The president of the Independence Institute spoke to a gathering of Republicans at a luncheon June 14. Jon Caldara shared the story of how Colorado has changed since his father boldly decided to quit his job and move his family of five to the state. The values Caldara's father embraced — freedom, tolerance, liberty — seem to have vanished from the landscape.
Caldara cited the renewable energy mandate, a massive education tax that's on the horizon, and the threats to our Second Amendment rights as evidence of a left-wing plan to take over the state.
The Independence Institute is the counterbalance to that threat. Some refer to the Independence Institute as a think tank, but, according to its website, it's more of an "action tank" — putting ideas into action. The Independence Institute is the agency behind the county sheriffs' lawsuit in defense of the Second Amendment.
Caldara stressed the importance of making a stand in Colorado, because "if we fall, the rest of the country falls with us."
He talked about the strategies that have worked for the Democrats, and related how that type of infrastructure is key to bringing disparate groups together and speaking with one voice. Only with a united voice can conservatives reach out to the voters in the middle. That means putting principles before politicians, he stressed. "My goal is to get freedom lovers to think about liberty as a long-term investment," he said.
When the discussion veered in the direction of possible challengers for Governor John Hickenlooper in November 2014, Caldara reiterated the importance of getting behind one person early in the process, so he or she can campaign for an entire year — just like Hickenlooper was able to do, and before him, Bill Ritter. The Republican candidates beat each other up in the months leading up to a primary, and emerge from the race bloodied and with just three months to mount a campaign against the Democratic candidate.
It will take a push at the grassroots level to make potential candidates stop and consider who has the best chance of winning, Caldara said. "When we lead, they listen."
Caldara said he's hopeful the gun legislation will become Colorado's "Alamo."
"We can take out Hickenlooper, and we can take back this state," he said. "Local activism is the leverage we need."blog comments powered by Disqus