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Everything you need to defeat Mark Udall in 2014

Weekly Clips for December 13, 2012 to December 27, 2012

Lisa Czeltadko and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)

Udall Decries ‘Senseless’ Connecticut School Shooting

December 14: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “This tragic and senseless shooting is deeply troubling and saddening. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families affected by this terrible tragedy. We in Colorado experienced a similar tragedy earlier this year. Just as we came together then to grieve and support one another, Colorado and our nation will again pull together to support our friends in Connecticut.”

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Udall, Tester Offer Legislation to Prepare for 2013 Wildfire Season

December 21: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “Colorado and the West experienced one of the most severe fire seasons on record this year. Although I continue to hope for heavy snow this winter and an end to the drought that has engulfed Colorado and the West, 2013 is estimated to be even more severe than this year,” Udall said. “We need to be prepared, and that is why Sen. Tester and I are joining together to allocate an additional $653 million for firefighting and fire prevention. Wildfire can devastate communities, both during the fires and long after with damaged watersheds and increased flooding risks. This is an emergency situation, and western states need the resources to fight back.”

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Udall Welcomes Benghazi Report, Encourages Improved Security and Continued International Engagement

December 19:  Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “The State Department Accountability Review Board report on the Sept. 11 events in Benghazi emphasizes the inadequacy of security at the U.S. consulate and ‘systemic failures’ within the State Department,” Udall said. “This is an important report, and it’s equally important that Secretary Clinton has embraced the report’s recommendations to improve our diplomatic security mission around the world. We must take the recommendations from this report and the tragic events in Benghazi into account, while also remembering that our ambassadors and State Department personnel cannot accomplish their vitally important work while hiding behind embassy walls. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues and the State Department to ensure that our brave diplomats and all U.S. personnel serving abroad remain safe and secure as they continue to engage with our partners around the world.”

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Udall Congratulates Durango, Denver, Commerce City Entities on Receiving $1 Million to Improve School Health Centers

December 19: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “The Affordable Care Act is helping thousands of Coloradans receive more accessible, affordable health care at every level,” Udall said. “These competitive grants will help improve school-based clinics in Denver, Durango and Commerce City, giving students more access to preventive and primary health care services. Keeping our children healthy from day one is an important way to ensure students are productive in the classroom and that we catch health problems early when they are most affordable and easiest to treat.”

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Udall Endorses ‘Comprehensive’ Plan to Curb Mass Shootings, Including Assault Weapons Ban

December 20: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “As a Coloradan who had school-age children during the Columbine shooting and grieved alongside the victims of the Aurora tragedy this past summer, I have been shaken to the core by last week’s mass shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school. Families across our state have been deeply affected in a profound way, and it is an emotional time for us as a country. It is also a time that we must come together and have a serious discussion about concrete steps we can take to help prevent mass gun violence from happening ever again.

“A number of my colleagues in Congress have proposed ideas already, including banning assault weapons. We all recognize that Colorado and our nation have a long and storied tradition of gun ownership for hunting, outdoor recreation and self-defense. However, I am not convinced that combat weapons are necessarily part of that heritage. There are legitimate questions about the effectiveness of a ban on military-grade weapons, but I believe that a multi-faceted approach, including a ban on such weapons, can be crafted that works for Colorado sportsmen, preserves our heritage, and can and will help save lives. But the details matter, and I intend to work with law enforcement, sportsmen and anyone else who agrees that we must respect the Second Amendment while also keeping our children out of harm’s way. We simply must do everything we can to ensure these military-grade weapons are never in the hands of those who would turn them against their community.

“I believe President Obama’s plan to create a wide ranging set of recommendations makes a lot of sense, because no single policy is going to be adequate in preventing gun tragedies in the future. We need comprehensive — not piecemeal — solutions that examine our culture’s glorification of violence, the effectiveness of our laws and our ability to enforce those laws. And as a baseline, we should all agree that we must do more to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensure responsible gun ownership consistent with the Second Amendment. For instance, we can follow Colorado’s example and require background checks for all gun purchases; improve the background check system by reporting state mental health records more completely; and crack down on illegal actions such as straw purchases.

“I also believe Gov. Hickenlooper is taking the right approach by seeking to do more to improve background checks and bolster mental health services. The Governor’s proposal is a good example of the type of common-sense policies that we need to curb future gun violence, and I plan on doing everything I can to support him in that effort.”

