Morse faces recall election, judge upholds will of the people

By: The Gazette editorial
July 19, 2013 Updated: July 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm
photo - Sen. John Morse (Dem.) of Colorado Springs addresses the senate during the opening day of the Colorado State Legislature was on Wednesday, January 12, 2011. Morse is the majority leader of the senate. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Sen. John Morse (Dem.) of Colorado Springs addresses the senate during the opening day of the Colorado State Legislature was on Wednesday, January 12, 2011. Morse is the majority leader of the senate. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

Note to voters: Get ready to vote.

The people have spoken, and they want a chance to recall Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs. The courts respect this fact, and on Sept. 10 voters may well make Morse the first state official in Colorado history to get ousted by his constituents.

"Recalls are a fundamental right of Colorado citizens," said Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt, in his oral decision from the bench Thursday.

Hyatt had to rule because Morse attempted a legal maneuver he hoped would negate the will of registered voters in his district who made clear, in writing, their desire for an election that would give them an option to keep or eject him from office. The whole thing is a lesson in irony, given the fact his constituents are upset precisely because he governs in an arrogant manner that disrespects and disregards their values and goals. "The will of the people be damned" could be the Morse motto.

If Morse's disrespect for the Springs wasn't palpable enough, the campaign trying to counter the recall has as its filing agent Ed Hall - a Denver man who describes Colorado Springs on his website as "a right-wing, religious whack-job stronghold."

Year after year, Colorado Springs residents have watched Morse advocate for laws that grow and empower government at an expense of the governed.

Although strong majorities of Springs residents twice voted against a unionized fire department, Morse this year wanted a law that would force one on them. He insisted on a jobs-killing law that will raise utility rates throughout much of Colorado, forcing struggling families and businesses to pay for wind and solar projects favored by Morse. At one Gazette editorial board meeting, Morse was excited about a new law he wanted that would prevent rural Colorado patients from receiving epidurals and other pain-relieving treatments unless and until they were under the care of specialists who are found only in distant urban hospitals. Name the issue, and Morse sides with placing our lives under the power and authority of him and other politicians and bureaucrats in state government.

So it wasn't surprising when he challenged a petition seeking a recall election, which contained far more than enough signatures to mandate an election, on a weird technicality involving the wording of the petition. Morse's lawyer claimed constitutional language, related to choosing a successor, was absent from the petition and therefore negated the will of signers. Sheer nonsense, it turns out.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler validated 10,000 of more than 16,000 signatures. Those who signed can be thankful the law seldom hinges on technicalities. No judge in his or her right mind would undo the will of people who knew they were asking for an election that would necessitate a successor.

Though Gov. John Hickenlooper scheduled an election shortly after the judge ruled, we can expect more acts of desperation by Morse as he tries to prevent his constituents from having the election they clamor for. We doubt those efforts will get too far.

Voters on the left and right, continue to study up on Sen. Morse. Try to determine whether he represents your best interests in the Colorado Senate. After making an informed decision, get ready to vote on Sept. 10. It is entirely up to the governed whether this man shall continue representing them. The voters and a judge have spoken, and the continued service of Morse is almost certainly headed for a ballot.

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