Legislators on the Democratic side said to their leaders, “YES! You bet!” Republicans, on the other hand, said, “Maybe, maybe not!”
Cadman herded cats while Hullinghorst had the strong arm of the Governor in her pocket
Cadman’s ‘cat herding cats’ environment contrasted sharply with House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst’s corgi nipping Democratic heels. Hullinghorst had the Governor in her back pocket to press interests. The voting range for House Dems looks like this: 363 Yes’s to 3 No’s (Majority leader Crisanta Duran) to 346 Yes’s to 11 No’s (Rep. Dan Pabon).
The spread between Cadman and Marble is 85 NO votes; the spread between Hullinghorst and Pabon is 7 No votes. The Republicans have become the disorganized party.
Three Republican Senators joined Marble in a cohort of frequent No voters: Tim Neville -81 No’s; Jerry Sonnenberg – 74 No’s; and MAJORITY WHIP Randy Baumgardner – 73 No’s.
Even so, Cadman helped pass 359 of the 366 bills that got through both chambers.
Senate Democrats helped Cadman when some GOPers went their own way
On numerous occasions, the Senate President needed Democrats to push bills across the finish line. HB15-1186, increasing the age limit for autistic children to receive services, only had 9 Republican votes. HB15-1215, the in-state tuition dependents of military members, only had 11 Republican votes. HB15-1029, the health care telemedicine bill, only had 10 Republican votes.
Some House bills passed without Cadman’s help, showing independence on the part of the “middle” cohort of the GOP. HB15-1072 expands ‘harassment’ to interactive electronic communications. This bill passed with help from Sens. David Balmer, John Cooke, Larry Crowder, Chris Holbert , Beth Martinez-Humenik, Ellen Roberts and all Senate Democrats.
A somewhat different group of Republican Senators helped pass HB15-1226, a bill to allow annual license fees for food establishments to be set by rule rather than statute. Sens. Kevin Grantham, Owen Hill, Chris Holbert, Beth Martinez-Humenik, and Ellen Roberts joined with Democrats to push that bill through.
Republicans settled into four groups
Cadman could rely on three Senators to vote YES consistently on bills that he got behind: Sen. Ellen Roberts (358 Yes – 8 No), Beth Martinez-Humenik (346 Yes – 9 No), and Mark Scheffel (357 Yes – 9 No).
Another group of four Senate Republicans showed good support, about as much as the Democrats: Sen. Kevin Grantham (349 Yes- 17 No), John Cooke (342 Yes – 19 No), Larry Crowder (346 Yes – 20 No), and David Balmer (312 Yes – 26 No).
Republican swing voters included Sen. Owen Hill (34 No’s), Ray Scott (42 No’s), Chris Holbert (53 No’s), Kent Lambert (53 No’s), Laura Woods (54 No’s), and Kevin Lundberg (57 No’s). And then there were the big No'ers.
A party can’t be in the majority and be more scrambled than the Senate GOP.
10 Republicans voted NO more often than any Senate Democrat
Overall, Cadman received more consistent support from Senate Democrats than from half of his caucus. The most NO votes on passed bills on the Democratic side came from Sen. Matt Jones-Boulder (339 Yes – 27 No’s). Ten Republican Senators, or more than half of the majority, voted No more often than Jones.
Democratic Sen. Michael Johnston-Denver voted most frequently with Cadman on the donkey side, at 342 Yes – 10 No, giving the Senate President more help than 14 GOPers.
Only five Democratic Senators voted No 20 or more times, Minority Leader Morgan Carroll – 20 No’s, Mary Hodge – 21 No’s, Pat Steadman – 21 No’s, Jessie Ulibarri -25 No’s, and Jones – 27 No’s.
House leaders did need Republican votes, occasionally
Three bills that passed the House needed House Republican votes to get them through. HB15-1057 on the initiative process got 30 of its 41 votes from Republican Representatives. The red light camera repeal bill, HB15-1098, got 30 of its 38 YES votes from Republicans to pass it, with 26 Democrats on the NO side. SB15-276, the voter approval for use of red light cameras, wouldn’t have passed without Republican support.
The two red light bills have yet to get the green light from the Governor, so the majority of Democrats voting against those two bills may still win the day.
