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Colorado Democrats have their doubts in advance about Trump's speech

January 30, 2018 Updated: January 30, 2018 at 2:06 pm
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Coloradans will be listening closely to what President Trump has to say in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night. The state has a lot riding on what Trump has to say.

At center stage is a budget deal to keep the government open past Feb. 8. In the impasse are deeply entrenched partisan issues: Immigration, increases for defense spending and budget hawks screeching about the high numbers, against the backdrop of a tax cut with a yet-uncertain outcome for tax revenues.

No doubt Trump will boast of the high stock market, low unemployment and where he hopes to lead the economy, but infrastructure, immigration, trade deals and national security will be wildcards till show time.

The mercurial rump is expected to say what's on his mind about all that, plus shed a reflective light on his campaign promises.

The stakes are high for Colorado.

More than 17,000 Dreamers - young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children - and their legions of advocates want some indication of whether the president will give ground on reauthorizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. His base of supporters, however, will expect Trump to keep his promise and stand strong against any sort of amnesty program.

Colorado leaders want some indication of what his trillion-dollar infrastructure project will look like. While the president's supporters say public-private investment can't be anything but good, and clearing away regulatory red tape is a fast lane to solutions, Democrats are wary.

Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat from Denver, was named the secretary of transportation to America's Cabinet, a creation of the national Young Elected Officials Network Monday.

She forecast the worst out of the Republican president. Duran sees a setback, not a gain, for Colorado.

"President Trump campaigned on a promise to invest in infrastructure," Duran said at the shadow cabinet's launch. "He even said his plan would lead to the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs but those promises have not been realized," Duran said. "And many American communities are being left in the dust.

"In reality these policies will require counties, cities, towns and states across out country, from Maine to California, to foot the majority of the bill. We can't allow politics in Washington, D.C., to put up roadblocks around infrastructure development."

Mining interests, once a much bigger political player in Colorado, wants the president to loosen permitting rules and fast-track new extraction opportunities to supply materials for infrastructure.

"While plans are underway to spend more than $1 trillion for the nation's roads, bridges, transit and other projects, what is rarely recognized is that none of these projects are possible without the raw materials made available through mining," Hal Quinn, the National Mining Association's president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday morning. "The first step taken in modernizing America's infrastructure is one that has no cost: modernizing our permitting processes."

Democratic state Rep. Dave Young of Greeley and Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver were expected to lead a program "to speak out about continuing efforts in the White House and Congress to undermine Connect for Health Colorado and the state's health care system" at 11:45 in the West Foyer of the state Capitol.

State Democratic Party chairwoman Morgan Carroll issued a statement Monday in advance of the speech.

"Trump has proven time and time again that we cannot trust what he says," Carroll said. "His actions - which include cutting taxes for himself at the expense of the middle class, trying to rip health care way from millions, obstructing justice, and attacking workers rights, the environment, immigrants and other communities of color - speak much louder than any words he will read to Congress on Tuesday."

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