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Afternoon headlines February 6, 2017

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm by , in Headlines

Thousands gathered in Denver’s Civic Center Saturday afternoon to express their support for the city’s Muslim community in response to President Donald Trump’s recent ban on refugees and on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Holding signs with messages such as “We’re all immigrants,” “DO all lives matter?” and “Where is Senator Cory Gardner?” the crowd was energetic and buoyed by the rally’s lineup of speakers, which included a student, a poet, leaders of various faiths and a high school student who is a refugee.

The rally capped off a week of community meetings between Mayor Michael Hancock and members of the immigrant and refugee community. Last Thursday night, more than 600 people filled the cafeteria of North High School to ask community leaders, local and state officials how they plan to respond to the president’s orders targeting undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities.

The answer, repeated time and again: We will protect Denver’s residents. Protect their civil rights. Run state legislation to ensure those rights stay protected.

“If they’re going to come to our airports, force our hand, we’re not going to hand them a bouquet of roses welcoming them,” said City Council member Paul Lopez, who represents the largely Latino Westside Denver. “We’re going to hand them a lawsuit to go back to D.C. with. Let them try, and we will sue them.”

Hancock also met with refugee students from South High School earlier in the week to discuss their concerns moving forward. At Saturday’s rally, the mayor called several students to the stage with him, and spoke of one comment, in particular, that has stayed with him. When he asked the students what they would most like to tell President Trump, he said, one answer stood out.

The young woman who had made the comment, herself a refugee, stepped forward to repeat ti the crowd what she’d said to Hancock: “I’d ask that he acknowledge our humanity.”

Watch video of some of the rally and hear the reasons people gave for attending at coloradoindependent.com

This week, Colorado lawmakers will get their first look at a bill that would legalize the reveral of medical, non-surgical abortions.

In such abortions, a woman takes two bills, the first to stimulate bleeding, the second to spur contraction. The bill, sponsored by Republican Reps. Justin Everett of Littleton and Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, would require a doctor to inform a woman seeking a medical abortion that the procedure can be “reversed” with a shot of progesterone after the first pill is taken.

However, medical experts liken the abortion reversal procedure to a flip of the coin, saying not taking the second pill is just as likely to halt the abortion, without the progesterone shot.

The bill, along with two others that intend to restrict or end abortion, will be heard in the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the state capitol.

Over the weekend, El Paso County Democrats, who live in one of the most heavily Republican parts of Colorado, elected an early supporter of Bernie Sanders as their new leader.

Electra Johnson, a Colorado Springs architect and urban designer beat Shari Zabel, a trans candidate with an Air Force background in the race for county party chair.

Johnson is a political newcomer who became active after caucusing for Sanders at her neighborhood precinct last spring. She gained recognition throughout southern Colorado during her 2016 campaign for a seat on the El Paso County Commission. She decided to run for that post while caucusing for Bernie Sanders. She lost by about six points to a Trump-supporting retired Air Force officer but ran an impressive campaign for a seat on a local commission where no Democrat has won since the 1970s.

The vote for a new chair in El Paso County is a signal that some Democrats energized by the candidacy of Sanders are working to get elected into leadership positions in Colorado, a state where Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 points in the caucuses. The county Democratic parties are reorganizing their leadership positions across the state this week.

Data journalism website FiveThirtyEight.com shows Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has voted in line with President Donald Trump’s position 100 percent of the time.

Among the votes: repealing a rule requiring energy companies to reduce waste and emissions; repealing a rule requiring energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments; a budget resolution to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and supporting South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for UN ambassador and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.

There are some caveats in vote assessment. One, it’s very early. Trump has only been in office two weeks. Two: 50 of 52 U.S. senators have voted with the new president 100 percent of the time. The only two who haven’t are Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.

But Gardner stands out, The Colorado Independent reports, because he is one of two Republicans who comes from states that supported Hillary Clinton. In addition, when Gardner ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, he told Coloradans he was a “different kind of Republican.” Throughout the campaign he hammered his opponent, then U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, for voting with President Obama 99 percent of the time.

Read more about these and other local news stories at ColoradoIndependent.com.

Afternoon headlines are heard on KGNU Monday through Friday at 2.55pm.