Otherwise, the Democrats set the House agenda. Bills didn’t pass if leadership didn’t want them to. Democratic discipline left House Republicans swinging strikes and some progressive voters scratching their heads, especially on education issues.
The center held as controversial bills died, except for those pesky red light ones
Both parties managed to kill the bills most offensive to partisans. Cadman had a harder time than Hullinghorst and Duran in rounding up votes to get his agenda done. Especially harsh for Cadman must have been the PI on SB15-268, the offenses against unborn children bill. He squeezed the bill through the Senate 18-17, with all Republicans, including pro-choice Sen. Ellen Roberts, supporting. He lost in the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee, 6-5, when no Democrat would break his way.
Leadership for Senate Minority leader Carroll was straightforward. On many occasions, she just had to get out of the way and watch Republicans sink their own party’s legislation.
On the whole, bills that passed worked from the center, but the center has moved to the right, given that 14 Senators in the Democratic minority party voted more often with the Republican Senate President than 12 Senators in the Republican majority party.
The Colorado 2015 General Assembly postponed indefinitely 295 bills out of 692 for a 43% committee kill rate (excludes resolutions and laid over bills).
Colorado’s House of Representatives wins the “Quentin Tarantino MOST KILLED BILLS” award category in the 2015 session for postponing indefinitely 191 of 392 bills originated in the House, a 49% loss rate.
The Senate ran 290 bills and had 104 of their bills killed in Senate committees for a 36% loss rate. The Senate takes the “LEAST BILLS KILLED” award for its better rate of pushing bills through the both-chamber sausage grinder.
High kill bill rate unique over five years
These PI numbers stand in stark contrast to the 2011 and 2012 sessions when the chambers were split Democratic Senate to Republican House. The 2011 GA PI’ed 224 out of 597 bills for a 38% kill rate, and the 2012 GA PI’ed 196 bills out of 545 for a 36% kill rate.
In the 2013 and 2014 sessions when both chambers were controlled by the Democrats, 2013 saw a total of 156 PI’ed bills out of 613 introduced for a low 25% loss rate. 2014 saw 180 PI’ed bills out of 621 introduced for a 29% PI rate.
Many see 2013 as one of the most contentious sessions with the parade of 2nd amendment/gun bills raising everyone’s blood pressure along with the death penalty, election rules, civil unions, abortion related bills, and marijuana legislation.
Taking the 30,000 feet perspective, one may surmise that civil unions and marijuana controversies have settled into a consensus; the death penalty remains unresolved and unaddressed; 2nd amendment/gun legislation and anti-abortion issues appear finished until Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s office; and changes to election laws benefitted Republicans in 2014.
House takes partisan prize; Senate takes circular firing squad prize
The 2015 House killed the most bills in its committees at 160 to 143 for the Senate. The House did much of its own culling, with 118 House bills killed in House committees for a 71% chambercide rate. The House PI’ed 23 bills with only Dem sponsors.
The Senate killed 71 of its own bills in Senate committees for a 48% chambercide rate. All GOP members sponsored 17 of those bills.
Democrats from the House challenged the Senate on pay equity, end of life, some energy bills, and GLBT conversion therapy, and lost. Republicans in the Senate challenged the House on unborn children and women’s health bills; ammo limits, background checks, and concealed weapons; and a Parents’ Bill of Rights. Those bills lost.
Sen. Beth Humenik-Martinez, R- Adams Cty, voted with Democrats to cut down Sen. Tim Neville’s “Woman’s Right to Accurate Healthcare Information.” Senate President Bill Cadman’s “Offenses against Unborn Children” bill passed on an 18-17 vote in the Senate, but lost on a 6-5 vote in House Committee.
House committees sunk more all GOP-sponsored bills: 71 House bills and 28 Senate bills. Senate committees tanked 39 all Dem-sponsored House bills and 38 all Dem-sponsored Senate bills.
State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committees surpass their reputations
The House and Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs (SVMA) Committees more than lived up to their reputations for trench warfare. The House committee, chaired by Rep. Su Ryden, D-Aurora, spiked 57 bills. The Senate committee, chaired by Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, speared 54 bills.
No other committees came close in the total Kill Bill category. House Appropriations chucked 16 bills and Senate Appropriations shot down 21 bills. House Finance smacked 14 bills; Senate Finance executed 16.
