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Calandra Vargas: Courage and Constitutionality

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   There’s a revolving door in Washington. One elected officeholder’s go in, yet come out with legislative agendas still stored in memory on hardware inside their rolling laptop bags. Voided campaign promises and buckled leadership, they’re better known as the Republican Congressional majority that swept the 2014 Midterms; an election that was supposed to mean something.

   Republican candidate for Congress in Colorado’s 5th District, Calandra Vargas doesn’t settle for, or accept political party dysfunction.

   The crispness in Vargas’s message is knowing the landscape she’ll represent, an aggregate understanding of Conservative values, and true belief it is her duty to serve. That taking the best of Colorado to DC is more than a job, but a calling to pass along the working values and community spirit that define who she is and where she’s from. “My constituents will expect me to vote according to the policy priorities and values of our district [military, business, agriculture]. My constituents will also expect me to be an outspoken leader, to build a team with like-minded conservatives in DC, and to work hard to be an effective legislator.”

   An advocate in redefining the brand, Vargas is also committed to helping other Republicans get elected. On the national level, she strongly believes the GOP has to “articulate our values in a way that restores trust with voters and encourages more participation.”

   “Our current Republican Party is mostly composed of an older demographic that has never had to face the challenges that our generation has,” Vargas says, “and so they may not feel a need to or know how to reach out to younger Americans. Social attitudes will always shift; Republicans can use that to their advantage or they can refuse to adapt and miss opportunities that the Left will certainly capitalize on.”

   Reaching out in the public arena, Vargas believes women being prepared to fight for Conservative principles and providing them the tools needed in leadership roles in government is intrinsic, “The Left is going hard after the women’s vote and are succeeding because the Republicans have not had the foresight or political will to stand behind strong women.”

   As the media distorts reality and purposely downplays each Hillary Clinton impropriety, Vargas acknowledges that younger Americans may not have the knowledge to see through a woman like Clinton, yet they want to support equal rights and the first woman President so they will vote for her, adding, “what if there were more representatives like me who aren’t afraid to confront liberal women and give a different option to voters about views on women’s issues.”IMG_1945

   A 2014 Pew Institute Survey listed only 30% of millennials champion Republican values. Vargas believes she’s a voice that will help millennials distinguish not only where they stand politically, but their curiosity in answering serious questions like ‘what is the proper role of government?’

   Colorado politics is an intricate weave of ideological and sociological diversity. In a state with an image of being rural, one of the hardest sells to alliance-building was hot button topic, Colorado Amendment 64; the legalization of marijuana in January 2014 and the fallout/fall-in since.

    “Marijuana is a huge and complicated issue that Republicans cannot ignore or think that by being against marijuana that it will suddenly become illegal again,” Vargas says, “the majority of Colorado voters approve of marijuana, especially medical, and we need to pursue a realistic path forward from a regulatory point of view.”

   Her June 28th primary opponent Doug Lamborn, characterizes the kind of career politician Vargas vows never to become, an elected representative not only prone to pandering but possessing the kind of political gaffes that would make even Joe Biden proud. Lamborn, always a big PAC money recipient, has the notorious distinction of having once paid himself the interest from a campaign account.

   Vargas has strong views on America’s veterans, allocating more resources to their physical and mental rehabilitation. She is critical of Lamborn’s recent vote not allowing veterans access to medical marijuana. “Lamborn missed a huge leadership opportunity,” she said, “by voting down access to medical marijuana added insult to injury. Vets continue to be underserved or prescribed medications that are not sufficient for their well being.”

   “He [Lamborn] has the arrogance and ignorance to tell a doctor and his patient what kind of medicine they can or cannot use. He should have allowed access and required the VA to help set professional standards for the use and distribution of medical marijuana. I know several people with severe illness that benefit from medical marijuana; they are not pot-heads, they are ordinary people that want to find relief and healing and should be allowed to do so.”

   The horrific open slaughter at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, another bloody reminder of whether social networking caused, or was a lone wolf assault on America’s freedom, shows radical Islamic terrorism remains uncontained. Barack Obama is reticent to disparage the killer’s nationality. Instead he goes to war with proponents of the 2nd Amendment, turning the tragedy into another unsalable rant over gun control and his denial of the problem into talking points against Donald Trump and Republicans. Vargas states that “Obama doesn’t believe Islam is a problem, therefore refuses to fight Islamism that is happening on American soil.”

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   On America, Obama and the Democrat message the last eight years, Vargas believes the reset button has to be hit in DC, and in the political process, “Americans have to get involved and raise the standard for every aspect of politics and civil society, including what they believe about right and wrong and the role of government. We are in a culture war because people have very different ideas about right and wrong. Clearly, beliefs have consequences when they are communicated or forced through public policy, as we have seen under Obama.”

