Brighton, CO – Today U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) held a legislative roundtable with the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) at Sakata Farms in Brighton, Colo. The discussion focused on federal policies impacting Colorado’s fruit and vegetable growers and was followed by a tour of Sakata Farms and nearby Petrocco Farms in Brighton, Colo.
“Given the importance of agriculture to the Colorado economy it's important for me to meet with the farmers here today to listen to their concerns,” Coffman said. “This year, I heard from the growers that getting the labor that they need is their biggest issue. In fact, many Colorado farms, including Sakata Farms, have had to cut back on crop production due to the shortage of farm workers.”
Coffman is a cosponsor of H.R. 2588, the Better Agriculture Resources Now Act (BARN Act). This legislation would reform, strengthen, and streamline the current H-2A visa program, allowing Colorado farmers’ access to an increased agricultural temporary workforce from outside the country.
The farmers brought up issues with the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-2A visa program application delays. In March 2016, Coffman co-signed a letter to the Secretary of Labor expressing concerns over these delays in H2-A visa approvals.
“Colorado farmers must have more certainty when it comes to having an adequate labor force to harvest their crops,” Coffman said.
Several government officials also joined the discussion at Sakata Farms including U.S. Representative Ken Buck (CO-04) and Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown. The offices of U.S. Representative Jared Polis (CO-02), U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) all sent staff to listen to the grower’s concerns.
"Agriculture is a vital part of Colorado's economy,” Buck said. “I'm thankful for the opportunity to hear from farmers about the ways that federal red tape negatively impacts them."
Other attendees included Colorado agricultural leaders and area farmers. The farmers discussed the increasing cost of federal over regulation.
“We had a great turn out and I think it benefited the farmers and the Colorado delegation to learn about the challenges that each face. Hopefully we can help each other to make things better,” said Robert Sakata, host of the roundtable and President of CFVGA. “A special thanks to Congressman Coffman who came up with this idea a year ago and followed through helping us to get it done. It is really important that we all understand how important local fresh fruit and vegetable farming is for the economy, and especially for our health.”
According to CFVGA, Colorado’s fruit and vegetable growers contribute nearly $300 million to Colorado’s economy annually at the point of production. Colorado is home to more than 60,000 acres in fruit and vegetable production.
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) issued the following statement today in regards to the admission of the Obama administration that they the timing of the $400 million payment to Iran was tied to the release of three American hostages.
A Republican congressman is going after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for having almost 200 full-time interior designers.
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller thinks the designers are a significant factor in the troubled agency’s penchant for wasting tax dollars, and offering inadequate care to veterans
The Florida Republican — who has devoted much of his tenure as chairman to exposing waste, fraud and abuse in the VA — points to boondoggles like the department’s newest hospital in Aurora, Colo.
The Aurora facility inexplicably went more than $1 billion over budget, and the contractor walked off the job, blaming VA mismanagement. The hospital, which won’t be completed until 2018, features a glass concourse the size of a football field. Plans included imported Brazilian wood, $10 million in landscaping, and 70-foot-high glass walls.
Rep. Mike Coffman, the Colorado Republican who represents the district that includes the controversial facility, called the hospital’s design and furnishings “exotic.” One of the people in charge of building it admitted, “it’s not typical of a military hospital.”
Miller said having so many on-staff designers looking for ways to occupy themselves is one reason those kind of features are a recurring theme.
He noted in a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald that the designers’ existence has an even greater financial impact than their salaries, because they help fuel VA’s penchant for elaborate architecture and mammoth art displays.
“This week it was reported in the media that VA has… 167 interior designers — most medical centers had an interior designer, and some medical centers had several,” he wrote, citing The Daily Caller News Foundation’s exclusive Aug. 8 story.
“I question the need for full time interior designers at individual facilities, especially given VA’s consistent pleas for greater health care funding and when a facility is not constructing a new building or a major renovation.
“In addition to diverting resources away from medical personnel who directly impact veterans’ care, it would seem that such a large number of interior designers would encourage the elaborately expensive hospital designs that VA has produced in recent years. You have expressed on several occasions that such architecturally unique designs are not in VA’s interest, and I agree,” Miller said.
The interior designers’ pay would total some $16 million a year if they make $100,000, including benefits. A recent job ad advertised $77,000 plus benefits, and said the job would go to a current federal employee, unless someone with a Ph.D in interior design emerged.
