Colorado Democratic lawmaker says GOP wants "to kill a lot of us"
Standing behind a sign that read "Real Results," Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic legislative leaders on Tuesday touted the just-finished lawmaking term as "transformative."
Reality check: The 120-day term is marked as much by the Democratic majority's failures as it is the successes — and it ended in complete chaos with a GOP walkout, Democratic infighting and the failure of major legislation on housing.
State of play: Just hours before adjournment, the long-simmering tensions among Democrats exploded into the public view.
What they're saying: State Rep. Stephanie Vigil, a Colorado Springs Democrat and a member of the LGBTQ caucus, said she couldn't work with some Republican lawmakers because of their political and religious views on gender and race.
- "You're dealing with very, very, very bad men," she told her colleagues. "Bad men — violent men — people who want to kill a lot of us. They do. I know that they do."
- Other Democrats echoed the sentiment, saying they were subject to threats and hateful language this session.
Between the lines: The comment came during a private meeting among Democratic lawmakers late Monday observed by Axios Denver. Instead of easing stress as intended, the conversation became a blame-game in which progressive members blasted the governor, their own leaders and moderate colleagues for impeding major policy changes intended to help vulnerable populations.
- House Speaker Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon) came under direct fire for encouraging bipartisanship and coddling Republican lawmakers, even as some used insulting language and sought to obstruct lawmaking.
Of note: In an interview yesterday the next day, McCluskie acknowledged "challenging dynamics within the House this year."
- She didn't respond directly to Vigil's comment, but told Axios Denver that the Republican "rhetoric has been hostile" this session with Democrats feeling personally attacked by the GOP.
The other side: Republican House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Wellington) told Axios Denver that Vigil's comment was "unprofessional" and unwarranted, adding that they also received threats from the public and Democrats needed "to have some thick skin."
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