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Colorado D.C. Roundup: Town Halls, North Korea And Health Care

Office of Sen. Michael Bennet
Sen. Michael Bennet speaks at a town hall held in Greeley on Aug. 8.

This week of recess marked another in which Colorado’s representatives and senators visited with constituents. Town halls, North Korea and health care dominated their time.

Town halls continue through the recess

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet met with constituents in Greeley on Monday, Aug. 7. It was his 15th town hall meeting since the beginning of the year. Bennet said he has heard a number of common themes.

“Well, you hear that people would like to see Democrats and Republicans work together on behalf of the American people and on behalf of the state of Colorado, that’s what you hear,” he said. “But I’ve loved these town hall meetings.”

Questions from the crowd included concerns about health care legislation and the Farm Bill.

Bennet held another town hall on Aug. 11 in Aspen.

Reps. Ken Buck and Jared Polis, respectively a Republican and a Democrat, both held town halls on Aug. 6. Polis has more town halls scheduled for the end of the month.

KUNC has been keeping a tally of town halls and other meetings. Check it out here.

North Korea prompts responses

As tensions increase with North Korea, Colorado’s delegation has reacted.

Doug Lamborn, the Republican representative for the 5th Congressional District in southern Colorado, appeared on Fox Business to encourage defense and diplomacy while not limiting potential options.

“We have to make it crystal clear to him and his military leadership that all options are on the table, No. 1,” Lamborn said, “and we will not allow their missile program to put nuclear weapons inside the continental United States -- it’s bad enough [with] Alaska and Hawaii.”

In a tweet, Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat, of Denver, was critical of President Trump’s rhetoric, calling it “reckless.”

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican and the chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific called on the Trump administration to “fully implement my sanctions legislation that is currently law,” referring to a law signed by President Obama in 2016.

Health care bus tour stops in Denver

Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined by the head of the Democratic National Committee as part of a nationwide bus tour promoting a united, bipartisan approach to health care.

During the tour’s stop in Denver, DNC Chair Tom Perez downplayed any disagreement within the Democratic party on approaches to health care.

“I don’t really see it as a divide,” Perez said. “We all believe healthcare should be a right for all and not a privilege for a few. We’re 90 percent of the way to universal health care. We got to get that last 10 percent.”

Speaking to the crowd, Hickenlooper said that “basic health care should be a right.” He encouraged Congress to make improvements to the Affordable Care Act instead of repealing it. He said that the best solution is a “trans-partisan” one.

Polis speaks to “dreamers”

Rep. Jared Polis spoke to a small gathering defending the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Polis said there are 17,000 DACA beneficiaries living in Colorado, and that they are a vital part of the economy.

“So many young people were brought to the country through no fault of their own,” Polis said. “These young, talented and exceptionally driven young people are an important part of Colorado’s future and an important part of America’s future.”

The event was held by FWD.us, an advocacy and lobbying group focused on technology and science education and immigration reform.

Jackie Fortier and Bente Birkeland contributed reporting to this story.

As CRNC’s digital operations manager, I make sure KUNC and The Colorado Sound are as awesome online as they are on your radio. I oversee digital projects and platforms for both stations, including web, apps and smart speakers.
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