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Voting Insights by Summit County Republican Women on State of CO and Summit County 2018 Ballot Amendments and Propositions

Summit County Republican Women

Positions on  Amendments & Propositions for 2018 State of Colorado Ballot & Summit County

These are amended notes from a discussion that we had at our October SCRW meeting.  We encourage our members and friends to continue to research and ask questions before casting your  vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.  We’ve also included the recommendations from the Centennial Institute 2018 Voter Guide.

Here is a summary from the members present who provided their opinions.

Proposition 109 Authorizes transportation bonds WITHOUT tax increase

  • Total repayment including P&I to $5.2 billion over 20 years
  • Transparency and accountability as each project is specified
  • Vote YES
  • CI says YES

Proposition 110 Authorizes transportation bonds WITH tax increase

  • Increases sales tax
  • Borrow up to $6 billion for transportation projects with repayment to $9.4 billion over 20 years
  • Vote NO
  • CI says NO

Proposition 111 amending the Colorado statutes thorough review by Charlotte Jacobsen

  • Reduce the total cost for a payday loan to a 36 percent annual percentage and
  • Expand what constitutes unfair deceptive trade practices
  • Unnecessary because state legislature passed reforms in 2010 that already lead to fewer defaults and reduced loan costs
  • Vote NO
  • CI is neutral on this one.

Proposition 112 pros & cons thorough review presented by Debra Irvine.

  • Statutory ballot measure that if passed, will establish a 2,500 foot setback between oil and natural gas development & occupied structures or other vulnerable areas
  • Would kill up to 147,00 good-paying jobs in CO by 2030 with up to 43,000 jobs being lost in the first year alone
  • Vote NO
  • CI says NO


A          Civil Rights & Constitutional Language

  • Removes language that currently allows slavery & involuntary servitude
  • Against states it’s redundant so may have minimal impact
  • Vote YES
  • CI says YES

V          Legislator minimum age from 25 to 21

  • Current age strikes an appropriate balance between youth and experience
  • Vote NO
  • No input from CI

Y and Z   Y is Congressional redistricting and Z is legislative redistricting & the ones our group did not agree on.

  • Pertains to gerrymandering that may stack the deck to one political party over another
  • A nonpartisan staff will be selected to include 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans & 4 Unaffiliated.
  • 8 of the 12 must approve the redistricting map.
  • Per Kim McGahey it depends on who is in power; if the Democrats like they are now, Vote YES (Kim) but if Republicans are in power, vote NO.
  • Per Debra Irvine, Vote NO. Not so cut and dry; need to do more of your own research!
  • CI says YES

73        Funding for Public Schools

  • Establishes tax brackets and raises taxes to fund education
  • Vote NO
  • CI says NO

74        Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government Law or Regulation

  • Property taxes and fracking
  • This amendment is in response to Proposition 112 so it offsets; Vote NO on 112 and YES on this one just in case 112 does pass.
  • Property value will be harmed by government action.
  • Vote YES
  • CI says Vote YES

75        Campaign Contributions

  • Outside Democratic supporting groups spend more than the Republicans right now.
  • Vote NO says Kim.
  • CI says YES
  • Eric says YES

1A        Property tax increase of $15 Million + over five years

  • Funds four local initiatives: wildfire mitigation, mental health & suicide prevention, infrastructure repairs, early childhood education, recycling and waste diversion.
  • Though these are admirable causes, this is a big bill that the county commissioners are trying to push through. There have been many letters to the editor on this topic, urging a No vote to force the county to split these issues into separate bills and be more transparent about how the money would be spent.

Vote NO

Trump’s List: 289 accomplishments in just 20 months, ‘relentless’ promise-keeping

By Paul Bedard, October 12, 2018, Washington Examiner

The Trump administration’s often overlooked list of achievements has surpassed those of former President Ronald Reagan at this time and more than doubled since the last tally of accomplishments after his first year in office, giving President Trump a solid platform to run for re-election on.

