Ken Buck: Terrorists and felons jailed at Supermax should not be allowed to vote
The following editorial from Chairman Buck was published on May 17:
Colorado is home to our nation’s only Supermax penitentiary, located in Florence. Many of our nation’s most dangerous terrorists and criminals have been incarcerated there, including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and Robert Hanssen, the former FBI agent convicted of Russian espionage.
Recently, Bernie Sanders told a town hall audience in New Hampshire he believed all incarcerated criminals, including those jailed at the Supermax, should be eligible to vote.
As a former prosecutor in Weld County, this may be one of the more deranged suggestions I have ever heard from a presidential candidate — much less a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. During my tenure as Weld County D.A., we aggressively pursued lengthy prison sentences for perpetrators of violent crime. Suggesting those same violent felons should have the right to vote from prison isn’t just an affront to our democracy, it is an attack on every victim who has suffered at the hands of these criminals.
Incarcerated felons lose a variety of constitutional rights in Colorado, including their right to possess a firearm (permanently), their right to free association, and their right to vote. Other constitutional rights are also curtailed such that they do not interfere with the status of prisoners as inmates. Yet for some bizarre reason, Sanders wants to prioritize voting rights for incarcerated felons over all of these other enumerated constitutional guarantees.
This discussion also raises a variety of questions Democrats might not be eager to answer. Under Colorado state law, registered voters have the right to affiliate with a political party and participate in a caucus. Would new voting rights for jailed felons include the right to affiliate and caucus from prison, or would Democrats mandate inmates register as “Unaffiliated” against their will? If Democrats want to let incarcerated felons affiliate, would they permit them to run for state or national delegate? That certainly would add a new wrinkle to next year’s Colorado Democratic Assemblies.
What’s even more outrageous is this offensive idea wasn’t even shot down by other Democratic presidential candidates. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., seemingly agreed when asked about Sanders’ comments, saying that “we should have that conversation.” Even Colorado’s own top election official, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, “would not clearly answer one way or another” when asked if she believes incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote.
This shouldn’t be a hard question, and yet we see Democrats hedging and refusing to condemn the man who won their caucus here in 2016. Thankfully, Sen. Cory Gardner didn’t sit back and let these dangerous ideas go unchecked. While Sanders was applauded by his radical base, Gardner highlighted just how insane the idea of “Prison Precincts” at the Supermax would be. Colorado Democrats have plunged into socialist lunacy if they truly intend to use voting rights for violent incarcerated felons as a cudgel against Gardner next year.
I challenge Sanders to come to Colorado and tell families here that felons convicted of aiding terrorist organizations like al Qaeda should have the right to vote or that sociopaths like the Aurora theater shooter should have been granted suffrage while behind bars. I can assure Democrats this will not be met with applause, but rather condemnation.
Sanders and Colorado Democrats have become so extreme in their race for higher office that they are willing to say and do anything to stand out. While Democrats continue to pander to their fringe socialist base, Coloradans will remember their refusal to stand up for common sense when we go to the ballot box in 2020.
Statement: Passage of SB 181 first wave of the Green New Deal
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO – Today the Colorado Senate passed SB 181 on a party line vote and sent the bill to Gov. Polis’ desk.
The legislation threatens billions in economic activity and thousands of Coloradans who rely on energy development to support their families. Despite Democrats’ claim that SB 181 would not result in an effective ban or moratorium, the legislation has already forced the postponement COGCC hearings this month.
Colorado GOP Chairman Ken Buck released the following statement in response to the passage of SB 181:
“SB 181 is simply the first wave of the Green New Deal and a transparent effort by Democrats to shut down Colorado’s energy industry. Despite voters overwhelmingly rejecting a defacto ban on energy development last November, Democrats rammed this legislation through without a single Republican vote in either chamber.
“Make no mistake, if Democrats get away with this attack on oil and gas they will undoubtedly target other vital industries that support tens of thousands of jobs for working Coloradans.
“Colorado Republicans will work with voters of both parties to hold Democrat legislators accountable for their blatant overreach.”
ICYMI, this is regulatory certainty under #SB181 @SteveFenberg: This bill won’t stop industry overnight@bouldercounty: April COGCC meetings are cancelled
@aurorasentinel: Suspend all oil drilling permits in Aurora@adamscountygov: Already did that 2 wks ago#copolitics #coleg pic.twitter.com/Pr8ZGPwk0m
— Vital for Colorado (@VitalforColo) April 3, 2019
With the oil and gas bill on its way to @GovofCO Polis, the COGCC has put off hearings scheduled for this month. A proposed drilling plan from Crestone Peak Resources for Boulder County was on the docket, but has been postponed. #KUNCNewscast pic.twitter.com/qnYs2JNxUx
— KUNC Colorado (@KUNC) April 3, 2019
That was fast. @bouldercounty says state regulators are putting a hold on the proposed Crestone oil and gas project based on the today’s passage of #SB181 “until the effects of those changes are understood and implemented.” #copolitics #coleg #9News
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) April 3, 2019
A gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.
WATCH @kcbecker on #SB181: “Because those local governments are going to push ‘em out of their—out of their communities…[3-second pause]…and they can’t under this bill. Just arbitrarily…”#copolitics #coleg pic.twitter.com/AUa7dDoKYr
— Vital for Colorado (@VitalforColo) March 29, 2019
Bulletin: SB 181 Vote On Apr 3rd – Contact Your Legislators
Democrats are poised to vote on crippling Wed. April 3 that could devastate our energy industry and crush Colorado’s economy.
However, the assault on America’s energy workers is not confined solely to Colorado Democrats in our state legislature.
Sen. Cory Gardner published a recent editorial explaining why SB 181 is really the first wave of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, right here in Colorado:
We cannot deny the devastating effects the entirety of the Green New Deal will have on our state. Unfortunately, the first wave of it has already crashed into Colorado. The state Legislature is poised to pass a bill that could decimate the oil and gas industry, kill thousands of jobs, erase billions in wages and annual economic impact. The tax revenue from oil and gas operations funds our schools, fire departments and other important local projects in our communities. The real-life impact this anti-jobs measure will have on tens of thousands of hardworking Colorado families must be taken seriously. And this ban on oil and gas development in Colorado would be Colorado’s first taste of the Green New Deal. If the radical left gets their way, other industries like agriculture and aerospace that support tens of thousands of jobs in our state could be next on the chopping block.
If we don’t speak out now, Democrats will pass SB 181 and kill thousands of Colorado jobs.
Contact your state Senator and Senate President Leroy Garcia (303) 866-4878 – tell them to oppose SB 181.