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Udall Leads Bipartisan Effort to Urge President to Fight for U.S. Potato Growers’ Access to Mexican Markets

December 21: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trading partner, and agriculture is a significant element of this strong and growing economic relationship,” the senators wrote in the letter. “We hope that Mexico’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations and their commitment to expanded trade as a part of other trade agreements are true demonstrations of their willingness to work cooperatively to resolve longstanding U.S.-Mexico trade issues, including access for fresh U.S. potatoes.”

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Udall’s Biofuels, Uranium Mines Provisions Part of Final Defense Authorization Bill

December 21: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: “The passage today of the National Defense Authorization Act is welcome news for the tens of thousands of military personnel and families stationed in Colorado.  It provides the funding, equipment and policy improvements that will support our service members as they safeguard our national security,” Udall said.  “The House and the Senate worked together to produce a strong bill that keeps us on track to implement a smarter national security that advances our energy security and protects Colorado’s military community.”

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One Step Closer to Protecting Colorado Water, Remediating Our Mining Legacy

December 19: Blog: U.S. Senator Mark Udall: Our great state – and much of Colorado’s history – began with a mining boom.  However, this heritage, literally the state’s foundation, left behind 7,000 abandoned mine sites and the toxic runoff they often create.  These sites, the legacy of past decades of irresponsible mining, today threaten the foundation of much of our outdoor economy and what makes our state great: our land and water.

Last week, with your invaluable support, I secured a major victory for Colorado and the West when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined me in unveiling a new policy that unleashes the power of private groups and individuals, so-called Good Samaritans, to help clean mines and protect our precious water.  This new policy gives Good Samaritans additional assurances they need to help us clean up these mine sites and protect our precious waterways from toxic mine runoff.

I have visited multiple abandoned mine sites in places like Creede and San Juan County, and seen firsthand the threats abandoned mines pose to nearby communities and the families who live there. In addition to the physical hazards of dilapidated structures and open mine shafts, the toxic soup of heavy metals, like arsenic, lead and mercury, coming from some of these sites flows into our watersheds, impairing drinking water and killing aquatic and plant life for miles downstream.

Until last week, Good Samaritans couldn’t help remediate many of these mine sites because of the serious legal liability they would face, which forced many of them to stand by and watch their streams and communities suffer due to this pollution.

Because I kept pushing, Good Samaritans now can get to work with a commitment from EPA that helps lift such liability and soothes their legal worries.

This new policy will help groups like Trout Unlimited, the Animas River Stakeholders Group and the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee protect our streams, waterways and drinking supplies, and the quality of life our families enjoy in Colorado.

There is still more work to be done, but I am confident that we will continue to make progress. To the right is a visual history of my work on this issue.

Warm regards,

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Colorado River Study Shows Need for Innovative Approach

Pagosa Daily Post: December 14: This week, Colorado’s US Senator Mark Udall welcomed the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Supply and Demand Study, saying it shows the need for Colorado and the West to explore innovative ways to better manage water to meet the rising demand throughout the West.

“From our earliest days through today, the Colorado River has run through our state and the lives of countless Westerners,” Udall said. “This report underlines that we must find creative and innovative ways to meet growing residential, agricultural and industrial demands for water while respecting the Law of the River. The report lays out a variety of options to address projected water shortfalls in the basin — shortfalls driven, in part, by climate change — and I commend the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven basin states for their work. I look forward to working with the states, the administration, Congress and others to determine our next steps.”

Udall has been a strong advocate for upholding and protecting Colorado’s interstate water compacts and federal decrees. Udall, who serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also has been a vocal supporter of maintaining federal funding for programs like the Emergency Watershed Protection program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which are used to improve Colorado’s watersheds and waterways.

Earlier this month, Udall praised a joint agreement between the United States and Mexico, in cooperation with the seven Colorado River Basin states, to better manage the Colorado River, meeting growing demand along the waterway and promoting environmental restoration.

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Email letters, Dec. 14, 2012

Grand Junction Sentinel: December 14: Fiscal cliff a chance to reach across aisle

The fiscal cliff presents an opportunity for members of Congress to reach across the partisan divide and create a comprehensive, balanced deficit-reduction plan – an approach that doesn’t force the middle class to bear the brunt of the tough choices and helps strengthen our economy and job-growth again.

In order to reach this budget deal, I agree with my senator Mark Udall that we all need to set aside our rigid pledges, ultimatums and sacred cows and get to work. The Senate passed the bill in July 2012 but the House of Representatives is holding it hostage through members that will not compromise. Compromise is not a dirty word. Let’s get our country back in the black.

It is possible to find sensible spending cuts, responsibly reform programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and raise new revenues. The Simpson-Bowles model is a starting point for a deficit-reduction plan. Although the Simpson-Bowles plan is not perfect, this bipartisan approach could make the necessary reductions in our federal deficit while staving off harsh, automatic sequestration cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending.

