Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO) and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) today introduced H.R. 2147 / S. 946, ‘The Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act’. The bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire additional Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) specialists in order to ensure veterans have greater access to effective and tailored treatment.
The VJO program was created by the VA to provide veterans with timely access to VA services and engage justice-involved veterans in specialty treatment courts. The veteran’s treatment court model removes veterans from the regular criminal justice process and helps to address symptoms that are unique to veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. In a veteran’s treatment court, the presiding judge works alongside the veteran and the VJO specialist to establish a structured rehabilitation program that is tailored to the specific needs of that veteran.
“Veterans who have served our nation should not have to wonder if their country is standing at their side during their time of need. Adjusting back to civilian life after the military is one of toughest challenge our men and women in uniform face, often due to underlying issues related to their service,” said Coffman, adding: “We should help these service members with rehabilitation as they navigate the criminal justice system and expanding the Veterans Treatment Courts program is vital in this process. Our veterans have served us - now let us serve those veterans who need our help.”
Local Impact: At the 18th Judicial Veterans Treatment Court (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln Counties), veterans who have both graduated and been terminated (successful or unsuccessful) have not acquired any new criminal charges and no veterans have reoffended since termination. Currently, there is a 73% success rate for those who have participated in the program.
“More than a half million veterans call Arizona home, and it is important that we provide them with the best assistance possible when their transition back to civilian life is met with challenges,” said Flake. “While veteran’s treatment courts have a proven record of reducing recidivism rates, they are underutilized due to a lack of VJO specialists nationwide. Congress can solve that problem by passing this bill to provide Veterans Treatment Courts with the resources and manpower necessary to deliver tailored and effective treatment to the veterans who need it.”
The Veterans Court Improvement Act would:
Current Supportive Organizations: The Colorado District Attorney’s Council, The American Legion, American Veterans (AMVETS), Justice for Vets, Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Student Veterans of America (SVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Wounded Warrior Project.Read More
Aurora, CO – Saturday, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) announced the winners of the 6th Congressional District 2017 Congressional Art Competition. Rae Stokes, a Sophomore, at Grandview High School in Aurora and part of the Cherry Creek School District, claimed first place. Each congressional district’s art competition is open to high students who live in that district.
The winning entry from each Congressional district goes on display for a year in the U.S. Capitol. Each district’s winner also receives two free round-trip airline tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the opening of the display of that year’s art works. Rae Stokes entry entitled, “The Intricacy of Life” will be a part of that display. The art display is located in a section of the Capitol which is open to public viewing so not only Members of Congress and staff but, visitors from all over the nation can view her artwork as well as that of the other congressional district’s winners.
“Every year, I am amazed by the artistic talent exhibited by the district’s high school students” said Coffman. “The display in the Capitol is really remarkable and thousands of people from across the country and around the world will get enjoy this artwork, while displayed in our Capitol for the next year. I couldn’t be more proud of Rae’s work representing the Sixth District of Colorado.”
For this art competition, the winners were selected by two professional artists who volunteered to evaluate the 34 student submissions. In addition to Stokes’ work, two other students received the 2nd and 3rd place prizes and Coffman also personally chose another piece to receive the ‘Mike Coffman Award’ as his personal favorite.
A special thank you to Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, Dr. Harry C. Bull, Jr. for attending, the award presentation to show his support of his school district’s students who participated in the art competition.
To see pictures and more entries of this year’s Art Competition, click HERE.
Started in 1982 by the U.S. House of Representatives, this annual competition highlights high school students' artistic works from across the country. According to the Congressional Institute, more than 650,000 high school students have participated since the competition’s inaugural year.Read More
This past week marked ‘National Park Week’ which runs from April 15-23. The National Park Service describes this week best: “National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of American Heritage. It’s about making connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces…. and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks!”
We in Colorado are truly blessed with national beauty all around our state and with a simple search HERE, you can find a park and location you and your loved ones can visit year round. Whether you decide to visit historical sites, go hiking in our trails or climb to the top of a mountain, ‘losing’ yourself in nature is just one of the privileges we as Coloradans can enjoy.
In my most recent town hall, many of you expressed the importance of maintaining open spaces accessible to the public, and in making sure we are protecting these sites for future generations of Coloradans. I want to assure you that I will work along with my colleagues to find the right balance between protecting these natural treasures and responsible and sustainable economic growth.