The House Education Committee, led by Rep. John Buckner (D-Aurora) and Rep. Brittney Pettersen (D-Lakewood), killed some of the most contentious bills of the session at 16 to Senate Ed’s 12. HB15-1323, the “compromise education bill,” showed the House’s dominance in education policy.
Statement bills lose
Many SVMA bills in both chambers are “statement” bills. Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, brought the “Veterans Free Admission to State Parks” bill to the House SVMA committee; all eleven members voted to PI the bill. That’s a statement for sure.
The House legislation with least connection to SVMA, in CCW’s judgment, is the “Hunting and Taking of Black Bears and the Wildlife Commission” bill, unless hunting is considered a military affair. HB15-1099, allowing 8 months of bear hunting, was postponed on an 11-0 vote. Bears can continue to roam freely for seven months of the year.
New coalitions form, creating new dynamics
The bills that created the most noise, state-mandated assessment legislation, were not partisan in the typical ways, as alliances comprised legislators from both sides. The “Moms,” education advocates opposed to excessive assessments, come from both parties. Ed reformers come from both parties.
The “Statewide Initiative Process” bill cooked up similar mixed voting cohorts, with Democrats and Republicans joining together on each side.
People who usually never talk to each other formed some passionate connections. Education assessment de-reformers don’t have a path in the legislature for the next three years, given the Democratic House and Governor’s pro education reform position. Whether this mixed political alliance will continue and create new action paths will be the most interesting development to follow into the 2016 election cycle. PEN, CCW
The 2015 General Assembly, as of the last day and despite a tumultuous 2014 election, did not change habits established over the last five years. The people of Colorado will need to wait for the urgency of the pre- or post- 2016 election season to see movement on controversial issues.
The GA introduced more bills than recent sessions at 682. As of the last day, the Governor signed 183 bills and 301 bills were postponed indefinitely.
More bills but same general results as previous years
Of the 682 bills, 391 have bipartisan sponsorship. Legislators postponed indefinitely 84 of those bills, leaving 217 partisan bills biting the dust. (This report doesn’t address laid over bills or other statuses that indicate a lost bill.)
Of 301 postponed bills, 188 originated in the House, 113 in the Senate. The Republican Senate had some pent up hostility to House bills, apparently, because that chamber played lots of whack a mole.
Looking just at the bipartisan segment of postponed bills, the House on House kill number was 21 bills; House on Senate was only 11. The Senate on Senate kill rate was 16 bills, but Senate on House was 36.
House played stopper for the Governor
The House stood as the stopper for Governor John Hickenlooper. Republicans introduced nine “social conservative” bills involving women’s issues that went no where. Seven gun bills took bullets.
The Senate did the heavy lifting on any bill with the word “TAX” in its title, killing 16. Nineteen “TAX” bills are still in play.
Lobbyists out maneuvered citizen activists
Another fixed pattern is the impact of lobbyists v. citizen activists on legislators. While SCR-002, the ballot resolution to establish a 2 step, 2 time initiative election, died, HB15-1057 passed. This bill requires a fiscal note on ballot initiatives for the petition signature process, not just for the initiative election.
The bill has 636 lobbyist reports with most supporting the bill. Oil and gas can take a victory lap, as the bill should impede anti-fracking grassrooters from running multiple initiatives.
Parents objecting to the vast public education assessment system got little for their efforts. Citizens turned up in large numbers for testimony on the two big bills, supporting SB15-257 and opposing HB15-1323, the bills from the Governor and education reformers. These positions were largely opposed by the lobbying community.
Parents not happy with assessment bill
Parents got a nibble from the apple, with some reduction in high school testing and in prek-3rd grade reading. Grades 3-8 will continue to lumber through the same assessment system as before. Education reform lobbyists convinced legislators that the state could lose $360 million in federal funds if elementary and middle school state standardized testing got trimmed. Parents pointed out that the feds would not take away $360 million. At most, $40 million might get diverted for tutoring for kids, and that only after three years of negotiation and assuming No Child Left Behind isn’t changed.
The big testing debate occurred over where in high school some assessment cuts would occur – in ninth grade or tenth grade. The Governor apparently wanted 9th grade testing so that’s what the state will do.
