Interview

Jeffrey M. Foster / Courtesy UCCS

It's been slightly more than a month since Dr. Venkat Reddy officially took over the top spot at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, but he's no stranger to the school.  He's spent 25 years there, starting as a finance faculty member, serving as Dean of the Business School, and shepherding online education for the University.  

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Despite some setbacks, Colorado lawmakers are praising the now completed 2017 legislative session.  Lawmakers avoided major funding cuts to hospitals and took a step toward jump-starting condominium developments, but they failed to send a measure to voters that sought to raise the state's sales tax to fund road infrastructure repair.

Bente Birkeland spoke with Democratic Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran about some of the major pieces of legislation that passed through the Democratic House and Republican Senate.

John Nowak / CNN

Comedian W. Kamau Bell uses humor to probe the dark corners of American culture. As host of the CNN show, "United Shades of America," he’s interviewed everyone from inmates in San Quentin prison to members of the Ku Klux Klan, exploring the racial, political, and socioeconomic forces that shape life in America. He also has a new book out, "The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell," hosts three podcasts, and is on a national stand-up comedy tour.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Earlier this month, Fort Collins Coloradoan reporter Nick Coltrain won the First Amendment Award in the Society for Professional Journalists' Top of the Rockies contest for a battle with Colorado State University. He wanted to know if there were inequities in pay between men and women.  He discovered there were, but only after a lot of work. The school provided him with a printout of all the information—150 pages of an Excel spreadsheet—rather than the files themselves.

Coltrain's struggle to convert the printouts into something he could analyze prompted a battle about the public's right to access data. On April 25, a senate bill to require electronic records be made available where possible advanced by a 7 to 6 vote in the House Finance Committee.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Left-of-center candidates made out well in this month's Colorado Springs City Council election. Progressive favorites Richard Skorman, Yolanda Avila, and Jill Gaebler beat their more conservative challengers, and left-leaning David Geislinger was elected following an unopposed campaign. Together, along with at-large representative Bill Murray, these four could comprise a new, more liberal majority on Colorado Springs City Council. 

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado's $28.6 billion budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey. Each year, the six-member, bipartisan Joint Budget Committee crafts a balanced budget before sending it to the House and Senate for amendments. The JBC then has to reconcile those changes.

But in most cases, they go back to the original budget they spend months writing. This year, the House and Senate have added about 30 amendments to the so-called "long bill."

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is a new book from David Owen, a staff writer with the New Yorker magazine and author of more than a dozen books.  His latest takes him on a journey across the west following the Colorado River: the dams, reservoirs and pipelines that help quench the thirst of seven states and parts of Mexico. 

Republican state Sen. Ray Scott could help define one of the most often used phrases of 2017: fake news. 

The battle centers around an opinion column published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about Senate Bill 40, a bill to increase access to public records. The column implies that a scheduled hearing was postponed because Scott -- who serves as assistant majority leader -- didn’t support it. 

91.5 KRCC

It is unclear how the Trump administration's freezing of grants and awards from the Environmental Protection Agency will impact programs in Colorado.

We talked with Peter Marcus with ColoradoPolitics.com and Luke Perkins from the Durango Herald about how politicians are reacting—and working together—in the face of potential funding losses.

Lawmakers have introduced the first set of bills of the legislative session-over 200 so far. As part of our capitol conversation series, Kristen Wyatt with the Associated Press and Joey Bunch with ColoradoPolitics.com talk about what proposals stood out to them.

KIRK SIEGLER / KUNC

The first few days of Colorado's 2017 legislative session provided glimpses into the next few months as legislative leaders and the governor outlined their plans and priorities.

Hickenlooper file photo

Governor John Hickenlooper is entering his second to last legislative session as governor. He said he's very aware of his time in office being limited, and that colored his discussion of his goals for the upcoming legislative session.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman, representing Denver in District 34, is the only legislative leader returning to her role, but it's something she didn't expect. Guzman said Democrats fully anticipated winning the majority in the Senate, but after the November election they are still one seat shy. The GOP holds a 18-17 seat advantage.

Courtesy of Kevin Grantham

Republican Sen. Kevin Grantham will lead the state Senate in 2017, where his party held onto its one-seat majority. Grantham is from Cañon City and represents District 2.  He says he's the first rural senate president in over four decades.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Republican Patrick Neville is only serving his second term in office, but he recently rose to the highest position in his caucus--House Minority Leader. Neville's selection comes as a surprise; Rep. Polly Lawrence, who has served in the legislature since 2012, was considered the heir apparent.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Democratic Representative Crisanta Duran will serve as the top lawmaker in the state House of Representatives next session, leading the 65-member chamber as speaker of the house. She will also be the first Latina to serve in that role in state history.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

With increasing populations and out-of-state travelers, there are more drivers on Colorado's roads than ever before. Shailen Bhatt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, shared some important takeaways on the new reality for Colorado motorists unless more money is found to fix roads and bridges, and build new road projects.

