Daily Sentinel identified GOP backer of “guest worker” idea as a Democrat

Reporting on a proposed guest worker program “aimed at addressing the labor needs of Colorado farmers,” The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction on August 23 identified Republican state Rep. Marsha Looper of Calhan -- one of the program's prospective sponsors -- as a Democrat; her expected co-sponsor is state Sen. Abel Tapia, a Democrat from Pueblo.

In an August 23 online article, The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction incorrectly identified as a Democrat state Rep. Marsha Looper (Calhan), who said she might co-sponsor a proposal aimed at increasing the availability of immigrant guest workers for Colorado farms and other employers. While the proposal's other expected sponsor, state Sen. Abel Tapia (Pueblo), is a Democrat, Looper is a Republican.

As the Sentinel reported, “The program, which could be introduced in the 2008 legislative session, would be aimed at addressing the labor needs of Colorado farmers who have had trouble filling their fields with American workers.” After reporting that “Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction ... said a state-based guest worker program is a bad idea,” the Daily Sentinel misstated Looper's political affiliation. According to the article, “Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, and Rep. Marsha Looper, D-Calhan, want to work out a deal with Mexico to speed up the process for obtaining guest worker visas, according to the Rocky Mountain News.”

In contrast, the News article the Daily Sentinel cited correctly identified Looper, reporting that “Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, and Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, said that some southern and northern Colorado farmers are struggling to bring in their crops as migrants scared by crackdowns on illegal workers bypass the state.”

The Daily Sentinel article further reported that “Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, said he has discussed the idea with Looper and is generally in favor of Colorado taking the lead on a guest worker program where the federal government has failed.”

From the August 23 online article “Lawmakers split over worker plan” in The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction:

“I think that the longer that we wait for the federal government to come in and tell us what to do and how to do it, when, in fact, we have everything available to us to solve this problem both in the public and private sector, it is a mistake to have that type of helplessness,” King said. “The federal government isn't going to solve every problem in Colorado, and we are not being proactive by sitting back and waiting for them to come up with a plan when we can do it ourselves.”

King said he wants to examine the details of the Tapia-Looper proposal before fully endorsing it as a bill, but the idea sounds good so far.

Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, said so long as the state can pre-empt the federal government on a guest worker program, it makes a lot of sense to attempt to assemble one.

“If we can get more legal workers to this country, and we know they are playing by the rules, paying their taxes, and American businesses are hiring people that are legal, I think they have a very solid idea,” Buescher said.