Colorado Flag

Representing Colorado and Our Clean Energy Future

In Colorado, we have our own way of doing things. We are innovative, collaborative, and we care deeply about our land, water, and air. With regard to climate change, we are leaders in protecting our planet for future generations. Guided by Governor John Hickenlooper and the hard work from leaders here in Colorado, we developed the framework that the Obama Administration adopted for regulating methane emissions from oil and gas development.

Recently, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt started a process to scrap this federal framework, jeopardizing the quality of our land, air, and water—because emissions from other states affect us here in Colorado. In response, a number of State Attorneys General have stepped up to challenge Pruitt’s actions. Our current Colorado Attorney General is not one of them. Because of her lack of leadership on this issue, Governor Hickenlooper filed yesterday--using private lawyers because Attorney General Coffman refused to represent our state--a motion to join this lawsuit.  Because we need our Attorney General to protect our land, air, and water and to work with national and state leaders on this imperative, I am running to be our State’s next Attorney General.  

A Colorado Success Story

The Colorado rules for methane emissions in oil and gas development offer a case study in innovative and principled leadership. Here’s how Newsweek described the Colorado rules:

In 2014, Colorado became the first state to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, with the goal of shrinking its carbon footprint and improving local air quality. While a couple industry trade groups fought the rules, some producers, including Encana, Devon Energy and Anadarko, supported the measures. They even helped write the rules with the state and the Environmental Defense Fund. A couple years in, even the trade groups agree that the rules are reasonable and effective. This is about as close as the environmental regulatory world ever gets to kumbaya.

These rules were rightly celebrated, and they provided the template for the EPA’s national rules. They’ve also led to tremendous results. As Newsweek reported, methane leakage has dropped by 75 percent since they were adopted and many producers (seven out of 10) have concluded that the benefits of the rule outweighed the costs (because recaptured methane can be sold).

Why Colorado Benefits from the EPA Rules

Colorado benefits if the EPA rules stay in place for two reasons. First, because pollution travels across state lines, and methane becomes well-mixed in the atmosphere, Colorado cannot protect its land, air, and water by acting alone. If other states don’t follow these rules, Coloradans will suffer the consequences. Indeed, in Colorado’s filing to join the lawsuit brought by other State Attorneys General, it explained that ⅔ of all pollution in the state comes from sources outside our state.  Second, Colorado companies benefit from the EPA rules because they level the playing field with out-of-state businesses. Without the EPA rules in place, Colorado companies face a disadvantage by competing with those who don’t have to comply with rules as effective as ours.

Even though the national EPA rules protect Coloradans and help Colorado companies, our Attorney General challenged them in court (over Governor Hickenlooper’s fervent objection) when President Obama spearheaded these rules. The rules survived that lawsuit, but they are now threatened by EPA Administrator Pruitt, who is looking for ways to undo them. He recently waived the requirement—without any explanation—that companies come into compliance with regulations governing new oil and gas operations by June 3, 2017.  Ignoring the powerful rationale for keeping them in place, Pruitt has proposed a two-year suspension on the rules to allow the EPA time to reconsider them.  In instituting the suspension, the EPA itself acknowledged that the risk posed “by this action may have a disproportionate effect on children.”

Environmental groups and a number of State Attorneys General are challenging EPA Administrator Pruitt’s actions in delaying the rules as illegal and Governor Hickenlooper has hired private counsel to join this lawsuit. Given Colorado’s interest in defending these rules, our Attorney General should lead this effort rather than force our Governor to hire private counsel at additional cost to the State. Cynthia Coffman, however, in line with her other decisions that undermine our Governor’s collaborative and innovative leadership, has refused to join the State Attorneys General who are challenging Pruitt’s actions and has refused to work with our Governor to represent Colorado’s interests.

What You Can Do

In November 2018, you will have the opportunity to elect an Attorney General who puts Colorado’s interests first. Please join my campaign for attorney general to elect a leader who is committed to protecting our land, air, and water.


Phil Weiser at Pride Fest

My Lessons From the Notorious RBG: The Fight for Tolerance and LGBTQ Rights

Last Sunday, I marched with a group of volunteers at Denver’s PrideFest Parade. It was an inspiring show of support for equality.

The battle for equality and social justice is a fundamental part of the American experience.  It’s also the path of the law in our country. During my time working for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), I had the privilege of witnessing that path firsthand.  And I continue to be inspired by her example.

