FEEDBACK | Workers’ rights, women’s rights need not clash

Author: Colorado Politics - August 1, 2018 - Updated: August 1, 2018


Planned Parenthood’s labor standoff is disillusioning

With the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement and Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to take his place, essential decisions such as Roe and Griswold are at stake. At a time when so many people’s fundamental rights are in jeopardy, it feels particularly hurtful to watch Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains follow in this administration’s footsteps.

I have been a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood for many years. I am also a former union representative and firm believer in the importance of unions for a healthy democracy and a healthy middle class. PPRM’s choice to oppose this bargaining unit is creating an unnecessary wedge amongst progressive people of conscience at a time when we need to be more united than ever. It breaks my heart to feel that I have to choose between fighting for reproductive freedoms and economic justice for all. These deeply important topics are interconnected in many ways, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain’s union busting attempt separates them to the detriment of both causes.

Recognize the bargaining unit and bargain in good faith, and we will all rally behind PPRM at a time we need an especially strong defense against attacks on reproductive rights. The threat is more urgent now than at any point in my lifetime, and we cannot continue to waste time, energy and money working against each other. If PPRM leadership doesn’t recognize this, supporters will find another organization that understands that championing women’s rights and union rights are effectively the same thing.

Julia Stewart


A fond farewell to former state Rep. Bob Shoemaker

It is with great sadness that I’ve just learned that my friend and former colleague in the Colorado House of Representatives Bob Shoemaker died on July 26. He was a rough and ready cowboy but a big hearted one  who was always there for his friends. He fought hard for his Cañon City district and the prison system there but was never hesitant to take on the local prison officials when they were in the wrong. He took strong stands while, at the same time, constantly working to bring legislators together. To quote former Gov. Dick Lamm, “He was a no-bullshit guy who cared.”

There are many legislators who serve their terms and then move on, but some remain committed to their goals forever. Joe Shoemaker and his life-long commitment to the South Platte River is one example. Bob and his commitment to improving Colorado’s correctional system was another. He served on the parole board after his time as a legislator and later earned the Harry Tinsley Award for his dedication to corrections.

Bob Kirscht who was our majority leader at the time recited a Shoemaker story. “During a caucus, Bob was being pressured to vote for a bill he hated. Finally Bob dug in, saying, “I lead pretty good. I don’t shove worth a sh**.” David Gaon agreed, “Bob would go his own way but on core issues, he’d stick with the party.” John Lay who served in the governor’s office said that, “He was far more than just a rural legislator; he always had a sense of what was good for the state.”

The last time I saw Bob was August 26, 2014. I made a trip to his beautiful ranch north of Cañon City to swap stories with him and Helen, his wife of 67 years, and share a lemon pie she had prepared. ”It’s hell getting old,” he said , leaning on a cane. His body may have been failing but he never lost his love for Colorado.

Morgan Smith
Santa Fe, N.M.
The author served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1973 to 1978.

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.