Afternoon headlines March 13, 2017

As the state Democratic party gathers itself for next year’s mid-term elections, party faithful representing both the progressive and establishment camps rallied behind former state Sen. Morgan Carroll as their new leader.

At state party elections on Saturday, Carroll easily dispatched her rival for party chair, Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck, by a vote of 401 to 38.

Carroll’s victory is seen by some as a strong step toward unifying a party split in two by last year’s presidential primary. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took the caucuses, winning the ongoing loyalty of Democrats who continue to fight for more progressive agenda.

“There’s very much a split in the party, but [Carroll] has the ability to bring people back together,” said Greeley City Councilwoman Rochelle Galindo, who was among several who nominated Carroll for party chair.

Carroll, who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, told The Colorado Independent that both political parties are at a turning point.

For Democrats in particular, she said, “everything we care about and everything we fight for is on the line and in profound jeopardy.”

Carroll succeeds former state party chair Rick Palacio, who stepped down after last November’s election.


On Friday, around 300 people, many from Denver’s American Indian community, gathered in Sunken Garden Park near West High School in solidarity with the Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March on Washington, D.C.

After a few words and prayers, the crowd marched from the park to the state Capitol, chanting “Mni Wiconi.”

– Water is Life” and “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil” accompanied by the singing and drumming.

The gathering grew to more than 500 people as speakers addressed the crowd.

“We need to wake up and we need to start standing, fighting every atrocity that is happening to Grandmother Earth, to our people, to the water,” said march organizer Molly Ryan-Kills Enemy. “It is my responsibility as a woman and as a mother to continue standing up and fighting for my children, my nieces and nephews, and my people.”

For scenes from the march, go to the Colorado independent for a slideshow by Denver photographer Daniel Sauvé.

Seven Western Slope Republican lawmakers have sent Gov. John Hickenlooper a message: No more water for the Front Range until it uses up what it already has.

The message, delivered through a February letter obtained by The Colorado Independent, is directed mostly at just one area of the state: Denver and the northern Front Range. In particular, lawmakers are worried about diversion of water from the Western Slope to satisfy the increasing demand for water as the Front Range population continues to grow.

The lawmakers also implored the governor to make sure any water projects that receive state funds match criteria outlined in the Colorado water plan.

The plan, adopted last November, seeks to head off the looming water shortage created by Colorado’s population boom. In 2050, the state’s population is expected to hit roughly 11 million, double what it is now. The water conservation board projects that demand will outstrip supply by about one million acre-feet of water per year, or enough water to satisfy four million families in Denver.

The plan focuses largely on finding ways to conserve and store more water.

The letter is a follow-up to one sent in November 2015, just before the water plan was finalized. That four-page document said the water plan “cannot place Front Range development interests over the autonomy, heritage and economy of Western Slope communities.” Nor, the letter goes on to say, can the plan protect agriculture in one part of the state at the expense of others.

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