If your elected representative Scott Tipton in District 3 is one of the representatives holding up this deficit reduction plan, please contact his office and request that he vote to bring the measure to the floor and vote for its passage.

We all need to work together, including Tipton.

NANCY TERRILL
Grand Junction

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Udall again hugging trees

Denver Post: Sen. Mark Udall wants more money to fight fires and mitigate afterward. The Democrat from Colorado has teamed up with Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, to introduce an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriation for Disaster Assistance that would add $653 million to the agency’s budget.

Given the continuing drought, fires in the west, including Colorado, are only going to get worse as time goes by.

Udall already paired with Colorado’s other Democratic senator, Michael Bennet, in October to push for a study of the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires in Colorado last summer. Both claimed hundreds of homes. We reported on that letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, which is dated three days after we raised questions to both senators about whether they would seek some kind of investigation,here.

Now, Udall is seeking additional funding to be used for pre-positioning ground crews, hot shots, and air support in places where wildfire risk is high, Udall and Tester say in a press release, which also states:

The funds also would be available for the acquisition of additional large air tankers and the removal of hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface, the fire-prone areas between cities and the backcountry.

The United States faced the third worst wildfire season in the nation’s history, with more than 9.2 million acres burned, including record-setting blazes in Colorado and other parts of the West. The federal government, however, will enter the 2013 fire season with only eight large air tankers compared to 44 in 2000.

The federal fire-management budget also has failed to keep pace with the cost of actually fighting wildfires, forcing the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies to dip into accounts set aside for other purposes, such as watershed restoration and rangeland management.

Udall and Tester’s proposed amendment to the Supplemental Appropriation for Disaster Assistance restores $653 million to the Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Management Account, which funds wildland fire preparedness, suppression, hazardous fuels reduction, fire research and development, and state fire assistance. The amendment would increase the budget request for the Wildland Fire Management fund to the projected median cost of the fire season, $1.584 billion.

Read the entire press release here.

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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy Secretary Chu, Sen. Mark Udall to make case for wind credit

The Hill: E2 Wire: December 18: State of Play: The battle over renewal of tax credits for wind energy projects is reaching a critical phase as advocates work in public and behind the scenes to prevent the incentive from lapsing.

On the public side, look for Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to make the case for the production tax credit, which expires Dec. 31, at a joint event Wednesday.

Chu and Udall will hold a webcast chat Wednesday afternoon about wind power’s future and take questions from in-person and social-media audiences.

“During the event, Secretary Chu and Sen. Udall will discuss the progress of wind energy and the importance of robust policy support to ensure continued American leadership in the sector,” the Energy Department said in an advisory about the 4 p.m. event.

Meanwhile, Udall and other wind advocates are trying to find a place for the credit in the year-end deal-making to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

“There are a lot of quiet conversations,” Udall told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said “the situation is very fluid.”

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Time for Bennet, Udall to share their stances on gun violence plans

Denver Post: Idea Log: December 19: Curtis Hubbard: As Congress readies for its long overdue conversation on gun violence, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators are unwilling to share their views on the issue.

Earlier this week, I asked Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall if they “generally agree,” “generally disagree” or are “uncertain” about a number of policies that have been talked about before and after the horrific shootings in Aurora and in Newtown, Conn.

Among them: banning assault weapons, closing the “gun show loophole,” requiring background checks for all gun transactions; banning the sale of high-capacity magazines; establishing a commission to examine “violence and the entertainment culture” and enhancing background checks to better screen for mental illness or criminal history.

Their responses lead you to wonder if either is willing to finally buck the gun lobby.

“The time has come for the country to have a real discussion about finding ways to stop these types of senseless shooting,” Bennet said in an e-mailed statement.

And his views on the issues at the forefront of that discussion?

No comment.

“As a nation, we must have an honest and open dialogue about how to prevent these tragedies in the future. We must not fear the politics of this frank dialogue,” Udall said in a release.

His call for “all reasonable ideas to be on the table” raises the question of what he thinks is reasonable?

“Sen. Udall hasn’t taken a position on these issues,” a spokesman said of my query. “He’s still considering these ideas and how best to move forward.”

That’s right, in a political career that has spanned shootings at Columbine and now Sandy Hook, Udall is still considering the issues.

So much for not fearing the politics of the discussion.

Perhaps it’s a statement on the perils of the gun debate for Democrats elected statewide in Colorado that Udall and Bennet apparently feel that saying “it’s time we talk” suffices for leaderhsip.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Gov. John Hickenlooper say it’s time for a debate, it matters. They are, after all, in positions where they can keep legislation from being debated or becoming law.

