NARAL president Ilyse Hogue on protecting choice and Colorado's role
The 2014 elections may seem a long way off, but not to Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Hogue came to Colorado to speak at a weekend fundraiser for Colorado NARAL that attracted numerous political heavyweights. But she's sticking around today to meet with locally based activists, in order to strategize about races that won't be decided for more than a year. One reason, she says, is because NARAL hopes Colorado can set a nationwide example about protecting choice, especially in places where such rights are currently under siege.
Big photos and more below.
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado's annual gala took place on Saturday evening at the Grand Hyatt, and attendees included representatives Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, as well as Senator Michael Bennet, whose 2010 election has become something of a NARAL template for major elections.
Hogue says taking part in the event was a "no brainer" not only because she wanted to show support for Colorado NARAL executive director Karen Middleton and her staff, but due to her view that "Colorado is such a critically important state for everything that goes down nationally. The rest of the nation looks to you guys to make the difference in presidential elections, but Colorado is also an innovative incubator of ideas.
NARAL Facebook page Ilyse Hogue speaking at an event earlier this month.
"I've only been in my position for seven months, but I've been involved in progressive politics for a long time," she notes. "And it's my fondest hope that what comes from Colorado spreads across the country and ultimately impacts what's happening in Washington, D.C."
Of course, a recent Colorado political development with potentially far-reaching repercussions -- the recall of Pueblo Representative Angela Giron and Colorado Springs Senator John Morse -- didn't go the way Hogue had hoped. Even though the recall was motivated by gun legislation, not women's health matters, Colorado NARAL expended a considerable amount of effort, and some national resources, in support of Giron, attempting to paint her opponents as anti-choice -- but to no avail.
Even so, Hogue doesn't see a definitive link between these two issues.
"I'm a Texan by birth, so I'm very familiar with being in a pro-gun state," she points out. "And the sort of bedrock structure of choice -- to keep politicians out of the decisions of women and families -- is also part of the gun debate. So it was a loss, no doubt about it -- but it was also a bit of an anomaly, since it was a special election, and because of the short timeline, the opponents were never fully vetted in the public eye.
"If we'd had more time to get out the really out-of-step views of the opponents about reproductive choice and their support of personhood, we could have helped blunt some of the impact of the pro-gun lobby. So I don't see the recall as a bellwether for choice. Colorado remains one of our strongest pro-choice states in the country."
Continue for more of our interview with NARAL Pro-Choice American President Ilyse Hogue, including additional photos.