Kristin Wynn of Citizens for Clean Air Grand Junction reported that her group has not received responses to questionnaires they sent to City Council candidates Mark McCallister, Kraig Andrews, Jody Green, and Greg Haitz. Nor did any of these candidates bother to respond to a short questionnaire from the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley and none of them participated in the City Council Candidate Forums organized by the Western Colorado Alliance, which were held virtually on Zoom.
So why are these four candidates dodging public forums and refusing to answer City residents’ questions? And what do they all have in common that the other four candidates don’t?
For one thing, they are all endorsed by the local right-wing extremist group “Stand for the Constitution,” who calls the slate of them “our candidates.”
What is “Stand for the Constitution”?
Stand for the Constitution is an anti-American government group that opposes wearing face masks and educating students about topics like gender and racial equity. The group supports Q-Anon-type ideologies, like the outlandish Bidens-as-pedophiles conspiracy theories, and seeks to advance what they call “election integrity” — the buzz phrase that serves as a dog whistle for the Big Lie that there was massive fraud the 2020 election and Trump really won. It’s the same misguided ideology that caused Trump supporters to lead a violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol January 6 that killed five people, including a police officer.
Stand for the Constitution claims to support the “rule of law,” but played host to one of the country’s most notorious law breakers at one of its recent events.
The group announced March 11 that on March 13 it would be hosting Ammon Bundy as a speaker, describing the event on their Facbook page as “a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear this wonderful Patriot.”
But Bundy is no patriot, and he is one of the most notorious lawbreakers around.
Bundy orchestrated two armed standoffs against the U.S. government in Oregon over grazing rights, and in August of 2020 the Idaho Police arrested Ammon Bundy twice within the span of two days for trespassing, obstructing and resisting officers at a far right-wing protest at the Idaho state capitol building in Boise. The Idaho state government subsequently banned Bundy from entering the State Capitol building for a year.
Stand for the Constitution also hosted local GOP extremist, Cindy Ficklin as a speaker at their July 4, 2020 “Freedom Rally” at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction. In a talk to the mostly un-masked audience at the height of the pandemic, Ficklin railed against masking and contact tracing, said “CDC guidelines for opening schools … are literally formed of human torture and child abuse,” and spread the false narrative that government was forcing vaccines on people. Ficklin has also promoted the idea that the government is using the pandemic as “the perfect way to control the masses.” Some of Ficklin’s family members, co-workers and others who know her well have contacted AnneLandmanblog to express their concern about Ficklin, with all of them using the words like “alarming” and “dangerous” to describe Ficklin, who they see as having gotten “worse” over the years.
Stand for the Constitution’s candidates are worrisome in other ways, too.
In February, The Colorado Times Recorder published an article about Stand for the Constitution’s council candidate Mark McAllister, describing him as a “Former GOP official with a history of racist Facebook posts” who was running for Grand Junction City Council.
The article cited many posts like this one, backing up their statement that he is racist:
The idea of electing an overt racist to City Council would probably be daunting to even many mainstream Republican voters in town.
Jody Green told the Daily Sentinel that he is running for City Council because God asked him to, and he writes for himself he appears to be barely literate — which could prove to be a problem if he became a city councilor, since he would have to be able to read and analyze hundreds of pages of reports, draft ordinances, legal opinions and analyses, contracts and correspondence as part of the job.
The four City Council candidates that “Stand for the Constitution” embraces and claims as their own may be failing to answer questions and be no-shows at so many events because they have a hard time talking in front of more diverse crowds that would likely be insulted by some of the views they express, if they are able to adequately express their views at all. They may also lack answers to more in-depth questions about topics like air quality, environmental concerns, racial justice, acceptance of people less like them and other topics that hard-right extremists may find difficult when talking to people who don’t share their ideology.
In any event, people may not want to vote for divisive, extreme candidates who consider large groups of voters to be unwelcome members of society.
For more on the city council candidates, please read this blog.