Speaking to more than 100 people gathered for the Evergreen Tea Party meeting on Monday night, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo sharply criticized Democratic leadership at the state and federal levels.
“I think what the governor did was an absolute travesty,” said Gessler, responding to a question about Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to grant convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap a temporary reprieve from execution in May.
The governor opted to give Dunlap the reprieve rather than allowing the execution or granting clemency.
“I support the death penalty,” Gessler said. “We have a governor that is a jellyfish.”
“Colorado does not have leadership,” said Tancredo. “Leaders do not shirk from the responsibility for sentencing Nathan Dunlap to death, or rescinding the sentence.”
Both Gessler and Tancredo also voiced their opposition to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Gessler said that if he were governor of Colorado, he would stand up against Obamacare “with enthusiasm.”
“No president deserves impeachment more than this president because of what he has done to America,” said Tancredo, a former Republican congressman.
Tancredo, the grandson of an Italian immigrant, also spoke out against amnesty for illegal immigrants in this country.
“This would become an enormous problem for every state,” he said. “We will have millions of people coming across the border. If you open that door and there is massive immigration, what’s going to happen in the schools?”
Tancredo also said that low-income workers in Colorado would be hurt by a decline in wages caused by a larger immigrant workforce.
“It’s a drag on the economy,” he remarked.
“Immigration is fine; we can deal with it, as long as you will assimilate into America,” Tancredo said.
It is imperative that immigrants learn English, he added.
During his remarks, Gessler touted his efforts to ensure fair elections in the state.
“I’ve worked and worked for election integrity,” he said.
Gessler said staff members in his office have tried to eliminate from the voter rolls people who are not legally registered.
“What we found out is there are lots of non-citizens on the voter rolls,” he said. “Our voter rolls are better than they were before.”
One of the priorities of the Evergreen Tea Party is election integrity, along with a reduction in government spending and intervention in the lives of citizens.
Gessler said that, while serving as secretary of state, the fees his office charges have been dropped to “rock-bottom low.”
“We monitor ourselves and are accountable every minute of every day,” he said.
Keeping state regulations to a minimum is also a priority in his office, Gessler said.
When asked why he is considering running for governor, Gessler compared pursuing the position to asking for a raise for doing a great job.
“I think that I at least deserve a chance,” he said.
While addressing criticism he has received from Democratic opponents — who he said call him the “honey badger of politics” — Gessler said he welcomes the term.
“If I’m the honey badger, they’re the poisonous vipers, and they lose,” he said.
“I have learned politics and governance is a team sport,” Gessler remarked.
Tancredo also characterized himself as a controversial politician, especially while serving as a congressman in Washington.
“Republicans would probably like to get someone less controversial for the job,” he said.
Looking ahead to the 2014 elections, Ed Sutton, president of the Evergreen Tea Party, said it’s important for area groups to put forth a united effort.
“If we want to win in 2014, we have to work with other conservative groups,” Sutton said. “The greatest threat (to the opposition) is we become organized and work on common objectives.”
The Evergreen Tea Party is a nonpartisan organization with nonprofit 501(c) 4 status, according to information on its website. The group holds monthly meetings in Evergreen. For more information, visit www.evergreenteaparty.com.
Contact Sandy Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-350-1042.