Unfortunately for the parents, testimony from a PARCC consortium consultant didn’t come soon enough. Dr. Derek Briggs testified to the State Board of Education on the same second-to-last-day-of-the-session that the two testing bills were debated. He said that PARCC rushed the testing and that the Pearson tests needed at least three to five years to prove their validity.
Meanwhile, parents continue to express their displeasure with the testing system by voting with their test refusal letters. An interesting coalition of anti-massive- assessment Senators came together to advance a more ambitious bill, but the word on the floor was that the Governor would only sign the amended bill that passed.
Test refusal activists are now working with parents to get them to send their opt out letters this year for next year, so this fight will repeat in 2016.
In a few days, most of the final votes and statuses will be available. The Governor came through the session ostensibly unscathed. Legislators said repeatedly that the messages sent from voters in the 2014 election were heard. The 2016 General Assembly session and election will tell that tale. PEN, CCW 4-6-2015
Tessa Cheek, The Colorado Independent The first day it was four degrees. On the second day, the needle jumped to 15 degrees, and the sign-waving students celebrated. Those two cold days in November, 2014, marked Fairview High School Senior Jessica Piper’s first foray into political activism. Like nearly 80 percent of her classmates, she refused to take the new Colorado Measures of Academic Success standardized test.
This year’s vibrant testing-opt-out trend has motivated lawmakers to advance several testing reform bills including one that would protect schools and students from punishment for low test-participation rates. Now, the State Legislature is scrambling to pass these bills in the session’s final weeks.
“I took a bunch of sample CMAS tests, and they didn’t feel accurate to my education,” said Piper. “Then I realized the state wanted to use these tests not just to evaluate me, but my teachers and my school. If the tests are flawed, the data is flawed, and we can’t make good decisions about public education if we can’t get them to understand that the tests and the evaluation system are flawed and that maybe we need to get a better one.”
Piper argues that the state’s nearly 30 hours of standardized assessments take up too much instruction time. They cover content that privileges larger schools and tilt the scale in favor of wealthy kids who are more computer literate.
Piper’s school district, Boulder Valley, had the highest opt-out rates in the state last year — a whopping 80 percent districtwide.
The opt-out trend doesn’t cleave to partisan, economic or regional lines. The second highest rates are from the rural Meeker District on the Western Slope, where half the students chose not to take the tests. Conservative, suburban Douglas County placed third, with just under half the students opting out.
Piper said that because her district actually requested a waiver not to give the CMAS tests at all, securing her opt-out was easy.
“I talked to other high-schoolers at the time who took the test. They were told prom would be canceled if too many of them opted-out,” said Piper. “In our case as students we were in a position to opt-out without consequences. In that sense, we were in a position of power.”
The legislature is now considering a clarification bill that would guarantee students’ right to opt-out without consequences to themselves, their teachers, their schools or their districts. SB 223 has already passed in the Senate and will receive its first hearing in the House Education Committee today.
The bill’s sponsors’ maintain that the measure is not intended to encourage students to opt-out, only to make sure their schools are held harmless.
“In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be necessary,” agreed Piper. “But given the controversy around testing right now, re-asserting the right to opt out is imperative.”
While the bill has bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, it may not pass its crucial final test – the Governor’s signature.
In a joint press conference with former Colorado governors Bill Owens and Roy Romer, Gov. John Hickenlooper said he has “great concerns” with the opt-out phenomenon and with any legislative action that would facilitate it.
“The way a testing system works is if everyone uses it,” said Hickenlooper. “If large segments of our population in one district or another suddenly decide they’re not going to take the test, you really invalidate the value of that test and make it impossible for parents to know if they’re getting a fair share of the tax dollars they’re spending.”
That said, Hickenlooper declined to disclose whether or not he plans to veto the opt-out immunity bill, saying he’ll wait to see the final version.
In that same press conference, Hickenlooper also offered hints as to which of the bipartisan test-reform bills circulating in the legislature he might be most likely to sign.
One measure, SB 257, would allow districts to choose from a variety of standardized tests so long as they meet the federal minimums for K-12 evaluations. The bill would also remove standardized testing requirements for ninth graders.
Piper said she prefers that bill to a softer House version because it would create more competition between companies designing standardized tests.
