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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonNovember 19, 20186min323

CRED (Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development) demonstrated that you could drive support for a ballot initiative from 70 percent to less than 40 percent on Election Day with a mere $35 or $40 million dollars. If you add in two or three years of positioning ads, featuring geologist Moms (“I would never put my kids at risk”) together with ranch families (“Our fracking royalties will allow us to pass along our family lands to our kids”), which preceded the 2,500-foot oil and gas drilling setback proposal better know as question 112, that expenditure climbs to $50 or $60 million dollars. Needless to say, Colorado’s oil and gas industry didn’t open its wallet so generously solely because of an abiding commitment to good government.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonNovember 12, 20187min191

There will be ample opportunity and the advantage of temporal distance to bloviate regarding the results of last week’s election returns in Colorado. But today is Armistice or Veterans Day – a day to remember. I wear my grandfather’s 26thConstruction Company dog tag from World War I, together with my father’s and my own Navy tags from World War II and Viet Nam. They remind me daily of how three generations of Hudson men spent a portion of our youth during the 20thCentury. I believe that service shaped us into better and more tolerant fathers. (It also amuses me to consider the confusion these tags will cause the EMT who handles my remains. Each says, “Miller Hudson”.)


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonNovember 5, 20187min473

Radical and extreme! Haven’t we heard that accusation more than once during past Colorado campaigns? Indeed, we have. Pundits tend to forget that campaign consultants, much as other professionals, are subject to the influence of “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” If you are of a proper age you will recall the response to Sputnik in the American classroom: New Math and Boolean algebra. It required a decade before educators would acknowledge that high school students could no longer multiply or divide.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonOctober 29, 20187min234

Voters can sense there are numerous hustlers masquerading as candidates, lobbyists and policy advocates. Divining the genuine agendas behind their smokescreens makes political involvement challenging work. It is also why many voters settle for mailing a check to membership organizations that ostensibly share their priorities; whether those are concern for the environment, the provision of mental health services, education funding, federalism, gun rights or ethical crusades. Upon close inspection, however, these self-aggrandizing tribunes are often found, both on the right and left, to devote a lion’s share of members’ contributions on the comforts of staff rather than effective advocacy. Supporters are assured of receiving a glossy newsletter carrying desperate appeals for more money.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonOctober 22, 20187min546

The passing of Bill Coors reminds me that the challenge of providing affordable access to health care across Colorado has produced a recurring history of failed reforms. For nearly 40 years voters have reported the cost of medical insurance as their number one, two or three policy concern, depending on what else was jarring the state’s economy at the time. This conundrum has advanced to the front of the governor’s race as Jared Polis promises to search for a way to cover every Coloradan and Walker Stapleton protests we can’t afford universal health care. At the core of this policy dilemma is a failure to reach consensus on whether health care should be treated as a public or private good.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonOctober 9, 20186min286

It has been apparent for more than a decade that Colorado needs to spend more money on its roads. If you have had the occasion to travel across our borders recently, it is apparent that even blood red states like Utah, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming have figured out how to finance this central responsibility of government. For the past half dozen years each new Legislature has identified transportation funding as its bi-partisan, number one priority without significant result. On this November’s ballot voters have an opportunity to choose between a pair of citizen initiatives that embrace the competing theories regarding this challenge that have consistently defeated resolution by our legislators.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonOctober 1, 20187min271

How we think about risk has very little to do with the actual, statistical chance of injury. If it did, few of us would ever climb behind the wheel in our cars. It was Jerry Kruk of Calgary who schooled me on the psychodynamics of fear a quarter century ago. He initially worked as a professional risk communicator for Canadian oil and gas projects, but later migrated to nuclear conflicts, specifically issues of radioactive waste disposal. Kruk emphasized two guiding principles: (1) when we can’t see, hear, smell or taste a threat we sensibly fear it, and (2) when we have little or no opportunity to forestall a danger or prevent our exposure, particularly if that risk is created by unknown or uncaring others, we respond with anger. Consequently, we think nothing of driving to the grocery due to the comforting presumption we can exercise control over our personal risk. This assurance is, of course, largely an illusion. More Americans have been killed on our roads and highways than in all our wars.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonSeptember 24, 20187min389

Technology develops in accordance with an ethos and logic impervious to ideology. Politicians on both the right and left have been badly burned in recent years by staking policy positions presuming tomorrow will look a lot like today. Whatever you may believe about evolution in the biological realm, technology changes incrementally in response to the application of human ingenuity. This all came to mind as I listened to speakers at a workshop on Colorado’s energy resilience earlier this week at the law offices of Faegre and Benson in Denver.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonSeptember 17, 20187min497

Despite all the public chest thumping that takes place on both the right and the left regarding policy preferences, it’s wise to remain alert to the possibility these displays are often masquerades behind which lurk personal animosities. As a freshman legislator I quit the House Democratic caucus following an accusation by Minority Leader Bob Kirscht that I had traded my vote with Republican Frank DeFilippo. I announced I would not return to the caucus until it elected new leadership and then dedicated the ensuing year to the insurrection that replaced Kirscht with Federico Peña as Democratic leader in 1981. Bob switched his party affiliation the following morning in exchange for an appointment to the Joint Budget Committee, a plum assignment from which he would ladle dollars over his House District in Pueblo.