in five of 11 counties where it appeared on the ballot.

    “There are a lot of consideration(s) for Weld County voters if they want to secede to Wyoming: income tax, personal property tax, corporate state income tax, retirement income tax, gas tax, severance taxes on oil and gas, and water rights to name a few,” Jennifer Carroll, the mayor of Erie, said in a statement. “If Weld County residents approve the ballot question, the Colorado legislature has to approve it, the Wyoming legislature has to approve it, and it’s possible both Colorado voters and Congress will need to approve it as well.”

    Tommy Butler, a member of the Greeley City Council, offered a blunter assessment to KDVR-TV.

    “I absolutely love living in Colorado,” Butler told the TV station. “For those that don’t love living here, there are certainly less ridiculous ways of moving to Wyoming.”