Those designers selected and purchased an additional $16 million of art during the Obama administration, including $500,000 on artwork at a hospital for the blind.
Miller demanded a list of all VA interior designers and their salaries, and a justification for why regional offices can’t have one interior designer who travels to nearby hospitals when they are needed, such as during a renovation.
“Please explain how it is prudent to have so many interior designers when VA recently threatened to suspend provision of health care services due to a self-inflicted $3 billion budget shortfall,” he said, alluding to a common theme that the VA — spurred by its powerful employees union — often puts creating jobs for government workers over the department’s mission.Read More
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) called a recent report’s findings that intelligence on ISIS may have been manipulated to create a more favorable depiction of U.S. antiterrorism efforts “alarming.”
Ernst and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) called for an investigation in September into allegations made by whistleblowers that the military intelligence community had manipulated or altered intelligence products to distort the impact of U.S. antiterrorism efforts.
The resulting Joint Task Force and U.S. Central Command Intelligence (CENTCOM) assessment concluded that “intelligence products approved by senior CENTCOM leaders typically provided a more positive depiction of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts than was warranted by facts on the ground and were consistently more positive than analysis produced by other elements of the intelligence community.”
“This interim report released by the Joint Task Force is alarming and fuels my concerns that we may not be receiving a clear picture of our ongoing fight against ISIS,” Ernst, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
The report also found that process changes implemented at CENTCOM and leadership deficiencies resulted in “widespread dissatisfaction among CENTCOM analysts who felt their superiors were distorting their products.”
“As the report states, ‘analytic integrity is crucial to good intelligence, and good intelligence is crucial to making informed policy judgments,’” Ernst added. “Any actions or structural or cultural deficiencies resulting in an inaccurate picture of the situation on the ground would prevent Congress and our military leaders from making the best decisions possible in our continued fight against ISIS. It would also deny the American people of their right to know the truth. I will continue to follow this matter closely and look forward to the final conclusion of what I hope will be a full and robust investigation by the (Department of Defense inspector general).”
Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that the fact that intelligence reports were apparently manipulated to “paint a rosy picture” of the war against ISIS is unacceptable.
“The job of intelligence analysts is to produce objective, fact-based assessments, which then serve as a basis for informed national security and foreign policy decisions,” Johnson said. “Doctoring and denying reality has no place in national and military intelligence, which require objectivity and candor. President Obama owes it to the American people to be transparent and provide an accurate assessment of our national security threats rather than turning a blind eye to the dangers that face America, our troops abroad and our allies around the world.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), meanwhile, questioned the Obama administration’s potential role in intelligence manipulation.
“Since the Obama administration denies that we are a nation at war with radical Islamic extremists, it only makes sense that they would direct their senior military leaders to mislead Congress and the American people about the status of this threat,” Coffman said.Read More
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) today issued the following statement in response to a Congressional joint task force’s report on U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) ISIS intelligence manipulation:
“Since the Obama administration denies that we are a nation at war with radical Islamic extremists, it only makes sense that they would direct their senior military leaders to mislead Congress and the American people about the status of this threat.”
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) today gave remarks at the 30th annual celebration of “National Health Center Week.” In his comments, Coffman recognized the commitment Metro Community Health Provider Network (MCPN) has made to provide health care services to vulnerable and underserved patients in the Denver Metro area.
This year’s theme for National Health Center Week is, “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Innovators in Community Health.” The ceremony took place at North Aurora Family Health Services, a MCPN clinic located at 3292 Peoria Street, in Aurora.
“I’m a big fan of MCPN and all it does for so many in our community. MCPN is really the safety net for our uninsured and underinsured neighbors because it is their point of access for affordable primary health care,” Coffman said.
In recognition of the National Health Center Week (August 7-13), MCPN hosted a community health fair at its North Aurora Family Health Services clinic and provided free oral health exams, mammograms, and information on preventive health.
Also participating in MCPN’s community health fair was the American Cancer Society, Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council, Arapahoe House, Aurora Community Connections, Aurora Mental Health Center, Aurora Public Libraries, Aurora Public Schools, Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Henry Schein, Connect for Health Colorado, Children’s Hospital, Quest Diagnostics, and Tri-County Health. MCPN received a sponsorship for their event from the National Association of Community Health Centers.