One of the first items on President-elect Donald Trump’s to-do list when he takes office will be to nominate a Supreme Court justice. While campaigning, Trump released a list of possible nominees, which included three judges from Colorado: Chief Judge Timothy Michael Tymkovich and Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch, both serving on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice Allison Hartwell Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court. 

Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press

There are few who understand the dynamics of modern presidential politics better than David Axelrod. As Chief Strategist for President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012, Axelrod helped define presidential campaigning in the digital era. He also worked closely with President Obama as Senior Advisor in the White House from 2009 to 2011. He now runs the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, and is a Senior Political Correspondent for CNN and host of the podcast, The Axe Files

 

Axelrod was in Colorado Springs this week to speak at Colorado College, and KRCC’s Jake Brownell interviewed him about his time in Washington and the legacy of the president he helped put into office.  

Hickenlooper file photo

Governor John Hickenlooper has already been front and center this campaign season. He had a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention and has recently been hitting the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton.

On this episode of Air Check: 

Vicky, Jeff, and Jake share their favorite new releases of the last month; Local band Eros and the Eschaton preview some tracks from their new album, Weight of Matter; Pueblo Pulp music writer John Bueno shares some of his favorite bands from the Steel City; Musician Ed Parsons schools us on the history of Reggae; And electronic producer Tor talks sampling and songwriting. 

On this episode of Air Check:

Colorado Springs hip hop artist Stoney Bertz tells us about about how high school debate camp influenced her approach to songwriting; Local synth-pop group Millicent joins us for an in-studio performance and interview; Our very own Iggy Igloo shares some music from a genre that’s very close to his heart; And, at the end of the show, we discuss the summer concert season at Red Rocks and tell you how you can win tickets to some amazing upcoming shows.

91.5 KRCC

    

With less than two weeks left in the state's annual legislative session lawmakers still have some big items they want to tackle.  As part of our weekly Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland spoke with other statehouse reporters to discuss the end of the session.

  

91.5 KRCC

Lawmakers in both parties have unveiled a proposal to bring a presidential primary back to Colorado. It's estimated to cost between five to seven million dollars to conduct, and the heads of both the state Democratic and Republican parties and the Governor support it.

The membership drive is underway at KRCC right now, and for this episode Air Check we decided to take the opportunity to look back at some of our favorite artist interviews and in-studio performances that we've hosted at KRCC over the past few years. On this episode, we revisit a conversation with Shearwater frontman, Jonathan Meiburg, an in-studio performance from in/PLANES -- the new project of Haunted Windchimes members Desirae Garcia and Inaiah Lujan -- and an interview and in-studio performance from Neil Halstead of the legendary shoegaze band, Slowdive. All that plus a round-up of some of our favorite tracks from the last month and a remembrance of Prince, who died on April 21st. 

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

The Governor's commission studying American Indian representations in public schools released its report this week. The group recommends that public schools do not use American Indian mascots, but if they do, they should partner with a tribe to make sure it is done in a respectful way. Right now thirty Colorado schools use some type of American Indian mascot or imagery.

The commission went to four schools to bring American Indian and non-American Indian people together, community members, school boards, and students. This follows failed attempts at the statehouse to ban these types of mascots.

Colorado Democratic Party

Colorado Democrats are set to gather in Loveland tomorrow to elect their final group of delegates to the National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. Bente Birkeland talked to Colorado Chairman Rick Palacio about the process and divisions within the party...

91.5 KRCC

Colorado is debating whether to form an Office of Fantasy Sports to regulate and create rules around pay-for-play fantasy sports leagues. The industry estimates that 800,000 people in Colorado are fantasy sports players, and 150,000 pay in the daily sports leagues.

Colorado Republican Party

Republican Party activists are gathering in Colorado Springs this Saturday for the state GOP convention. The party will elect delegates to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Senator Ted Cruz is already confirmed to attend. Donald Trump will not, but may send a surrogate to speak on his behalf.  Ohio Governor John Kasich has announced he is not coming.

In an interview with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland, Steve House, the Chair of the Colorado GOP, says the state plays a pivotal role in who the Republican presidential nominee may be.
 


91.5 KRCC

The Democratic controlled House passed the state budget on Friday with five Republicans backing it. The bill now heads to the Republican controlled Senate.  As part of our weekly Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to other statehouse reports about the debate and what to expect going forward.

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