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click to enlarge Rep. Dave Schultheis believes the nurse shortage is "a backlash to the feminist movement."
  • Rep. Dave Schultheis believes the nurse shortage is "a backlash to the feminist movement."

Just like our elected leaders do up in Denver every morning before they make and maim the laws that affect all of us, let us pray.

Oh Great Creator, we thank ye for your bounties, particularly those that feed Public Eye with juicy tidbits every week. We offer thanks especially for County Commissioner Chairman Tom Huffman, who is battling the evil forces of socialized medicine.

We are grateful for County Commissioner Ed Jones, who speaketh the truth when he informs radio listeners along the Front Range that in El Paso County, Republicans will only let Democrats pay taxes and buy stuff. We rejoice in unbefittingly-named Republican Tim Pleasant, inspired to run against Jones this year for the state Senate. We are humbled by your choice of Democrat Tony Marino, whose patience will be tried in coming months as he runs against both of them. Lord, please do not again make this gentle man your sacrificial lamb.

It is true that what You have giveth, You have taketh away. Huffman's predecessor, Betty Beedy -- she of philanderers and sluts and single motherhood -- is gone. Former state Senator MaryAnne Tebedo -- who provided us with awesome oratory detailing her vision of black culture and teenage pregnancy -- is gone. We pray for Tebedo as she seeks enough support at next week's Republican County Assembly and salute her challenger, dirt-bike dilettante Jim Bensberg, as he attempts to schmooze his way into power.

And what You have taketh away, You have readily replenished. It is thus, with profound hope, that we exult the dawn of Wednesday, May 8, the day marking the end of Colorado's 120-day legislative session, and the last day that your humble, screwdriver-wielding servant Doug Dean presides as Colorado's Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In the days following, You send El Paso County's 13-member delegation back home to tend to their flocks, freeing us from telephone calls and e-mails detailing a host of embarrassments that a couple of our more zealous public servants routinely impose on the people of Colorado.


OK. Just like they do up in Denver, now let's get down to business.

In recent weeks, the Democratic-controlled state Senate approved two key pieces of legislation and sent them over to the Republican-led House of Representatives for consideration. One would have mandated affordable prescription drug costs for more than a half-million uninsured and elderly Coloradans. The other was designed to help alleviate a near-crisis shortage of nurses in the state by mandating improved working conditions for health-care workers.

Thanks in great part to powerful pharmaceutical and business lobbyists, the two bills were killed by the Republican majority composing the House Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions (HEWI) committee. And two of its members, Colorado Springs Reps. Mark Cloer and Dave Schultheis, actively participated in the death of both.

Now, at risk of being accused of partisan criticism of an all-Republican legislative delegation, it should be noted with much praise that Colorado Springs Republican Sen. Mary Ellen Epps supported the affordable prescription drug bill when it was approved by the Senate.

But by the time the proposal got to the House of Representatives, upwards of 10 drug-industry lobbyists -- who don't shine to the concept of affordable prescription drugs -- were swarming around, filling the politician's ear with venomous opposition.

Jeannette Galanis, who testified in favor of cheaper prescription drug prices, noted that one of those drug company lobbyists actually ordered up pizza to be served to the committee -- as they were considering the bill!

Only two politicians gobbled on what Galanis identified as Blackjacks-brand pies while sending the prescription drug proposal off to the landfill. And who chowed down? Schultheis and Cloer. (Bad form, boys. You are supposed to maintain at least an appearance of propriety during official deliberations.)

In a subsequent mass e-mail, Galanis' group, the Denver-based Colorado Progressive Coalition, distinguished the other lawmakers who didn't inhale: "Thanks for not eating the pizza!"

During the slaughter of the other proposal, which would have improved working conditions for nurses across Colorado, Schultheis weighed in on his opinion of why the nation faces a nursing-shortage crisis.

Whitney Self, the political director for SEIU Local 105, which represents health care workers, reports that Schultheis dropped more than a few jaws in the room when he opined that Colorado's nursing shortage is simply "a backlash to the feminist movement."

"[Schultheis] used the word 'girls' a lot, saying that instead of being doctors and lawyers, girls should be encouraged to be nurses," Self said.

Lord, help us, for we elected him.

-- degette@csindy.com


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