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Eye on the 5th

By Daniel Smith

Last month, Congress and the country were shaken by shootings in Alexandria, Virginia, at a Republican representative practice for the annual baseball game between Republicans and Democrats.

It resulted in discussions about hate rhetoric that dominates so much political speech and how it may provoke some individuals to violence.

Fifth Dist. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s communications director Jarred Rego was quick to provide this comment from him shortly after the shooting: “We are all praying for the Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise, staffers, Capitol Police officers, and family members impacted by this horrific attack,” he said.

Later, Lamborn joined the chorus from many congressional members, reflecting on the impact of decisive partisan hate speech: “I want to make an appeal to the community at large, to have more civility and more respect for each other. We all can do a better job of showing respect and compassion for one another. Let’s lay aside any harmful or negative rhetoric toward other people,” he said.

But not surprisingly, he also voiced support for Second Amendment rights zealots and referred to recent legislative efforts to expand concealed-carry: “I’m going to keep protecting the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is what allows every person to defend themselves.”

“In a case like this, policemen wearing bulletproof vests were right there on the scene, but that’s the exception, that’s not the rule. Americans should have the ability, if they so choose, to be able to have concealed-carry permits and take advantage of the Second Amendment to protect themselves in a possible horrific situation like this in the future,” he added.

[InContentAdTwo] The shootings momentarily changed the focus away from issues like a stalled health care bill being cobbled together in virtual secrecy, and recent House actions like passing the so-called CHOICE Act that rolls back hard-won financial protections for consumers. The “spin” on the measure by the GOP was reflected in this Lamborn comment:

“Today, the House voted to end the era of bailouts and too-big-to-fail. The Financial CHOICE Act is a big win for the American people. This bill brings more accountability and reliability to our financial system, allows for more choice for consumers, helps bring small businesses greater certainty and levels the playing field to help them grow and create jobs, and will help increase transparency at the Federal Reserve. I was pleased to support this critical legislation and I urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill so that it can have a positive impact on job growth and the economy,” he added.

More accurately, there’s a lot of opposition to this measure and opponents, including Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, described it as a right-wing capitulation to the financial industry that will take away some of the hard-won Dodd-Frank and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations since the financial crisis in 2008 – a real wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The North American Securities Administrators Association said the proposed Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, if enacted in its current form, “would dramatically change regulatory policies in the wrong direction,” weaken vital reforms and protections put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act in response to the financial crisis, and expose investors and the securities markets to significant, unnecessary and new risks.

Lamborn, as noted previously, faces a primary challenge from Republican State Senator Owen Hill, of Colorado Springs; and now a Progressive Party candidate has announced she will challenge Lamborn in November, and has formally filed as a Democrat with the Federal Election Commission.

Community activist Betty Field of Colorado Springs has held meet-and-greets with voters since announcing her intention to run.

Her theme is “Betty Field Listens.”

Her website states: “Betty believes politicians are not celebrities; They are public servants. They need to understand what concerns the average constituent has and represent them accordingly.” 

Indications are at least one other Democrat is also considering a challenge to Lamborn in the Republican-dominated district.