As Trump nears the two-year mark of his historic election and conducts political rallies around the country, during which he talks up his wins in hopes it will energize Republican voters, the administration has counted up 289 accomplishments in 18 categories, capped by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

They include 173 major wins, such as adding more than 4 million jobs, and another 116 smaller victories, some with outsize importance, such as the 83 percent one-year increase in arrests of MS-13 gang members.

“Trump’s successes in reducing the cost of taxes and regulations, rebuilding our military, avoiding wars of choice and changing the courts rival those of all previous Republican presidents,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

“Trump has an advantage over Ronald Reagan: He has a Reagan Republican House and Senate while Reagan had a [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill House and a pre-Reagan Republican Senate. Reagan and [former GOP Speaker] Newt Gingrich were the ice breakers that allowed Trump’s victories to grow in number and significance,” he added.

Unlike the Year One list which included many proposals and orders still to be acted on, the new collection includes dozens of actions already in place, signed legislation, and enforced executive orders.

Unemployment Rates for States under the Trump/Republican Administration

Unemployment Rates for States under the Trump/Republican Administration

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment Rates for States, Seasonally Adjusted
State August 2018(p) Rank
Hawaii 2.1 1
Iowa 2.5 2
North Dakota 2.6 3
New Hampshire 2.7 4
Idaho 2.8 5
Nebraska 2.8 5
Vermont 2.8 5
Colorado 2.9 8
Minnesota 2.9 8
South Dakota 3 10
Virginia 3 10
Wisconsin 3 10
Utah 3.1 13
Maine 3.2 14
Kansas 3.3 15
Missouri 3.3 15
South Carolina 3.4 17
Indiana 3.5 18
Arkansas 3.6 19
Massachusetts 3.6 19
Montana 3.6 19
Tennessee 3.6 19
Florida 3.7 23
Oklahoma 3.7 23
Georgia 3.8 25
Oregon 3.8 25
Delaware 3.9 27
North Carolina 3.9 27
Texas 3.9 27
Wyoming 3.9 27
Rhode Island 4 31
Alabama 4.1 32
Illinois 4.1 32
Michigan 4.1 32
Pennsylvania 4.1 32
California 4.2 36
Maryland 4.2 36
New Jersey 4.2 36
New York 4.2 36
Connecticut 4.3 40
Kentucky 4.4 41
Nevada 4.5 42
Washington 4.5 42
Arizona 4.6 44
New Mexico 4.6 44
Ohio 4.6 44
Mississippi 4.8 47
Louisiana 5 48
West Virginia 5.3 49
District of Columbia 5.6 50
Alaska 6.7 51

Hispanic/Latino Unemployment Rates – Lowest in History Under President Trump and Republicans

Graphs and Charts from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data extracted on: October 4, 2018 (12:49:06 PM)

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate – Hispanic or Latino
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Ethnic origin:       Hispanic or Latino

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008 6.3 6.2 6.9 7.1 6.9 7.6 7.5 8.0 8.0 8.8 8.7 9.4
2009 10.1 11.3 11.7 11.4 12.3 12.1 12.5 13.0 12.6 12.8 12.4 12.8
2010 12.9 12.7 12.9 12.5 12.0 12.3 12.2 12.0 12.3 12.3 12.9 12.9
2011 12.3 11.8 11.6 11.9 11.6 11.5 11.2 11.2 11.2 11.3 11.2 11.1
2012 10.7 10.9 10.6 10.3 10.9 10.9 10.2 10.1 9.7 10.0 9.9 9.6
2013 9.7 9.7 9.3 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.4 9.2 8.8 9.1 8.7 8.3
2014 8.3 8.2 7.9 7.3 7.7 7.7 7.7 7.4 6.8 6.8 6.6 6.4
2015 6.7 6.8 6.8 6.9 6.8 6.7 6.9 6.6 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.2
2016 5.9 5.4 5.6 6.2 5.6 5.9 5.4 5.6 6.4 5.7 5.7 5.9
2017 5.9 5.6 5.1 5.2 5.2 4.8 5.1 5.1 5.1 4.8 4.8 4.9
2018 5.0 4.9 5.1 4.8 4.9 4.6 4.5 4.7        

Fact Sheet – Booming Economy under President Trump!