Pride and the Legacy of RBG’s Career

During my clerkship with RBG, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions in this country’s longstanding battle for equality for all: Romer v. Evans and U.S. v. Virginia. In Romer, the Court declared illegal Colorado’s anti-homosexual ballot measure (Amendment 2) that barred localities from protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.  Significantly, the Romer case set the stage for later rulings on marriage equality and expanded civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.   In U.S. v. Virginia, RBG authored the opinion invalidating the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) ban on admitting women. For Justice Ginsburg, the VMI case represented a significant accomplishment in her life’s work—the fight for equal treatment of men and women.

As our nation continues to fight for equality and acceptance for all citizens, RBG’s lifelong battle for equality inspires me. She also remains a very important mentor. RBG’s leadership embodies a core message: we cannot get complacent as we fight for equality, including the rights of LGBTQ individuals and women. Now, more than ever, we need activated citizens and leaders to protect and build on decisions like Romer v. Evans. What I saw at PrideFest is that Colorado is up for the challenge.

RBG’s Personal Life: Civil Rights and Civility

When I reflect on our society’s current challenges, PrideFest’s focus on tolerance reminds me of an example from RBG’s personal life: her friendship with Justice Scalia. Their relationship was a rare “example of warmth and professionalism across traditional divides,” as the author of the Notorious RBG put it. To be sure, RBG and Scalia often disagreed, including on the US v. Virginia case, where Justice Scalia was the sole dissenter. In that case, RBG reported, Scalia “absolutely ruined my weekend, but my opinion is ever so much better because of his stinging dissent.”

RBG’s willingness to learn from an opposing viewpoint is a quality that is in short supply today. As one commentator remarked recently, “We have often dehumanized the leaders who result from our free choices — men and women, on the whole, of public spirit, with a talent for friendship and persuasion.” This dehumanization runs against the standard set by Justice Ginsburg; even when she disagreed with Justice Scalia, she still believed that she could learn from him.

RBG’s friendship with Scalia echoes what our former Governor Roy Romer often preached: “all truth is partial.” Romer told me that he lived his political career according to this maxim. When he disagreed with someone he asked, “What part of the truth are they seeing that I am not?” He was hesitant to judge and demonize others, viewing disagreements as a chance to learn and sharpen his thinking.

During a time when our society is growing more tolerant in general, it is a painful irony that acceptance for those who hold different political views is at an all-time low, with more people than ever viewing those who hold different viewpoints as evil. Indeed, one commentator has concluded that animosity based on party identity is one of the few socially acceptable forms of discrimination.

The current level of polarization and the demonization of other points of view is a threat to our country’s—and Colorado’s—future. When Roy Romer spoke to Coloradans in the wake of the passage of the discriminatory Amendment 2, he called on Coloradans to “learn together and appreciate our diversity as a people.” Those words still ring true today. This call—and RBG’s lifelong battle for equality—inspire me to be an Attorney General for Colorado who fights for a more inclusive society and protect the civil rights of all Coloradans.


Phil Weiser

Video: Why I am Running for Colorado Attorney General

Watch the video, below:

Phil Weiser, candidate for Colorado Attorney General, expresses his personal thoughts on why he is running for attorney general for the state of Colorado.

Transcription:

Hi, I'm Phil Weiser and I'm running for Attorney General in Colorado because I love our great state and I love this country.

Last November, when Donald Trump became our president, all of us had to ask what would we do to protect the rule of law, our Constitutional freedoms, and our way of life. The founders recognized that our country was going to be built on activated citizens and responsible leaders. If we don't stand up in this moment and fight for the rights that we believe in, we’re going to look back and we’re going to regret not having protected what is dear to us.

I grew up as the first member of my family to be an American citizen from birth. My mom was born in a concentration camp at the end of World War II, and she came to this country at age six appreciating our freedoms, appreciating the opportunity, and committed to enabling me and my brother to live the American Dream. And so, I've been able to live a life of purpose, of meaning, where I was able to do what was most important in my life – and that was public service. That's why I worked for President Obama at the White House, that's why I worked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court.

In these efforts, it's been of paramount importance to me to protect our constitutional freedoms, to protect the rule of law. Our freedom of religion, our freedom of press, the due process of law - we cannot allowed these to be trampled on. Right now, Congress is not providing a check on the executive branch, but state Attorney Generals are. We have our sovereign rights here in Colorado and we need an Attorney General who stands up for them and stands up for us. We also need to fight for the American Dream. A lot of Americans feel that opportunities are getting out of their reach.

As consumers, as citizens, and as workers, I want to do everything that I can to fight for all Coloradans because we need to work together as a state. That's what we do best here in Colorado. And finally - our land, water and air – they are at risk. We cannot allow the threat of climate change to go unchecked. We cannot allow polluters to threaten our water, our air, and our land. We need leadership from the Attorney General's office. I'm running to provide that leadership because this is a challenging time and if we don't get the leaders we deserve, we’re going to look back and we’re going to regret not doing more. So please support me in this race. Thank you.