   Vargas understands Obama’s affinity to garner public support for him breaking the law, manufacturing a real or nonexistent crisis, targeting grassroots organizations among others in creating an enemy that doesn’t exist. On the beginning of life, Vargas, a deeply-rooted Christian says, “The Democratic Party as a whole shrouds murder of the unborn in the name of ‘women’s rights’ and believes that people who do not submit to their platform should be targeted by the IRS, sued for discrimination, or bullied into compromise. Ultimately it comes down to worldview, what you believe about truth, about God, about the identity of a human being and an individual’s relationship with others.”

   The One Hundred Fifteenth Congress Vargas plans being a member of has to step it up she says,“Congress is responsible to advocate for the virtues that make liberty the bedrock for societal prosperity and peace.”

   Actively promoting principles that make policies effective and serve the interests of the people within the boundaries of Constitutional values are paramount to Vargas. Cherishing morals, decency, hard work and personal responsibility are equally as important. “We cannot demand justice from our government if we do not have just laws nor can we overcome corruption if we do not hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

   Vargas’s long term plans include someday running a working ranch animal shelter “where people and animals can come to find a second chance, to heal, and enjoy life. That is my American dream, to keep waking up in a beautiful place, working outside, surrounded by those I love, even if they have four legs.”

   Until then, with a principled dynamism not found in her opponent, the focused-on-solutions approach of Calandra Vargas will be a much needed Conservative voice embodying Colorado in Washington, and with it, restoring America’s constitutionality.


Crossing the Broken Blue Line

Photo1 UseI have no doubt Michael Smithey is a diligent, conscientious police officer; one his boss, Chief Sam Hargadine is proud to have on the Iowa City force.

It’s Smithey’s revelation of personal bias that’s troubling when laid bare on the streets he patrols.

At first glance, Smithey appears rational as a negotiator, which in the line of duty, doesn’t allow for many character flaws. The human side of the man or woman in blue is often glossed over in favor of exaggerated stereotypes Americans have of law officers. The bar of professionalism is set high with the job, where convincing the citizenry of that rectitude can be just as taxing as catching the bad guys.

Imprudence would assume chinks in the mental armor of law enforcement don’t exist. The public has seen time and time again brutality occurs when raw emotion is put to the test. Smithey’s breach was nowhere as cataclysmic, yet speaks volumes as it was directed toward the wronged party making the 911 call he responded to on August 21st.

Holman Photo 1There on Highway 1/Riverside Drive, Chinese exchange student John Man Chun Ma led Dan Holman on a foot chase after Ma assaulted Holman’s wife Donna several minutes earlier. The object of Ma’s ire was a notably graphic anti-abortion placard Ms. Holman was holding while protesting outside an Iowa City Planned Parenthood office.

Dan Holman filmed his encounter with Ma and Smithey’s near flawless handling of the situation, until Holman pressed him for the reason why Ma did it. From that point Smithey placatingly told Holman, “You know why he (Ma) did it, ok?”

As Holman persisted, Smithey moved him out of earshot of Ma,  saying, “Look, you and I both know why he did it. He doesn’t like the sign, I personally don’t like the sign, it doesn’t matter though.”

Smithey’s leak of individual tilt wasn’t made clear in saying he met Holman ten years earlier; an encounter Smithey’s harbored ever since.

If Ma felt affronted by Donna Holman’s sign, so too was Smithey in choosing not to obviate his non-conservative and pro-choice beliefs on abortion.

According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Section 5, Conduct Toward the Public, subsection a) Officers shall conduct themselves toward the public in a civil and professional manner that connotes a service orientation and that will foster public respect and cooperation.

Holman Photo 4 ArrestLaw enforcement’s  presence at a disturbance connotes leverage, but citing individual opinion, as in Smithey’s case, reeks of conduct unbecoming. Yet Smithey wasn’t finished, contorting his words in telling Holman that Ma was “extremely offended by the sign and unfortunately that’s the reaction that I think, look, you’re looking to provoke an extreme reaction with that.”

Unless stirring a contentious pot is integrated into preparation, or lack thereof, the ICPD imparts in managing notably peaceful protests by Tea Party and Libertarian groups, Smithey either misinterpreted, never studied, or failed to adhere to the US Constitution, where the 1st Amendment clearly defines what the Holmans were doing that day.

It would be easy to excuse Smithey as just another officer of the law with an inferiority complex compensating with a badge and a sidearm, or simply a first responder who acted in a manner that was shameful if witnessed and recorded.

Police officers are not separate, autonomous entities. They communicate with one another. Iowa City isn’t much different from Memphis, Spokane, or Hartford. Survival on the streets depends on that interaction, and is reflected in the way they relate to special interest groups and pro-life advocates like the Holmans.

By the time he told Holman he could “separate his politics from his job,” Smithey was already non-relevant.

Maybe Hargadine should recommend Smithey bone up on conducting himself in ways that unnecessarily delay the performance of his duty. That, and not casting his line in shark-infested waters, although that might also be missing from the ICPD’s training manual chapter on Civil Rights.

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