ENDORSEMENT WATCH | Bernie Sanders, Al Gore back measure to restrict drilling


Fresh off last week’s visit to rally Colorado voters behind gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis and other Democratic candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has released his positions on a few of the state’s ballot questions, including support for an initiative that opponents warn could grind oil and gas production to a halt.

Sanders, who describes himself as a “democratic socialist” and is considering another run for president, gave the thumbs up to Proposition 112, which increases the setback for new drilling operations from 500 to 2,500 feet.

“Frankly, given the crisis we face with climate change, it is my view we should move toward a total ban on fracking,” Sanders said in a statement of support for Proposition 112. “At a minimum, it seems obvious that we must protect communities from the environmental damage that fracking causes.”

Former Vice President Al Gore tweeted his support for the measure, which has drawn record spending against it from the oil and gas industry.

“I urge Colorado voters to vote #YesOn112 to protect homes, schools, playgrounds and other vulnerable areas from fracking,” wrote Gore, who has been sounding the alarm about climate change for more than a decade. “As oil & gas spends millions to fight this, your citizen-led campaign can protect Coloradans and make climate justice history!”


While Polis financed — and later withdrew — a similar ballot measure in 2014, he’s one of several top state Democrats opposing Proposition 112 this year, though the Colorado Democratic Party has endorsed it.

Sanders also said he supports Amendment 73, which would hike taxes on high-earners and businesses to fund education, and opposes Amendment 74, which allows property owners to sue for damages if the government reduces any property’s value.

Here are some of the other Colorado candidate and ballot measure endorsements announced recently:

• Two of the state’s largest organizations representing business interests announced their opposition to Amendment 73 this week.

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Concern, a coalition of corporate executives, denounced the proposed $1.6 billion tax hike — the largest in state history — as a danger to the state’s economy if it passes.

“Amendment 73 would cement an extremely complicated measure into the Colorado Constitution with unforeseen consequences,” said Chuck Berry, the state chamber’s president, in a statement. He argued that it will discourage businesses from locating in Colorado, leading to fewer jobs.

“We would go from having among the lowest income tax rates in the nation to the eighth-highest, basically encouraging companies to re-locate jobs and headquarters to other states,” said Mike Kopp, president and CEO of Colorado Concern. “Those are disastrous consequences for something that doesn’t guarantee higher teacher pay, better student performance, or better college readiness.”

• Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Democrat Rochelle Galindo, who is running for the open state House District 50 seat in Weld County.

“Our democracy is in crisis, but I’m optimistic that through building a bench of progressive leaders who put their communities and values first, we will put ourselves back on the path to a fairer, more inclusive America,” Clinton said in a statement throwing her support behind 19 candidates running nationwide under the Run for Something banner. “That’s why this election could not be more critical to our collective future.”

Galindo is facing Republican Michael Thuener in the Weld County district.

• One Colorado, a statewide nonprofit advocating for LGBTQ residents, endorsed Democrat Phil Weiser, who is running against Republican George Brauchler for attorney general.

“We had the opportunity to sit down and speak with both Phil Weiser and George Brauchler, and while both are qualified, we as an organization believe that Phil Weiser is the candidate who will make protecting the civil rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans a top priority,” said Daniel Ramos, the group’s executive director, in a statement.

The 2019 election is coming soon. Won an endorsement or handed one out? Let us know at news@coloradopolitics.com.

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