What Does the State Attorney General Do?

It’s hard to explain why the Attorney General’s office matters so much when many people wonder what the AG does in the first place.  Let me take this opportunity to clarify what this office does and why Coloradans need to elect a new AG in 2018.

For starters, our AG leads the way when the federal government acts out of step with our best interests and our values. After the Trump Administration tried to ban immigration on the basis of religion, a number of brave AGs stood up to the federal government to defend our constitutional rights. Our AG also stops companies from cheating consumers and protects our State’s land, water, and air. Finally, in what I have made a central part of my life’s work, our AG should lead the fight for opportunity and innovation to ensure a bright future for all Coloradans. I’m running for Attorney General of the State of Colorado because I want to work for Coloradans and because I believe in the promise and potential of this office.

The Attorney General Works for You

Not so long ago, races for Attorney General didn’t get much attention or support. But the Republican Party has changed that. Funded by the Koch Brothers and others, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has targeted AG races around the country to move their agenda, even in progressive states. Here’s proof that the office of State Attorney General matters, and the Republicans know it: in Colorado’s last AG election, RAGA put five times as much money into the race as Cynthia Coffman raised herself. That’s part of a nation-wide trend. In 2000, Republicans only held 12 of the 51 AG positions. Today, they control 29 of them! Republican AGs–and those funding their campaigns through RAGA–recognize the power of leading the Attorney General’s office.

Why make the effort to win AGs races?    Because the Attorney General’s office can either be a powerful engine for protecting people or be used in counterproductive ways. Led by an innovative and committed AG, the office defends our constitutional freedoms (like the challenges we’ve seen to the Trump administration from AGs around the country), stands up for consumers when their homes are foreclosed on illegally, and protects our land, air, and water from polluters. Sadly, in Colorado, the AG office is not focused on solving problems or serving all Coloradans. Instead, our current AG, Cynthia Coffman, is wasting time and money filing suits that make a political statement, such as the one against Boulder County for its management of oil and gas development.

The Attorney General Upholds American Values on the State Level and Beyond

For those of us who are angered by the developments in Washington, we need leadership at the state level to represent our values. During a time when President Trump has proposed an illegal travel ban and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently raised sentences for non-violent drug offenders, it is the States–and not the Congress–who are providing a check on Presidential power and overreach.  In particular, the State AGs are leading the fight to preserve our cherished American values and, with new leadership in the Colorado AG’s office, we can stand up to what is happening in Washington and make Colorado a model for the nation.

I will fight for our constitutional rights because our freedoms are deeply personal to me. I am the first in my family to be born an American citizen; my mom was born in a concentration camp at the end of World War II and came to this country for its freedoms and opportunity when she was six. Early in my career, I worked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when the Supreme Court struck down Colorado’s anti-gay law (Amendment 2) and when women were first admitted to the Virginia Military Institute. So I welcome the opportunity to vigorously defend our civil rights, including those of women, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants.

The Attorney General Protects Our Natural Resources

 As your next Attorney General, I will continue Colorado’s leadership on protecting our land, air, and water. I will also reject U.S. EPA head Scott Pruitt’s denial of climate change and agenda to undermine U.S. international leadership to protect our planet. Instead, I’ll defend rules we have recently developed to address methane emissions during oil and gas development, and I’ll follow Ken Salazar’s example of reinvigorating environmental enforcement at the Colorado AG’s office. When Ken was our AG, he established an environmental crimes unit and brought cases that protected our water, land, and air, like his action to address the water contamination involving the Summitville Mine. And Ken Salazar has endorsed me in this race because he believes I am the best candidate to do just that.

The Attorney General Fights for Opportunities for All

I worked with President Obama in the aftermath of the Great Recession to make life better for all Americans, and I’ll be an AG who fights for opportunities for all Coloradans. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked hard to build an environment where Colorado entrepreneurs can create new companies, where all Coloradans have access to broadband Internet service, and where, even without a college degree, Coloradans can have access to good-paying jobs.  That’s why I am a founding Board member and Board Secretary of CareerWise Colorado, which is pioneering an apprenticeship-based education model here in Colorado.  As your AG, I will continue this leadership, with a powerful platform, the ability to work with leaders around the State, and a commitment to making Colorado a model for the US.

Join Me

I can’t lead the Attorney General’s office without your help. Please join me in convincing all Coloradans of the importance of electing a new AG in 2018. I am delighted by the support we are getting from around the state, but we need more help to make this campaign successful. Please email info@philforcolorado.com to join us.