Fact Sheet:

The Economy is booming under President Trump and the Republican Party, creating jobs, wage growth, and personal wealth.

  1. The unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent in August.
  2. The unemployment rates for Hispanics/Latinos, Blacks, and Asians are the lowest in history.
  3. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent) and Hispanics (4.7 percent).
  4. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit record highs more than 80 times under President Trump/Republicans, including closing higher than 26,000 points for the first time in history. This benefits most individual retirement plans, pension plans, and individual investors.
  5. Since President Trump’s election, more than $5 trillion in wealth has been created for the U.S. economy.
  1. President Trump signed an Executive Order that expanded apprenticeships, recognizing the need for more quality alternatives to four-year college degrees. The Executive Order set in motion a new process that makes it easier for businesses to create apprenticeship programs, providing many more Americans access to an affordable education that leads to a well-paying job.
  2. The Trump Administration prioritized the economic empowerment of women as a key element of its commitment to economic growth and gender equality. This year, the Small Business Administration loaned approximately $500 million more than last year in capital to women-owned businesses.
  3. President Trump has rolled back unnecessary job-killing regulations. In 2017, President Trump far exceeded his promise to eliminate regulations at a two-to-one ratio, issuing 22 deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action. This has led to business growth and jobs.
  4. Under President Trump’s leadership, Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hard-working Americans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
  • Is the first major tax reform signed in 30 years.
  • Federal revenues are increasing as the economy grows. April 2018 had a record surplus of $214 billion.
  • Over 500 companies have announced bonuses, wage increases, and new investments.
  • Businesses have invested $482 billion in new, American projects and employees.
  • More than 4.8 million workers received increased wages or bonuses (3.7 percent of all private workers).
  • Provided $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to individuals.
  • American families received $3.2 trillion in gross tax cuts and saw the child tax credit double.
  • A family of four making $73,000 will get a cut of over $2,000-cutting their taxes in half.
  • Nearly doubled the standard deduction.
  • Repealed Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate
  1. President Trump and the Republican Party are unleashing economic growth and jobs. During Trump’s first year, nearly 3 million new jobs were created since January 2017 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the first time below 4 percent in 18 years.
  • The manufacturing industry has created more than 300,000 jobs.
  • 337,000 construction jobs have been created since President Trump took office, and construction employment stands at its highest level since June 2008.
  • Fourteen states reached record low unemployment rates.
  • Job openings have reached 6.6 million, the highest level recorded. This competition should drive wage growth.
  • Jobless claims reached the lowest level in 45 years (1973).
  • The number of people dependent on food stamps has fallen by 2.6 million or 6.2 percent since January 2017.
  • The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is running at the lowest level in 45 years.
  • The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has averaged 3 percent growth the last three quarters. At the end of July, it was 4.2 percent. Under President Obama, GDP averaged 1.9 percent.

Employment Data

From Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, August 2018

The unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent in August.

  1. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent) and Hispanics (4.7 percent).
  2. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) is 1.3 million. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 403,000.
  3. Professional and business service added 519,000 jobs over the year.
  4. Health care has added 301,000 jobs over the year.
  5. Wholesale trade employment increase by 99,000 over the year.
  6. Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 173,000 over the past 12 months.
  7. Mining employment has added 104,000 since October 2016, almost entirely in support activities for mining.
  8. Employment in construction has increased by 297,000 over the year.
  9. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls has increased by 77 cents or 2.9 percent.

The Blue Bubble will Burst – Election forecaster, Dr. Gerard Lameiro


Forget the Blue Wave, Will Even the Blue Bubble Burst in November?

As I have predicted many times before, there is not going to be a Blue Wave, a Blue Ripple or even a Blue Drip in November; but now, the Democratic Party might even see their Blue Bubble burst in key Congressional Districts (CDs) around the country. That’s right. Blue Bubbles now exist in some Blue Congressional Districts. These are CDs that the so-called Establishment experts think are likely to go Blue this November. The so-called experts have written off the chance of any Republican winning in these districts because they have been in Democratic hands for years, possibly decades.


