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Families First deems Musgrave’s record last; Tancredo running in circles, ads claim

By Leigh E. Rich

A local entity that qualifies as a type of political organization under section 527 of the IRS tax code launched a TV ad against Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave Wednesday, criticizing the Republican representative in the 4th CD for her “vocal support for toll roads” and her vote as a state senator opposing a 2001 nursing home bill.

Colorado Families First, a new association funded by Colorado families and individuals, takes issue with Musgrave in a satirical ad that will continue to run through next week on local network and cable stations.

“We think it’s just a scandalous vote,” Tim Knaus, spokesman for Colorado Families First, said in an interview of Musgrave’s vote against HB 01-1189 that would have, in part, limited the ability of nursing homes and other residential care facilities from billing the estates of patients following their deaths.

“Good grief! Is that possible?” Knaus rhetorically lamented when asked about the Colorado Legislature’s failure to pass the Residential Care Facility Contract Regulations bill, sponsored by state Rep. Sue Windells, D-Jefferson County, during the 2001 legislative session. Then state senator for District 1, Musgrave voted against it.

Musgrave’s vote on that bill is still “very relevant,” Kanus said, particularly for the seniors in the 4th Congressional District.

“She doesn’t vote with them,” Knaus maintained. “She votes with the nursing home industry.”

Calling the examination of Musgrave’s voting record “part of the obligation of this group” that concerns itself with public policies related to seniors, the environment, transportation, jobs and education, Knaus says “people will be very shocked to know that’s the law in Colorado thanks to her.”

The opposition to HB 01-1189 “was just outrageous,” Knaus added, recalling that “at the time, my parents were in nursing homes.”

The Colorado Families First ad, the first endeavor by the new group, also reprimands Musgrave for repeatedly expressing support for toll roads as a means to solve Colorado’s transportation financing problems.

Deeming the issue important because several of the state’s roadways are major corridors, Knaus said Coloradans especially along the I-76 “agricultural corridor … have been taxed enough” for “roads which aren’t in the greatest conditions.”

The group, whose mission according to its Web site is to “provide information to voters on how their elected leaders have been voting and what they have been saying since elected,” has started with Musgrave’s record but doesn’t intend to end there.

“We don’t have enough money to talk about all of them,” Knaus said, unable to comment about what the group will unveil next.

However, “of all of them, she jumps out … in terms of her voting record and the things she’s said in the press.”

Republican-turned-Democrat Joanna Conti unleashed two television spots this week in her ongoing battle against Rep. Tom Tancredo for his 6th CD seat.

A fiscal conservative, Conti described herself as “a moderate running against a right-wing extremist” at Monday’s press conference at the Denver Press Club, before debuting her 30-second television ads.

One ad is a brief sketch of what issues Conti prioritizes—including “bringing down the costs of health care, balancing the budget, and protecting the environment”—and the other pokes serious fun at Tancredo’s doggedness when it comes to immigration.

“While Tom Tancredo pursues his obsession of finding immigrants,” a male voiceover says in the second ad, as the screen depicts the point of view of someone searching a dark bedroom with a flashlight, “the cost of health care is skyrocketing, we’re drowning in national debt and assault weapons are legal again.”

The ad then cuts to Conti, standing outside in scenic Genesee and holding a flashlight: “In Congress, I will focus my spotlight on our concerns.”

Describing herself as “a mom, businesswoman and founder of an international nonprofit helping thousands of orphans,” both of Conti’s ads drive home her two messages—“Tancredo’s obsession with immigrants is accomplishing nothing for us” and “I would treasure your vote.”

“Tancredo has an abysmal record,” Conti said Monday of her opponent’s last six years in Congress.

“He can point to next to nothing. … He’s made a lot of noise about immigration” but has nothing to show for it, she added.

Conti says she plans to work with both parties on Capitol Hill—something she claims Tancredo “has proven incapable of doing”—on four main issues.

“The spiraling cost of health care is the number one issue in our district” and in the nation, Conti said. “There are a number of steps we can take … to bring health care costs under control.”

Conti says she also prioritizes “fiscal responsibility … a foreign policy (that includes) working with our allies” and environmental responsibility.

Both of the TV spots, which will be aired on all five local news stations, were filmed in the Genesee area, which falls within the district’s boundaries.

The advertisements are being funded by the Conti for Congress campaign, which to date has raised more than $500,000—up from $361,000 in July.

Tancredo’s campaign manager was unavailable for comment regarding whether the three-term congressman will launch a media blitz of his own.

“I think we should free up Tom Tancredo” so he can chase illegal immigrants full-time, Conti half-jokingly said.

Rich, L. E. (2004, September 24). Families First deems Musgrave’s record last. The Colorado Statesman, pp. 2, 5.

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