“I will continue to be a voice in Washington for our community health care clinics because I am so impressed with all that MCPN and our other community health centers do,” said Coffman, who in March 2016 was honored with the Distinguished Community Health Advocate Award by the National Association of Community Health Centers for his work in supporting continued federal funding for their work.
“We are so excited that Congressman Coffman could join us in celebrating one of the Community Health Centers in his district during National Health Center Week,” said Dave Myers, President and CEO of MCPN.
Last year MCPN had 43,344 patients with 279,000 patient visits providing cardiovascular, diabetes, weight management, dental, mental health, substance abuse, and preventative care.
MCPN takes all forms of health insurance to include Medicaid and Medicare as well as charge for their services on a sliding scale for anyone without health care coverage.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, waded into the wild and tangled saga surrounding embattled Aurora Public Schools Board of Education director Eric Nelson Tuesday, Aug. 2, urging U.S. Attorney John Walsh to investigate whether Nelson had violated federal law.
In his letter, Coffman formally requested the prosecutor’s office look into Nelson’s claimed military credentials to determine if the APS board member had violated provisions of the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, a federal law intended to punish anyone who misrepresents receipt of military decorations. Coffman co-sponsored the bill when it was passed into law more than three years ago.
Members of the United States Air Force Reserves confirmed that there were problems with Nelson’s military credentials in a recently released private investigation into Nelson’s past. The report, which was solicited by APS earlier this summer, detailed several issues with the order of Nelson’s ribbons, shoulder clusters and multiple advanced decorations that Nelson could not have received during his brief stint with the Air Force.
“It appears he was only an enlistee in the Air Force for several weeks,” according to the report.
In a widely circulated photo, Nelson is seen wearing the following decorations in the following order: an Air Force Commendation Medal, an Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, a Defense Superior Service Medal, an Air Force Recognition Ribbon, an Air Force Overseas Ribbon – Short Tour, an Air Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, a USAF Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, and an Air Force Training Ribbon.
People found guilty of violating the Stolen Valor Act may face fines or up to a year in prison, according to the summary of the bill. Anyone who falsely claims to be a recipient of any of the following medals could be found in violation of the law: a Congressional Medal of Honor, a distinguished-service cross, a Navy cross, and Air Force cross, a silver star, a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, a Combat Action Badge, a Combat Medical Badge, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Combat Action Medal or any replacement or duplicate medal.
Brent Spahn, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and transportation director for APS, first took issue with Nelson’s medals and decorations during the public comment portion of an APS board meeting in June. Spahn, who is also a graduate of the esteemed U.S. Naval War College, was skeptical that Nelson had earned many of the decorations he is seen wearing in the previously referenced photo.
“His ribbons are totally out of order … He’s wearing at least two ribbons that are medals that I would be shocked if he is authorized to wear those,” Spahn said. “I typically only see (the medals) on general officers and admirals — flag officers. Never in my 27 years in the Marine Corps have I seen a Major wearing a defense superior service medal.”
Nelson’s military flubs are only a portion of the many falsifications outlined and confirmed in the APS investigation, which was conducted by Denver-based private investigator Rick Johnson. Seedy allegations concerning Nelson’s credentials have followed the sullied board director since an initial report in The Colorado Statesman was published in June.
The APS Board of Education is slated to discuss the report on Nelson’s résumé at a regular board meeting Aug. 2.Read More
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) today hosted a policy briefing and discussion on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) featuring U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, Ph.D. (R-PA), author of this bipartisan legislation and a national leader in mental healthcare reform.
Coffman and Murphy addressed more than 100 of the Denver metro area’s top mental health providers and advocates at the University Hospital located on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
"Americans suffering from mental illness and their families deserve better than the patchwork of 112 uncoordinated federal programs that is our current system," Coffman said. "The importance of Rep. Murphy's mental health overhaul bill to those who suffer mental illness, and their families, cannot be overstated.”
According to Rep. Murphy, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act is considered the most comprehensive reform to the mental healthcare system in decades. This legislation will help an estimated the 11 million Americans who suffer from severe mental health disorders by reforming an outdated mental healthcare system.
The legislation includes many key reforms to increase access to care, enable better communication between caretakers and physicians, and streamline coordination and operations across the 112 current federal programs to treat mental illness in Americans.