Romer, who instituted some of Colorado’s first standardized tests back in the late 1990’s, vehemently opposed the proposed high-school test cuts. He said it was “nonsensical” to slash tests for ninth graders who are just beginning their high-school education and need to prepare for the rigors of college.
“I still look at ninth grade as being an important component,” agreed Hickenlooper. “We’re spending billions of dollars a year educating our kids, and suddenly, with this one year we don’t really care if they’ve improved… how they’re doing relative to one school district or another, one part of the state to another? It seems a little bit disingenuous.”
That may be good news for the House’s answer to the test-reform debate. Their HB 1323, which also has bipartisan support, would cut tests for the last two years of high school but retain English and Math testing in ninth grade.
With just eight days left in the legislative session, both the Senate and House test-reform bills still face a final vote in their chamber of origin and passage by the other chamber before final consideration by the Governor himself.
Ernest Luning, The Colorado Statesman
Three months after being sworn in, Secretary of State Wayne Williams has mostly stayed out of the news, and that’s the way he likes it.
It’s a marked contrast from Williams’s predecessor, fellow Republican Scott Gessler, an election law attorney who embraced the nickname “honey badger,” a varmint known for the relentlessness of its attack. Where Gessler seemingly courted controversy — and was the target of one complaint after another from Democrats — Williams is taking a more conciliatory approach, working closely with county clerks across the state and stressing his office’s mission providing services to voters, businesses and nonprofit groups.
“The role, once you’re in there, isn’t about which party you’re in, it’s how you serve the citizens,” Williams said in an interview with The Colorado Statesman. “There are some things I might do differently than another individual, but I try to work very hard to make sure this government office operates the way we would if we were trying to attract customers.”
Secretary of State Wayne Williams is working to unify the states’ election systems before the 2016 presidential election.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
The reviews of Williams have been glowing from officials and activists alike, including some who routinely clashed with Gessler at nearly every turn.
“Wayne is trying to mend a lot of the broken relationships that happened in the previous administration between the clerks and the secretary of state’s office,” said Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson, a Democrat. “More important, though, is how he is listening to what the clerks need,” she said, adding that she has “great conversations, a great working relationship” with Williams.
Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, a Republican, sounded a similar note.
“Wayne has really made an effort to rebuild the relationship between the secretary’s office and the clerks,” he said. “It has to be a partnership between the clerks and the secretary, and I think that’s been lost over the last few years.” Williams, Crane said, is taking a collaborative approach when it comes to drafting legislation and rules, working to “come up with solutions that make sense for everybody.”
That Williams is patching up relations with clerks might not come as a huge surprise — he was El Paso County clerk when he ran last fall, the first time in the state’s history that a sitting clerk has been elected secretary of state — but he’s winning rare praise even from typically critical quarters.
“There’s a lot more communication,” said Elena Nuñez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause. “Secretary Williams has been willing to sit down and find common ground when we can do that, and that’s a great approach coming from the secretary of state’s office.”
She pointed to a bill — Senate Bill 15-060 — that Common Cause originally opposed but, after working on amendments with Williams’s office, the organization was eventually “excited to support it, thanks to the secretary’s leadership,” she said. “I think it will result in better legislation going forward.” (The bill, which has passed both chambers unanimously, allows residents to update their voter registration when they update driver’s licenses.)
“We’ve tried to concentrate our efforts in the Legislature on those issues that have a good chance of passing,” Williams said, acknowledging that most of the legislation his office has worked on this year amounts to “cleaning up around the edges.” The split majorities in the Legislature, he added, encourage practical compromise.
Also included on his office’s legislative agenda are a bill allowing voters to opt out of receiving a mail ballot and potentially a proposal for the state to help pay for 24-7 ballot drop boxes in counties that might not be able to afford it. (The cost can run as high as $10,000 for sites that don’t already have surveillance cameras installed.)
Williams has also put together a bipartisan task force to study questions about how poll watchers can operate in elections conducted mostly by mail ballot, a response to a bill that died earlier this session “because it wasn’t quite ready yet,” he said.
Down the road, Williams said he wants to figure out a constitutional amendment to run on next year’s ballot to resolve conflicts between requirements for military and overseas voters and constitutional deadlines for recall elections.
