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Lawmakers unite in return of USS Pueblo

Colorado House and Senate lawmakers unanimously endorsed a joint resolution that makes Jan. 23 “USS Pueblo Day” and repeats the demand that North Korea return the Navy spy ship that they surrounded and seized on that day in 1968.

The resolution was passed in the House last Friday and in the Senate Monday.

In the House, the resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo; Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo; and 17 other representatives. In the Senate, it was co-sponsored by Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo; Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa; and four other senators.

Navarro presented  joint resolution on Friday.

The Pueblo was a small ship, packed with electronic eavesdropping equipment, that was sailing alone off the North Korean coast in January 1968, listening to North Korean radio signals. On Jan. 23, it was attacked by North Korean patrol boats, which fired on the ship for several hours while the crew tried to destroy the cryptographic equipment and  papers on board.

One crewman was killed and the other 81 captured and held for 11 months. They endured beatings and torture before finally being released in December of that year.

The General Assembly as well as Congress has repeated passed measures demanding that North Korea return the ship, which is now docked on the river front in Pyongyang and kept as a war trophy.

- See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/news/pueblo/4396758-120/pueblo-north-ship-resolution#sthash.rlV02XVs.dpuf

Dr. Hynes to Lead Morning Prayer at State Capitol

Dr. Hynes, a family medicine practitioner from Pueblo, Colorado will lead the Morning Prayer in the Colorado State House Chambers on Friday, February 5th. Hynes graduated from University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and has gone on to serve as a family medicine practitioner. His journey to reach this point has been full of obstacles, and he has certainly overcome some difficult challenges.

A little over a year ago, Hynes spoke to a group at the Majestic Baptist Church in Pueblo West where he disclosed the troubling details of his journey to overcome addiction. As a teenager, Hynes quickly became addicted to marijuana which led to an unfortunate series of events and ultimately caused him to lose nearly everything to his name.

After losing everything, he found himself ready to seek out help. It was through rehab that he found the Lord. Staying drug-free and finding strength in religion changed his life and has sparked the fire in his passion for God and in using his story as a warning and inspiration for others.

“Having Dr. Hynes lead the morning prayer at the Capitol this week will be very special as we think about his journey in finding faith in the Lord”, said State Representative Navarro-Ratzlaff.

For more information on Dr. Hynes: http://www.chieftain.com/news/3001160-120/hynes-addiction-marijuana-alive

Equal Pay (Letter to the Editor)


February 1, 2016

Dear Editor,

The pay equity battle strikes again at the Colorado State Capitol, but don’t be fooled by the outdated statistics often presented by those advocating for the unnecessary legislation. Pay equity is an issue of the past, and both men and women alike can see the extraordinary changes that now ensure equal pay for equal work. The current statistics surrounding this issue prove that the legislation that is already in place has been effective in creating a fair and equal playing field.

The Equal Pay Act was one of the first pieces of legislation that was put in place to guard against unequal pay and abolish wage disparity based on sex. The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act also serves as a guard against discrimination based on sex.

Pay equity is already a Colorado policy. Creating additional legislation is a waste of time that serves political posturing more than it does the strong and hardworking women of this great state. As a woman, a minority, and an elected official this legislation is certainly not on my agenda. Last year House Bill 15-1133, also known as Pay Equity Commission, was killed in the Senate State Affairs due to being “unnecessary and not having met its statutory mandate.” If any individual, man or woman, believes they are a victim of pay inequity they have every right to address this with their employer, and they have the right to take legal action if the issue cannot be resolved.

It is my sincere belief that we live in a world of opportunity in the greatest nation, and any man or woman can pursue their career goals and ambitions so long as they have the drive and perseverance to do so. It is because of this that I intend to focus my efforts on reducing the size and scope of government and a myriad of other issues that will have a positive impact on Colorado families. I urge your readers to contact their legislators, and ask them to do the same.

State Representative Clarice Navarro

Published in The Colorado Statesman

Navarro to promote USS Pueblo Day



State Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, will be presenting a joint resolutiontoday designating Jan. 23 as USS Pueblo Day.

The resolution reminds the public that North Korea seized the Navy spy ship on that day in 1968 and held the 81-man crew captive in cruel conditions for nearly a year.

Navarro is inviting veterans to be at the state Capitol to observe the House and Senate passing the measure.