Bennet and Udall, both first-term senators, hold no such sway.

And as much they might want to be moderators or referees, gun control has become an issue where officials owe it to their constituents to take a stand.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, has received that message.

“It’s time to do more than have a conversation about guns,” he said in astatement released Tuesday announcing he’d be pushing for a ban on assault weapons. “It is Congress’ responsibility to lead and it’s time for me to take action.”

Rep. Diana DeGette — a Democrat from the safe harbor of liberal Denver — has for years been pushing for legislation to ban high-capacity magazines. She introduced it again last year before the shootings in Aurora and hopes now to find bipartisan support for the measure.

“It’s always a hard thing to push through,” she told The Post’s Allison Sherry, “but I think you can be a supporter of the Second Amendment and still realize there are limits to which someone should be able to go. Having reasonable gun control is not going to stop someone from trying to do something like this, but it will slow them down and stop the terrible carnage we saw both in Aurora and in this school.”

In the aftermath of too many violent mass shootings, unwillingness from Bennet and Udall to take even general stands on guns smacks of being more concerned about their political fortunes than in the fortunes of the people who have suffered as a result of laws that are too lax.

Their silence so far this week reminds me of 2009. Just days after theirridiculous votes in favor of allowing concealed weapons in national parks, the pair were singled out for what appeared to be expedient “yes” votes on a failed effort to force states to honor concealed weapons permits issued by other states — even if issuing states’ permitting procedures were weak.

At the time, both Udall and Bennet denied that they were willing to, as the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported, “vote ‘no’ if necessary,” though his account was supported by others who witnessed the day’s proceedings.

Are Bennet and Udall beholden to the gun lobby, or willing to stand up to it?

They can answer that question now by sharing their positions in order to avoid any confusion on the issue. Or they can continue to see where the herd is headed and leave us guessing as to their motives.

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Udall comes out in favor of reinstating assault weapons ban

KWGN: December 20:  In his first interview since last week’s deadly schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn., Colorado Sen. Mark Udall told FOX31 Denver that he supports gun control legislation, including the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons and a separate ban on high-capacity magazines.

“It’s just not acceptable to do nothing in the face of these periodic massacres,” Udall said, calling for a “comprehensive approach” that also includes focusing on mental health.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that military style weapons really don’t have any place in our society. We ought to reinstate the assault weapons ban that served us well for 10 years from 1994 to 2004.”

Udall, who released a broad statement last weekend issuing support for a national conversation about gun laws and mental health, but hadn’t answered questions about or taken a position on the specific proposals being advocated this week by President Obama and several Democratic lawmakers.

“I’ve been listening to Coloradans over the last week, I’ve been studying the laws that are in place. As I considered what happened in Aurora this summer and now Connecticut and the mass shootings in between, it just seems to me that guns that belong on the battlefield and are used to kill as many people as possible, that we ought to make sure they don’t get in the hands of people who want to commit these heinous crimes.

“I wanted to believe that the existing laws we have would be enough to prevent these tragedies, but experience tells us otherwise.”

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Udall rejects GOP idea to raise revenues by selling public lands

Craig Daily Press: Joe Moylan: December 27: In an effort to avoid a fiscal cliff Congressional Republicans earlier this month floated an idea to raise revenues by selling public lands.

Reps. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Stevan Pearce, R-N.M., first presented the idea in November through a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Because the western United States is home to the country’s largest expanses of public lands Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., rejected the idea, saying a sell off of public lands would be imprudent and detrimental to western economies.

“Colorado is home to some of the best open spaces in the West,” Udall said in a news release. “In fact, many Colorado businesses and families have moved here because of our high quality of life and spectacular public lands.

“Selling off our parks, forests, wilderness and other public lands — in Colorado and throughout the West — would not only be shortsighted, but it also would undermine a critical component of our thriving outdoor economy. Our public lands are, in many ways, our most renewable and reliable economic driver.”

According to a report by Montana-based think tank Headwaters Economics, Colorado’s public lands give private companies located in the state a competitive advantage in attracting talent and growing and creating jobs, the news release states.

Colorado’s economy created 228,893 new jobs between 2000 and 2010, according to a June Headwaters Economics report.

Much of that growth was contributed to Colorado’s public lands and high quality of life, the release states.

“We need to leave every option on the table when it comes to confronting the fiscal cliff, but we also cannot abandon the strategic investments and job creating resources we already have in place,” Udall said in the release.

Udall serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, and chairs the subcommittee on National Parks.

He has pledged to oppose the sale of public lands as part of any budget deal.

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