The Blue Bubble will burst in a number of key Congressional Districts around the country. I’m going to name a few races worth watching closely. Republican candidates in these CDs might surprise the pundits and pull off victories.

California’s CD 16 – Elizabeth Heng

This Central Valley California Congressional District that includes Fresno is deemed to be solidly Democratic. The Democratic incumbent Jim Costa is thought by most experts to coast to an easy victory. But, America has moved into a new Conservative Era as described in my 2016 book Great News for America.

I predict Elizabeth Heng will pull off a surprise victory. Heng is an enthusiastic, conservative who supports President Trump and his policies such as immigration reform. She’s on the right side of national issues. Plus, she’s also on the right side of local issues – most notably, getting water to San Joaquin Valley farmers , something the Leftists in California don’t want to do despite farmers important and obvious need for water.

While her opponent has more funding than Heng, I think her funding will likely be adequate to win her race.

Count this as one more seat for the Republicans.

Colorado’s CD 2 – Peter Yu

Much like Elizabeth Heng in California, Peter Yu will shock the national experts when he takes this Colorado Congressional District away from the Democrats. This CD covers Larimer and Boulder counties in northern Colorado and the seat is currently held by Jared Polis, who is giving up the seat to run in the Colorado gubernatorial race against Walker Stapleton. Peter Yu is also an energetic and enthusiastic, rock solid conservative, who completely supports President Trump.  He has an infectious optimistic vision.

Despite the current fund-raising edge the Democrats have in this CD and despite the Democratic Party voting edge in this Congressional District, Peter Yu will show that money and voter registrations can not guarantee a House seat.

The Democratic candidate has received funding for his race from the unpopular Nancy Pelosi and Planned Parenthood. But, possibly, a bigger factor in this race is the #WalkAwayMovement and Democrats and Independents-Who-Usually-Vote-As-Democrats, who have swallowed the “red pill’ and are now supporting the successful pro-economic growth and pro-freedom agenda of President Trump.

It’s interesting that there is a libertarian flavor to the Left in many CDs – that is moving in Peter Yu’s direction as well.

Peter Yu is working hard to let voters in CD-2 know his pro-economic growth, pro-freedom, pro-Trump stands.

With more funding, count this has an upset victory and one more seat in the House for the Republican Party. A visit by President Trump will allow President Trump to count on another loyal supporter in Congress.

The Formula that Candidates are Using to Burst the Blue Bubble

There are several key factors that are coming together to burst the Blue Bubble in key Congressional Districts. They include:

  • Strong support for President Trump and his policy agenda
  • An optimistic vision for the CD and the nation
  • Emphasis on pro-growth economic policies and current President Trump successes
  • Emphasis on pro-freedom agenda
  • Contrasting the positive conservative agenda and Trump track record versus the dismal agenda of the Leftists and socialists –
    • Eliminate ICE – complete open borders to allow in drugs and gangs and some criminals
    • Medicare-For-All – at a cost in excess of $35 Trillion
    • High-High Taxes and Burdensome Regulations
    • Impeach an Effective and Popular President

There is no Blue Wave, no Blue Ripple, and no Blue Drip coming this year. Now, even some of the isolated Blue Bubbles are bursting too.

The Conservative Era continues to grow!


Peter Yu Rocks! Message from Garnett Payne, Summit Chair for Peter Yu for Congress

Peter Yu is rockin and rollin the campaign trail!

He continues to get great reviews for his presentations and Q& As. Unfortunately, his liberal competitor keeps turning down invitations for a face to face debate with Peter. That includes turning down Club 20 and the upcoming Summit County Chamber event! (He did accept one invitation, at a school this week in Loveland. 🤔)

At the recent  Club 20 event in Grand Junction and the Larimer County Lincoln Day Dinner he was a big hit! In fact,  the guest speaker was the election forecaster, Dr.GerardLameiro. He spent about 5 minutes talking about his prediction of Peter winning CD 2  and Peter says “The room went crazy”!  Dr. Lameiro  wrote about his prediction on his blog about the race.