So get out there-- enjoy our parks, our State, and celebrate our nations’ natural treasures!Read More
Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, requesting the U.S. Treasury Department decline Exxon Mobil Corporation’s request for a waiver of the sanctions against Russia in order to allow Exxon Mobil to proceed with its drilling projects in the Black Sea in partnership with Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil corporation. Coffman states:
“The United States placed sanctions on Russia after that country’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Those sanctions, amongst others, prohibit U.S. companies from transferring advanced technology that could be used in Russian deep water oil and gas exploration and production projects…. It is my opinion, and the opinion of many of my constituents that lifting any of the sanctions imposed on Russia for its illegal annexation (and for its support of Ukrainian separatist groups), granting such waiver to Exxon to pursue such project is wholly inappropriate” Coffman added, “I strongly urge you to refrain from lifting any sanctions, in whole or in part, on the Russian Federation.”
Under current U.S. jurisdiction, the Treasury Department is responsible for handling Exxon Mobil request for drilling authorization in the Black Sea. A copy of the letter can be found HERE, and was also sent to the White House and the U.S. Department of State.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, The Veterans’ Choice Program Improvement Act, which ensures veterans will have access to medical care past its August expiration deadline has been signed into law. Upon its signature, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman released the following statement:
“The signing of the Veterans’ Choice Program Improvement Act is not only the right thing to do for our veterans, but it’s an obligation we have to make sure those that have served receive timely medical care and attention they rightly have earned. I thank all my colleagues who together made sure this passed the House and Senate, and commend the President for signing this into law.”
The Veterans’ Choice Program has benefited approximately 1.5 million veterans and is expected to help them until Congress, in conjunction with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, streamline and reform the in-community care programs.
Washington, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director, the Hon. James Comey, requesting an update on the criminal investigation referral submitted by the House Veterans' Affairs Committee (HVAC) on Sept. 22, 2016. The original request had been forwarded to the FBI on December 9, 2016 for their review to determine if any action is necessary. In his letter, Coffman states:
"The issues surrounding this construction project led to a cost overrun of over $1 billion dollars, more than doubling the original budget for the facility’s construction, and were accompanied by a multi-year schedule delay. These costs and scheduling failures come at the expense of the nation's taxpayers and our veterans... It is most troubling that Veteran Affairs witnesses testifying before HVAC may have intentionally withheld information or misled Congress regarding these overruns".Read More
Aurora, CO – U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) offered the following statement in response to the Department of Defense air strikes in Syria thursday evening:
"Tonight's actions in Syria come after Assad's horrific actions against his own people. America must show leadership and I'm thankful for what appears to be an effective response by our military."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, Congressman Mike Coffman (CO-06) met with El Salvador’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Hugo Martinez and El Salvador’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Claudia Canjura de Centeno in Washington D.C., to thank them and applaud their decision to open a Salvadoran consulate in Aurora, CO. Representative Coffman had been pushing for the consulate to open in Aurora as it would best serve the Salvadoran community of the district as well as the greater Denver metro area.
Rep. Coffman offered: “This has been a long time in the making. I thank El Salvador’s government and the foreign minister for having decided to choose Aurora as the base of the consular office and I want to recognize all those who worked together to make it happen. The consulate will not only serve as a resource to the Salvadoran-American community in my district, but will also for a wide range of Colorado businesses”. Adding, “I look forward to having the foreign minister and Ambassador in the district later this year for the ribbon cutting ceremony and for them to witness firsthand the fruits of their labors within this community. I look forward to building on our friendship and mutual cooperation.”
The consulate will be located at 1450 S. Havana St. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be scheduled for a later date this year.
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced they are joining the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The Caucus, which is kept evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, serves as a working group dedicated to advancing proposals that will mitigate and reduce climate change while at the same time encouraging economic growth and job creation.
"I am pleased to be joining this caucus with my colleague, Representative Kuster,” said Congressman Coffman. “It’s clear that we should do all we can to reduce carbon emissions in order to improve the quality of our environment, and I believe that Ms. Kuster and I can bring a true bi-partisan spirit to working toward common-sense solutions to environmental issues. I look forward to working with the Climate Solutions Caucus to craft and advance policies that keep our environment clean while keeping our economy and the American innovative spirit strong.”
“I’m excited to join the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus with my friend and colleague Representative Coffman,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Mr. Coffman and I have worked closely together as members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and will bring the same bipartisan ‘get it done’ attitude to the Climate Solutions Caucus. We know that climate change poses a real environmental and economic threat to New Hampshire and the country, and it’s long past time we took that threat seriously. I’m committed to working across the aisle to advance policies to end climate change while bolstering our economy.”
Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives, despite my opposition, approved S.J. Res. 34, “A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”.
This resolution once signed by the President, will overturn internet privacy rules established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on October 27, 2016. I voted ‘No’ on this joint resolution but it passed nonetheless by a narrow margin of 215-205. I am writing to share with you my views and why I voted against this resolution.
