Efforts to recall Colorado state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, are moving forward after the Colorado Secretary of State's Office approved a petition to recall her on July 18. The petition, …
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Efforts to recall Colorado state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, are moving forward after the Colorado Secretary of State's Office approved a petition to recall her on July 18.
The petition, propelled by Lakewood native and Republican Nancy Pallozzi, reads Pettersen should be recalled because “she advocates for taxpayer-funded heroin injection sites.” It continues by listing measures Pettersen has voted yes on in the past as reasons why she should be recalled, including votes on an updated sex education curriculum, a bill that increases regulation on the oil and gas industry in the state and the red flag law — a law that gives Colorado judges the right to temporarily remove firearms from citizens considered to be at risk of harming themselves or others.
The petition must gain 18,376 signatures from registered voters in District 22 by Sept. 16. If that happens, the question to recall Pettersen will trigger a special election.
“We will get the signatures, that will happen. We're staying the course,” said Pallozzi. She ran against Pettersen for a seat on the Colorado House of Representatives in 2016 but lost by nearly a 20% margin. “Too much has happened here in the past six months, and we can't wait three years to see what happens.”
Pettersen, was elected to her position last November when she defeated Republican Tony Sanchez by about a 17% margin.
The seat for Senate District 22 — which includes a strip of land running from C-470 and Ken Caryl in the south, through Lakewood and north to Edgewater — would normally be up for re-election in 2022.
"Recalls are for outrageous behavior, the last resort option for somebody who should not be in office, and disagreements in policies are not what this is for. That's what elections are for," said Pettersen. She says she feels 100% confident the recall effort will not be successful against her. "These are out of touch extremists who are using the recall method to hijack our democracy on the backs of tax payers."
Pettersen says she is proud of the things Colorado's government has achieved during her time as an elected official so far, including the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a law she sponsored that gives an individual the right to sue an employer over discrimination complaints based on gender, full day kindergarten for Coloradans, and her work to fight the opioid epidemic. Pettersen's mother has struggled with addiction — something she has been vocal about in the past.
Alex Inscoe, a 24-year-old field director for the Jefferson County Republican Party and a District 22 resident, said the party isn't pushing the recall effort, but supports it. Inscoe, who gave his opinion to the Lakewood Sentinel as a resident, said he can name 10 to 15 votes Pettersen has voted on in the state legislature that he was disappointed in.
“I don't know if this recall is going to work or not. If it wakes people up in the district, it's a good thing,” said Inscoe. “If we don't have a balance of power in our state legislator, one party or the other can (do) everything they want. I still believe it's a purple state, and we need to get back to our purple roots. We can't just let one party or another control everything.”
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the State Senate 19 to 16 and in the State House, 41 to 24.
“Pettersen hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, and she's voting the way she said she'd vote. If the GOP wants to win in this swing district, put up better candidates,” said Anna Hannel, a stay at home mom in Lakewood. “Wait until the next election season and find better people to run. That's how democracy works. I'm going to be pissed if my tax dollars are used for a special election if this recall moves forward.”
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