I had the opportunity to interview Colorado State Senator Morgan Carroll last Friday on my radio show that airs on AM 760 Colorado's Progressive Talk. The Senator is one of the Dream Killer Five. That is Morgan is one of the five Democrats that choose to kill a bill that would have given undocumented students the ability to pay in state tuition in Colorado.
I have to say that I was disappointed in Senator Carroll's posture and her stubborn devotion to the inaccurate rational she used to support the bill. It seems Carroll has no facts with which to back up her "no" vote and it leaves me still wondering why this politically ambitious Senator would decide to make any of her future opponents the first choice among the majority of Colorado's Latino voters.
Don't think that I am exaggerating here on either count.
You can hear Carroll's dismal explanation of her fact challenged defense on the podcast that I have linked to below. But in the meantime let's just say that claiming that the court results on in state tuition were "mixed" when not a single court case has yet to prevail is troubling to say the least. Add to the mix that even the right wing racist lawyer that has presented most of the anti in state tuition lawsuits has decided to drop future litigation efforts on the federal level and you will understand why many believe that Carroll's explanation extends itself beyond typical rhetorical misinformation.
But the political question seems even more shortsighted. A recent poll in Colorado shows that Gov. Bill Ritter has taken a hit on his approval rating mostly from Latino voters. The analysis on this reversal of fortunes is that Ritter was publicly chastised by Latino leaders for not appointing a single Latina/o to recent openings. The downturn in approval is significant and shows a high degree of frustration among Latino voters who clearly understand (and not only in Colorado) that they were critical to the big blue surge of 2008. The years of immigrant bashing have left bruises and Latinos seem to now realize the importance of their vote. The new found Latino voter awareness should not be underestimated or ignored by any policy maker anywhere or from either party. "Anywhere" BTW includes DC.
Senator Carroll and the rest of the Dream Killer Five should apologize for their mistake and sign a pledge to vote yes on Tuition Equity when it returns to the Colorado Senate in 2010 and hope for the best. The rest of the body politic should take notice: The majority of Latino voters have had their fill of being scapegoated by some and taken for granted by others.
Here is the interview for those who want to hear how a once promising State Senator has helped blow a hole in Colorado's new blue coalition and reactivated talk from Latino leaders nationwide about the importance of political independence.
Mario Solis-Marich is a Latino voter and a talk show host that can be heard in Denver on AM 760 or on the web at www.GoToMario.com