Colorado News Roundup: Republican members say party rules violated (06.05.16)
June 5, 2016
Here's what's going on around Colorado:
GOP MEMBERS SAY COUNTY CHAIRWOMAN ALSO VIOLATED PARTY RULES
DELTA, Colorado — Colorado GOP Party Chairman Steve House plans to meet with Delta County Committee Chairwoman Linda Sorenson after party members complained she was taking sides in a party primary race, which is a violation of party rules.
The latest criticism comes after a photo that compared President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee appeared on her web page. Party officials said the photo was posted by hackers.
Party members say Sorenson has been urging people to vote for U.S. Senate candidate Daryl Glenn, even though six Republicans are competing for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in the June 28 Republican primaries.
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Under the rules, officials of state and local parties, including their leaders, are not allowed to endorse one primary candidate over another.
Sorenson could not be reached for comment because her phone was disconnected and her Facebook page was taken down, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.
Matt Soper, an active Republican in Delta County, said he was concerned when he saw a Facebook posting urging people to vote for Glenn.
"Because the party has rules prohibiting officers from endorsing candidates in contested primary races … I did talk to other members of the party to confirm whether the posting would constitute a breach of the party rules," said Soper, a former Orchard City council member who has managed numerous GOP political campaigns.
House has denounced the use of a racist meme, but he hasn't called for Sorenson's resignation.
"I'll meet with leadership there and elected officials, and we'll look at the situation for what it is," he said. "I do not believe she should have had that stuff on her Facebook page."
He also said the party is not racist.
"The Republican Party itself, we're anti-racism every day of the week," he said. "But if there are racial insensitivities out there, we need to bring them up, we need to talk about them, we need to make sure everyone is educated about it and then we need to go forward. Burying our heads in the sand or not talking about it is not going to help anybody. There's no room for racism in our party."
OBAMA OPPOSES PRIVATIZATION OF VA HEALTH CARE
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — President Barack Obama is opposing suggestions the government privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve health care veterans receive.
In an interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette, the president said his administration has made progress modernizing the VA and providing veterans with more timely health care following criticism over wait times. Privatizing the agency would delay that progress, he said.
The administration came under fire when it was disclosed that secret wait lists were uncovered at a VA health care system in Arizona amid reports that several veterans had died waiting for health care. Government investigations found significant system failures.
"The notion of dismantling the VA system would be a mistake," Obama told The Gazette. "If you look at, for example, VA health care, there have been challenges getting people into the system. Once they are in, they are extremely satisfied, and the quality of care is very high."
Obama said during his last term in office, he will continue to work on issues plaguing the Veterans Administration.
"It's a big ocean liner, and, on any given day, given how far-flung the agency is, we're still seeing problems crop up that we have to correct. I think the main message is that we've still got a lot of work to do. It's an all-hands-on-deck process."
He appointed a new VA secretary in 2014 after Eric Shinseki resigned. Robert McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, took his place.
"I think Secretary McDonald has done a terrific job," the president said. "Since there's only eight months left in my administration, he's got all the way until then to run through the tape."
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, agreed with Obama that total privatization would be a mistake, but he said veterans need more options, including private care.
To cope with the problems, Obama signed the Veterans Access to Care Act that requires the VA to contract with private providers when a clinic isn't within 40 miles of the veteran seeking care or the wait time for care is more than 30 days.
— The Associated Press