S.J. Res. 34 over rules the FCC’s internet privacy rules titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.” This FCC rule mandated that internet service providers (ISP) obtain consent from their customers before collecting certain categories of information.
Under the current rule personal information such as your web browsing history, geographic location, children’s information, social security numbers along with financial information and app usage history—all which fall under the ‘sensitive data’ bracket — can be collected by your internet provider without your permission. A second category of information, called ‘less-sensitive data’, such as your name, address, IP address and anything else a consumer has not ‘opted in’ to sharing with their ISP’s will now be subject to collection, since consumers won’t have an option to opt-out of this information sharing.
This is a controversial subject for many reasons and for years the debate has gone on as to what ISP’s can and cannot do with this information. The ISP have argued that they should have the flexibility to collect this data because some of their competitors such as Google and Facebook, which are not ISPs can collect this data and use it and sell it now.
It is my view that your internet activities are private. We live in a world that is ever more interconnected and I think that users should have the power to decide which information they want to share and which they don’t. Just as you wouldn’t give a stranger your home address and financial information willingly, your ISP should not be able to obtain that same information without even asking. This issue has the potential to go even beyond privacy rights, but also to include national security concerns since we will no longer control where our data ends up—or worse, who is buying or reviewing it. I understand the ISPs point that some of their competitors currently have obtained an advantage because they can obtain and use this data but I think the correct solution is not to empower the ISPs to gather and use this data but to impose the same privacy concerns and requirements upon these other internet based enterprises.
I believe the privacy of my constituents, and of other internet users, is an issue where the government needs to tread very carefully. I do not believe we should permit private corporations to take advantage of our information for their use and profit without your knowledge and consent. The right to privacy is embedded in the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and as a person who honors our founding principles, my vote on this resolution represents my reaffirmation in our Constitutional protections.Read More
2443 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Mike Coffman began his distinguished career of serving our nation at a very young age. At age seventeen, after finishing his junior year at Aurora Central High School in 1972, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Through the Army, Coffman was able to earn a high school diploma. In 1974, he left active duty to attend the University of Colorado under the G.I. Bill where he continued his military career by serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. Coffman took a leave of absence from the U.S. Army Reserve and the University of Colorado to attend D.G. Vaishnav College in Chennai, India in 1976 and the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico in 1977. Coffman graduated from the University of Colorado in 1979 and immediately transferred from the U.S. Army Reserve to the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an infantry officer.
In 1983, Coffman came back home to Colorado and started a small business, an Aurora-based property management company, that would grow to over 20 employees. He remained the senior share holder of the firm for the next seventeen years until selling his interest in 2000. While in business, he continued serving in the military by joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
In his role as a Colorado small business owner, Coffman saw the need to bring more common sense pro-growth economic policies to state government so he ran and was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1988 and re-elected in 1990. Shortly after his 1990 re-election, Coffman took an unpaid leave of absence from the state legislature and volunteered to return to active duty for the first Gulf War where he served as the executive officer for a light armored infantry company. The battalion that Coffman served in was ordered to attack and defend positions inside of Kuwait, for three consecutive days prior to the main ground attack, as part of a deception and reconnaissance-by-fire operation. Coffman retired from the military in 1994 after having served for seven years between the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve and thirteen years between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1994, Coffman was elected to the State Senate where he served as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. While in the State Senate, he completed the Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1998, Coffman was elected to the office of State Treasurer and re-elected in 2002. In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps was under strength in meeting their requirements for the Iraq War and begun to extend Marines beyond their active duty enlistments, recall Marines recently released from active duty, and selectively reach out to retired Marines and request their return to active duty. Coffman resigned his position as the State Treasurer and volunteered to return to the U.S. Marine Corps for an assignment in Iraq. In Iraq, Coffman was a civil affairs officer where he worked in support of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in 2005 and in 2006 he was reassigned to help establish interim local governments in the Western Euphrates River Valley.
In 2006, Coffman came home after completing a full tour of duty in Iraq and was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve out the remainder of his term as the State Treasurer. In that same year, he ran and was elected to the Office of Secretary of State and served in that capacity until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Coffman is the only veteran in the Colorado delegation and the only Member of Congress to have served in both the first Gulf War and in the Iraq War. Congressman Coffman represents the 6th Congressional District of Colorado and serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee where he is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and on the House Committee on Small Business.
Coffman and his wife Cynthia were married in 2005 just before he deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. Cynthia Coffman was the Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bill Owens before becoming the Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Colorado under Attorney General John Suthers. Coffman attends Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora with his eighty year-old mother, Dorothy Coffman.