The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, seen here from the Great Sand Dunes National Park, are the backbone of a proposed conservation area announced Friday with a billionaire's pledge to protect 90,000 acres from development.
National Park Service

Colorado A.G. candidate: it’s time ‘we took back’ federal land

About a third of Colorado’s 100,000 square miles is national public land, which is managed by the federal government and owned by the people of the United States. It’s a pretty familiar dynamic in many Western states, which has a wide variety of national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.
But ThinkProgress reported on a Colorado candidate for state Attorney General who apparently isn’t satisfied with the status quo.
In previously unreported comments that were captured on video, Colorado Republican attorney general candidate Cynthia Coffman can be seen telling supporters that she intends to lead a legal fight against the U.S. government to seize America’s national forests and public lands for state ownership and control.
The video appears to have been posted publicly by the Independent attorney general candidate David Williams in July. It shows Coffman describing her plan to attend the annual Conference of Western Attorneys General this summer with a “mission” to build support for taking over America’s public lands. Coffman says public land “has been taken from us” and that “it is time that the Western attorneys general join together and fought back against the federal government, and we took back that land.”
I don’t mean to sound picky, but Colorado can’t simply “take” federal land because it wants to. That’s plainly at odds with the American legal system.
Hunter joked, “Coffman also surely has to know that her proposed remedy of ‘taking back’ federal land is unconstitutional, though I imagine the remedy is to simply rewrite the offending parts until we get to the desired outcome. Those national parks aren’t going to frack themselves, after all.”
But the larger question is, what’s up with these far-right state A.G. candidates?
In Nevada, for example, Republicans nominated Adam Laxalt to run for state Attorney General, though he seems to have a curious background. One local report noted that his law firm conducted a performance review of his work in private practice two years ago and found that Laxalt is “a train wreck” who “doesn’t even have the basic skill set” to practice law.
And if the GOP has its way, he’ll be in the Nevada Attorney General’s office in January.
In Arkansas, meanwhile, Republicans nominated Leslie Rutledge to run for state A.G., despite the fact that she’s hasn’t been registered to vote in Arkansas, she was accused of “gross misconduct” during her tenure as a child welfare attorney for the Arkansas Department of Human Service, and a report recently surfaced about her forwarding a racist email.

And then there’s Wisconsin, where Republican Brad Schimel recently said “he would have reluctantly defended a ban on interracial marriage had he been attorney general in the 1950s.”

As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, with so many interesting races this election season, it’s easy to miss some of the fascinating contests that appear a little further down on the ballot.