The resolution also calls on North Korea to return the ship, which is now held on a river in Pyongyang and is displayed as a war trophy by North Koreans.

The ship was full of electronic eavesdropping equipment and sailing alone off the North Korean coast when it was seized by North Korean patrol boats. One crew member was killed in the attack and others wounded. The loss of the ship was regarded as one of the biggest setbacks to U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts in the nation’s history.

The crew was tortured and beaten but were finally released in December 1968.

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From The Denver Post

The population in Colorado is rapidly increasing, and the quality of our roads is significantly decreasing. It is more important than ever to find strategic ways to improve the quality of local streets, roads and state highways. Colorado’s Governor has suggested that we need to increase taxes in order to fund these large-scale and critical infrastructure projects. I can assure you that a lack of revenue is not the problem. Coloradans can’t afford an increase in taxes and yet we need to prepare and plan to for the volume of people that will continue to use our deteriorating roads.

In 2009, the Colorado State Legislature passed SB 09-108, Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act better known as (FASTER). The purpose of this bill was to increase revenue by implementing fines and late fees on motor vehicle registration. Sixty percent of the revenue generated from FASTER goes to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and is to be used to support construction and maintenance of transportation projects.

With such a large portion of the FASTER revenue going to CDOT, it is crucial that we take a serious look at what projects are being funded and how the money is being allocated. In August 2015, The Office of State Auditors (OSA) found that CDOT’s process for selecting projects to receive FASTER funding was not “thorough, integrated, or strategic.” It was also reported by OSA that projects receiving funding from FASTER may not have met legislative requirements. It certainly makes you wonder where our tax dollars and transportation fees are going. This is why I won’t be supportive of giving the Governor the proverbial “blank check”. 

According to the OSA findings, “CDOT could not confirm how an additional $6 million of FASTER revenue was allocated or spent,” and “CDOT did not maintain complete and accurate information on FASTER transit revenue and expenditures.” This isn’t the accountability that the taxpayer deserves.  I have a hard time swallowing the pleas for more money when the State isn’t taking care of what it already has. 

The OSA audit of CDOT sheds light on a major problem that has a lot of Coloradans feeling a sense of distrust when it comes to the Governor and the Colorado State Legislature pushing to raise taxes, and I don’t blame them one bit. Instead, the first step that must be taken before we consider raising taxes, is to carefully analyze the State’s allocation of existing revenue and ensure appropriate usage.

We also need to find logical and strategic ways of prioritizing projects. In September Governor Hickenlooper announced a four-year plan to increase bicycle infrastructure. This project will require over $100 million.  This effort is being pushed so that Colorado is “the best state for bicycling.” CDOT has agreed to spend 2.5 percent of the Department’s budget on programs for bicycles and pedestrians. For some reason I’m doubting that this is the priority of constituents living on county roads across this great state.

As Coloradans, we certainly value being outdoors and having places to walk and bike, however, we are in a time when we are watching our transportation infrastructure crumble. We need to look at what projects should be high priority, and what projects may need to be reconsidered as lower priority.  I simply can’t see how a $100,000,000 bicycle effort is the priority of those at a standstill on I-70 or I-25. Give me a break.

The risks of turning a blind eye to this, and not holding CDOT accountable for the misuse of FASTER revenue is that roads and bridges will continue to rapidly deteriorate, and one study suggests that traffic delays will increase by 158% which would make a 17 minute commute turn into at least a 44 minute commute. Improving transportation infrastructure is a high priority and raising taxes to accomplish this goal is simply the road most travelled. 

Before we board the speeding train to raise taxes and increase the size and scope of government I’d appreciate some accountability to those that are paying the bill, and that is the Colorado taxpayer.  

To view OSA Report referenced in this op-ed you may visit http://www.tornado.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/jbc/2015-16/trabrf.pdf

Rep Navarro On State of the State

There are some deep ideological differences between me and the Governor, and that was made perfectly clear today during his State of the State Address.  This is my fourth State of the State that I have heard since being elected, and the Governor talks a good game.  However, I’ve yet to see a strong effort on the part of the Governor to work with Republicans in the State Legislature, and I don’t believe this year will be any different.

My hopes remain high, as Colorado does need to address infrastructure and transportation, but how we get there is what is concerning.  Growing the size and scope of government is not what Colorado needs. 
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