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 422-2 vote on July 6, 2016. It is now awaiting action by the Senate. Both Coffman and Murphy expressed their confidence that the Senate will take up this bill in September and that the President will sign it prior to the end of the year.
A sweeping reform of the nation’s $130 billion mental health system — already passed by the U.S. House and headed for the Senate next month — would ramp up the number of psychiatric beds and make it easier for families to access treatment even when their relative does not want it.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican and a clinical psychologist, is behind the legislation, the product of three years of research that began after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Murphy, along with U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, was in Colorado on Wednesday to talk about his bill, hoping to boost support ahead of the Senate’s return in September.
“We can’t delay,” Murphy said. “This is an emergency.”
A “top-to-bottom review” of the mental health system, which included public forums, expert testimony and budget reviews, revealed a “chaotic patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies spread across numerous agencies with little to no coordination,” Murphy said. More than 100 federal agencies deal with mental health, and most of the $130 billion in federal spending goes toward disability benefits for people who have mental illness instead of treatment.
As mental institutions began closing in the 1950s, the country failed to provide mental health care in communities, Murphy said. “We replaced that hospital bed with the prison cell, the gurney in the emergency room, the county morgue and the street,” he said at The Denver Post, after talking to mental health experts and advocates at University of Colorado Hospital.
The “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” or HR 2646, calls for federal spending to eliminate the 100,000 shortage of psychiatric treatment beds within 10 years. The nation had 550,000 beds in the 1950s, and has just 40,000 today. People with mental illness in this country are more likely to be in jail than receiving treatment in a hospital.
The reforms would save money long-term because treating people earlier costs less than incarcerating them, he said.
The most controversial portion of the bill would make it easier for doctors to share health concerns with family members under a “compassionate communication allowance,” meaning, for example, that a psychologist or physician could alert relatives if a mentally ill patient had a chronic illness such as diabetes that was not being treated, even when the patient did not give permission.
The bill also includes provisions that would help families obtain guardianship of an adult relative who is “chronically incapacitated.” Numerous states, including Colorado, have battled recently about making it easier for families to commit a relative for mental health treatment. Colorado law requires that people pose an “imminent danger” of harm to themselves or others before they can be committed involuntarily for evaluation.
Murphy said the nation’s health care privacy laws have been twisted into the “right to be sick” instead of the “right to be well.”Read More
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) this week met with the staff at SungateKids, a non-profit organization located in Greenwood Village dedicated to serving children who are victims of child abuse, to discuss issues related to the continued federal support for their programs.
“SungateKids is truly a remarkable place,” Coffman said. “Its work with abused children is absolutely vital to our community and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the important work SungateKids does to investigate criminal child abuse allegations, to help victims and their families recover, and to reduce the incidents of child abuse through its prevention programs."
SungateKids was founded in 1995 to conduct forensic interviews with children to safely reveal the evidence related to child abuse allegations. SungateKids works in partnership with Colorado’s 18th Judicial District, which encompasses Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties, as well as local law enforcement and human service agencies within the 18th Judicial District. SungateKids also educates elementary school students to understand and identify child abuse through its SK2 program and offers therapy services for victims.
“SungateKids is thrilled to host a visit from Congressman Coffman,” said Diana Goldberg, Executive Director of SungateKids. “We appreciate his dedication in learning more about agencies like ours in his jurisdiction that are working to serve the underserved and are giving our most vulnerable populations a voice. And we appreciate the work that the Congressman does on our behalf to ensure that we can continue to provide these services to those who need them most.”
SungateKids serves an average of approximately 700 children each year at no cost to the victims.
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.
Retweeted by repmikecoffman
Retweeted by repmikecoffman
Retweeted by repmikecoffman
Retweeted by repmikecoffman
ICYMI → I joined farmers and elected officials at Sakata Farms yesterday for an agriculture round table. I look forward to taking their concerns
Spent the morning at Sakata Farms and Petrocco Farms - both in Brighton, CO - with the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Congressman
Another sign of the bureaucratic incompetence at the VA. The VA's leadership must do better. They owe it to the taxpayers and they owe to the
Visited the Chinese American Post newspaper today in Denver and even had the opportunity to learn the art of Chinese calligraphy. Many thanks
Great tour of the Tri-County Health Department yesterday. We discussed the services they provide to the surrounding communities as well as nutrition,