“We’ll work with the Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee to say how we write this in a way that doesn’t mess with recalls one way or the other, but changes the deadline so you don’t have a law that says you send out ballots 45 days ahead of time and a constitution that says you only know who the candidates are 15 days ahead of time,” he said. “We ought not to put a clerk in the position of having to choose which law to violate.”
Ahead could be a change to reduce statutory requirements for the number of voting sites in some counties. “Since we’re sending everyone a mail ballot, the idea is you don’t need as many sites, and that’s certainly the way voting trends are headed,” he said, noting that more than 75 percent of voters who didn’t cast mail ballots showed up on Election Day and half the remainder voted the day before. “Some counties — El Paso, Jefferson and Arapahoe — had to have a dozen sites for 100 people” in the weeks before Election Day, he said. “Should there be an in-person option? Sure, but do you need that many?”
But like other potential changes, that one might have to wait until after next year, when the state conducts a presidential election, Williams said.
“The eyes of the nation may be upon Colorado. If the election’s close, Colorado is likely to be a key factor deciding it,” he said with a rueful smile. “If the election’s not close, the clerks rest very easy.”
But there’s no way to tell in advance, so Williams is moving ahead with plans to pick a uniform voting system for the state. The effort, begun under Gessler, will replace the hodgepodge of voting systems accrued by counties over the past couple decades, including some that use operating systems that are no longer supported and others that lack basic functions, such as automatic feeds for ballot counting machines.
Denver is piloting one system in its upcoming municipal election and as many as five vendors could participate in test runs around the state in November. After that, a pilot-review committee will assess the performances and make recommendations so that counties that want to replace their systems can do so before next year’s primary election.
“The notion is to come up with one system statewide, but the committee might come up with a different recommendation. They might say that in small counties, this one works best, in large counties this works best. The downside with a patchwork of voting systems, like we have right now, is when you have a complete turnover of everybody in your clerk’s office, if your system’s not the same as your neighbor’s, who’s going to help? And how do you write a regulation that covers how you run something if there’s 16 different ways of doing things in the state?” Williams said.
“We want to make sure that when it comes time for the 2016 election that we’re ready,” he said, noting that there are 18 new clerks around the state and likely to be 20 by the time next fall rolls around. “That’s a third of our clerks. We want to make sure we provide the support for them that they need and they’re ready to run this very challenging election.”
He said that intensive training with clerks and their staff is starting this spring, emphasizing the importance of solving problems with elections before they happen. “It’s the most visible thing a clerk does,” he said. “If I get your motor vehicle registration wrong, I have time to fix it. If I get the election wrong, I don’t.”
While Williams is winning praise for his approach, there’s still disagreement over some election policy, such as his contention that some voters should provide photo identification when they register or vote. Williams said he supports changing the law to require photo I.D. for those who register during the window when ballots are out, although anyone without a photo I.D. could register before that.
“I think you need to have that protection, that security there,” he said. “We want to make sure that everyone who can legally vote is allowed to vote. But we want to have that protection so the integrity’s safe as well, there’s that balance.”
Nuñez said that Common Cause and Williams “are in very different places” when it comes to photo I.D., though Johnson opened a door to working with Williams to find common ground.
“Voter I.D. keeps coming up every year,” Johnson said. She’s been talking with other clerks about the question. “Let’s be on the forefront with this. It’s not going to go away. I think we need to sit down and have that conversation.” Pointing out that the list of acceptable identification was concocted years ago, she added, “How do we expand it? How do we tighten it? Those are the things we need to talk about.”
Williams also points out that, while elections might be the most visible activity his office conducts, other work dominates the secretary of state’s operations, including overseeing bingo games and raffles, certifying notaries and providing something called an apostille, a document authenticating birth certificates and marriage licenses, typically for foreign governments. And it’s performing those tasks, he said, where partisanship disappears.
“I was elected as a county commissioner as a Republican, but once you’re there, you serve everybody. If someone called up and said my road hasn’t been plowed yet, I never pulled up that person’s voter registration. The roads had no party affiliation.”
It’s the same conducting business in his new position, Williams said.
“We’re trying to make it so it’s easy to set up a business, easy to set up a nonprofit, easy to employ people, easy to provide aid to the community, so that government can be the help, as opposed to the hindrance,” he said. “The motto here is helping people achieve the American Dream.”