With the Koch Brothers poised to contribute substantially to defeat me, I need real people willing to make contributions to support my campaign. Every dollar counts and I welcome your support at philforcolorado.com/donate-to-phil. Thanks for joining me in this journey. It matters.


Video: Phil Weiser's Reaction to Comey Testimony

Phil Weiser, candidate for Colorado Attorney General, reflects upon the testimony of James Comey, former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director, to the U.S. Senate on June 8, 2017.

Transcript:

What we heard from Jim Comey’s testimony is that our president, Donald Trump, ordered him to layoff from criminal investigation of one of his associates, Michael Flynn. When Comey didn’t do that, he was fired. This goes against the principles of the rule of law. In our country, this is a sacrosanct principle. Our constitution is built on it. Everyone needs to be treated equally, no matter how rich or powerful. If people don’t stand up, don’t criticize threats to the rule of law, we will not able to continue living in the constitutional democracy that our founders envisioned. I’m running for attorney general because I believe deeply in this principle. Please, as citizens we need your voice. We need your help. Please join us.


Tim Wirth

Guest Commentary: Tim Wirth - The Battle for the Rule of Law and What Comes Next

I first ran for Congress in 1974 in the wake of the “Watergate scandal.” The scandal was not about a botched burglary at a Washington hotel. Rather, the malfeasance by President Nixon and White House associates raised serious questions about the integrity of the democratic institutions and rule of law that have historically made the United States of America an example to the world.

After the campaigning was done, it became clear that the American people voted for a new generation of leaders to help repair and reform our democracy. And that is what those of us elected to Congress did. Together, we championed the rule of law and brought about historic reforms that made government more transparent and more accountable to the people. We initiated campaign finance reforms, consumer protections and other initiatives intended to advance the economic, environmental, and security interests of the American people.

Today, we confront a similar crisis around the rule of law and a similar opportunity for civic renewal. As the actions of the Trump Administration remind us, we cannot take our constitutional freedoms for granted and our democracy depends on active citizens and responsible leaders. That is why I am pleased to see new leaders stepping up to run for office for the first time, as I did in 1974.

One important leader we can support in Colorado is Phil Weiser. Since coming to Colorado in 1994, Phil has served our community and nation well. At the University of Colorado Law School, he has mentored hundreds of lawyers and helped launch the careers of young men and women from all backgrounds across our State, and he has served with distinction in important positions in the federal government. Now, Phil is running to be the next Attorney General for Colorado, a job which is more important than ever. He deserves our strong support.

As our next Attorney General, Phil will fight for our constitutional freedoms, for working people against special interests, for the rule of law and a vibrant democracy. When Ken Salazar was our Attorney General, he stopped an unconstitutional effort to gerrymander our congressional districts. Ken has endorsed Phil’s candidacy, and I know that Phil will be a leader, like Ken, in protecting our democracy from gerrymandering and voter suppression, and working to end the corrupting influence of “dark” undisclosed money in our politics. I believe he will be a leader of the national effort to overrule Citizen’s United, which undid—by judicial activism—some of the campaign reform efforts we passed after Watergate.

When I was in Congress, I fought hard to support the antitrust lawsuit helped break-up the AT&T telephone monopoly and to encourage competition in the telecommunications industry. While serving in the Department of Justice and President Obama’s White House, Phil fought for enhanced competition and innovation to give consumers better services at lower prices. In Colorado, he is a recognized and respected leader in our technology community, supporting the innovators and entrepreneurs who are bringing good-paying jobs to our State. At a time when the federal government cannot be counted on to fight for competition and consumers, we need an Attorney General like Phil who will stand up for our interests.

Finally, Phil will be a leader in protecting Colorado’s land, air, and water. President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords is contrary to America's international standing, economic, and security interests, and our legacy of leadership around the world. In the face of this shameful abdication of moral responsibility to future generations, it is incumbent upon states and localities to protect our planet and address climate change. Unfortunately, Colorado’s current AG, Cynthia Coffman, has sided with climate change deniers, the fossil fuel industry, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge the Obama Administration’s clean energy agenda and has undermined Governor John Hickenlooper’s leadership on restricting methane from oil and gas extraction. We deserve better leadership from our AG. Phil Weiser will provide it.

We are living in scary and challenging times. As Benjamin Franklin said upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, “you have a republic, as long as you can keep it.” In the next election cycle, as in 1974, we have the opportunity to revitalize our civic institutions and elect leaders who care deeply about our values, our Colorado traditions, and our democracy—and who can fight for them effectively. Phil is just that type of leader. I urge you to join me in supporting his campaign in any way you can.