Sexual harassment, bond issues on the agenda as political reporters gather for discussion

Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 13:53:34-05

DENVER -- What was supposed to be a conversation on election results got off to an even more serious start on Friday when Politics Unplugged began taping right after news that State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Adams County) was under investigation for sexual harassment and had been temporarily removed from his position as chairman of the House Local Government Committee by Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran.

“It is not a surprise,” legislative reporter Marianne Goodland told Anne Trujillo during the taping. “The legislature is a horrible place for women and it hasn't changed despite the fact we have more women lawmakers among the Democrats now in both the house and senate.”

Goodland has covered the capitol for two decades.

“You hear these stories. Unfortunately, you hear them too often,” she said. “We’re hearing this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“I think that these stories are going to keep coming out,” added Blair Miller of “Women, men who feel like they’ve been abused to be empowered by some of these other people and feel like it’s time to speak out.”

When the conversation turned to the election, Goodland said she feels voters, especially in Denver, may have been trying to send state lawmakers a message it’s time to make a move on many topics.

“I think some of that may be due to the fact they can’t get the legislature to act on things like transportation,” Goodland said. “They approved some massive transportation bonds in that and they may be saying to the legislature to get off the dime and get this done.”

Miller said that voters in Aspen are also trying to send a message by increasing the city’s tax on cigarettes by $3 a pack in January. However, he says smokers are already talking about a way to get around it.

“I saw people saying why not go down to Glenwood Springs or somewhere else and buy your cigarettes," he said. “People were saying, ‘oh is there going to be a sign on the end of Aspen saying last chance to get your expensive cigarettes otherwise you can go down the road and buy them for $3 less?'”

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.