Peter will be in Summit in October to meet and greet voters at our post offices and rec centers. When the dates are confirmed, I’ll send out an invitation to participate. Meanwhile, he is investing in a micro marketing  strategy to target voters based on issues they are warm to, e.g. based on web searches people have done on open WiFi networks. It’s so critical that we get out to vote, and that we sway unaffiliated voters in the district. Peter is bringing more and more voters over to his side with every contact he makes!


Marketing takes money, and as Dr. Lamiero said in his blog, Peter is seriously underfunded compared to his left wing competitor. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING!

Pick up  yard signs, bumper stickers and campaign literature at our central committee meeting next Monday.

Review his Facebook posts and share!

Not on FB?

Review his website and share video clips of Peter on issues.

Write a letter to the editor supporting Peter specially and/or espousing the horrors of the socialist agenda supported by Neguse.

Thanks for your support.

What’s at Stake in Summit County Sheriff’s race – Testimony of Former Summit County Sheriff Deputy/Detective

Frightening Sheriff’s Race
The democrat canvassers are out knocking on doors for the November election and I am disgusted by what they are telling the voters.
When discussing the Sheriff’s race in Summit County, the canvasser said, “The other choice is really frightening,” alluding to Republican Candidate for Sheriff, Derek Woodman. Really, frightening? Really?
Derek Woodman represents Dedication, Proven Leadership, Integrity, Loyalty and Experience.
Let me tell you what’s really frightening; the current democrat in the office of Sheriff, Jaime (John, Jack) FitzSimons, and his sketchy history.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons was kicked out of high school, not just once, but twice! First from a Catholic Parochial School, and then University High School.
It’s really frightening that Jamie FitzSimons is a drug/alcohol addict who spent time in Sierra Tucson rehabilitation center in Tucson Arizona, only to relapse numerous times.
It’s really frightening that the LAPD was called on several occasions for domestic violence complaints against Jaime FitzSimons.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons was sued for the death of his mistress, Nadine Arango.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons was sued for sexual harassment by his subordinates.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons has had several extra-marital affairs.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons, after being ordered by his commanders at LAPD to stay away from his subordinate, girlfriend, Nadine Arango, he continued pursuing their relationship and stalking Nadine Arango.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons was fired from LAPD for insubordination, misconduct and failure to follow direct orders.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons was with a movie crew and refused to fly back to Summit County when the community he is supposed to protect and serve was going up in flames
It’s really frightening that there has been an 80% turnover in the sheriff’s office since Jaime FitzSimons has been in office.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons continues to be dishonest with the Summit County community.
It’s really frightening that Jaime FitzSimons is dodging responsibility regarding the deaths of jail inmates, James Durkee, Zachary Moffit, and Jacqueline Bickford by lying and stating in the November 17, 2017 SDN article that he was a deputy at the time of the incidents and not involved in the jail, when in fact he was a captain for the sheriff’s office (which he stated in the SDN article on April 10, 2008).
Summit County! Get informed! Ask questions, get honest answers. Do your research! Jaime FitzSimons is NOT the right person to be the Summit County Sheriff!
Make the right choice in November and vote DEREK WOODMAN for Summit County Sheriff.

Jenkins Franklin
Former Summit County Sheriff Deputy/Detective


A few weeks ago, Jack Minzey, sent what was to be the final chapter in the long line of books and treatises which he had written.
Jack went to be with the Lord on 8 April 2018.

Professionally, Jack was head of the Department of Education at Eastern Michigan University as well as a prolific author of numerous books, most of which were on the topic of Education and the Government role therein. His interest in Conservative Politics was exceeded only by his intellectual ability.

This is the last of his works:

Civil War

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that.
But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war.
Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrat’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.
If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has ‘discretion’ to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the ‘discretion’ to reverse him. That’s how the game is played That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.

Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding:
Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an ‘insurance policy’ against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win did.

Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.

Mike Mason Profile – Candidate House District 61 – Hemp acreage grows by leaps and bounds

By Pat Sunderland
Published: Published September 5, 2018

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the regulatory agency for the cultivation of industrial hemp, nearly 1,200 acres have been registered for the growth of hemp in Delta County. An additional 104,282 square feet of indoor space is registered for hemp.

Ty Odle, Western Slope Extractions, reports that acreage might have been higher had growers not faced the uncertainty of water to irrigate their crops this year. “The drought kept quite a few people from growing, knowing they would likely run out of water early,” Odle said.

Located on Rogers Mesa, Western Slope Extractions is one of several hemp processing facilities in Delta County.

Odle started his business a year and a half ago with the goal of providing a local option for growers looking for someone to extract CBD oil from their hemp. “There’s a lot more hemp being grown this year … a lot more than last year, and I think it’s here to stay. The demand for CBD products is growing fast.”

So fast, Odle says, he and his three employees could be selling more oil to clients who are looking for large quantities.

He explains there are two sides to hemp. The first is fiber, for which farmers need to grow hundreds of acres. Because hemp can be labor intensive, no one in Delta County is into that kind of volume yet, he said. Then there are the high CBD strains used to produce salves, tinctures and gel caps.

Harvest will be ramping up throughout the month of September, with the peak occurring in October. Odle explains the hemp is harvested by hand, after the grower has verified the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration does not exceed three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.

After the plants are harvested, they’re dried and stripped of the buds and leaves, which are sent to a processing facility like Odle’s. Some processors buy the product outright; others do a split, meaning they keep a portion of the oil in exchange for their services.

Most new growers — meaning most of the folks Odle works with — don’t have the contacts to sell their oil once it’s been extracted, so he helps with that aspect as well. He also provides a “white label” program, making retail products for the growers to sell themselves.

Mike Mason counts himself as one of the growers who is still learning and expects to keep learning as the hemp industry changes “before our very eyes.”

“The demand for CBD oil is through the roof,” Mason said. “The processors can’t get enough.”

He said he’s been visited by a processor from the Front Range, and from California investors who would like to help him expand his operation. But he’s content to grow his operation slowly, learning as he goes and keeping risk at a minimum.

“If you want to do this, do an acre,” he recommends. “That’s more than enough to get your feet wet. Learn with that before you commit to 40 acres.”

Mason said five acres is as large as he’s willing to go, due largely to the cost of plants but also taking into account how labor intensive hemp can be.

He said he wound up pulling weeds by hand, so next year he’ll be looking for an easier option. Some growers lay down plastic in the rows between plants, but he’s seen the wind pick up the plastic, along with the drip system, and whip it around through the plants.

While hemp can be very hardy, there are big risks. Seeds are hard to come by and may have unknown THC levels; clones can run $5 apiece. You can put too much nitrogen on your plants and wind up killing them. When it comes to finding someone to refine your product, you have to find a reputable handler. “There are definitely risks involved,” Mason said, “but the biggest is keeping the right THC balance.”

He and other growers would like to see the THC level raised to 1 percent. “Then almost all varieties would pass and we wouldn’t have to harvest early,” Mason said, explaining that the higher the THC, the higher the level of CBD oil.

There’s currently a lot of research going into plant varieties, with the goal of keeping the THC low while maximizing the CBD levels. The latest thing from Oregon is a variety known as “cherry wine,” a variety that Mason plans to start indoors over the winter. “There’s a whole lot of energy going into hemp, and what you can do with it,” he said.

So why is CBD oil in such high demand?

“It’s growing by leaps and bounds because it’s so effective,” Mason said.

“My personal experience is having had stage four renal cell caricinoma. The oncologist prescribed narcotics for the intense pain. CBD oil allowed me to reduce the amount of narcotics to control the pain.”

CBD oil is also touted as an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, inflammation from arthritis, sleep disorders … even acne (

“There has to be something to it or the demand would not have skyrocketed,” Mason said. “And all of this is without massive advertising campaigns, just word of mouth.”