Bente Birkeland

Capitol Coverage Reporter for Rocky Mountain Community Radio

Bente Birkeland has covered Colorado politics and government since spring of 2006. She loves the variety and challenge of the state capitol beat and talking to people from all walks of life. Bente's work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, American Public Media'sMarketplace, and she was a contributor for WNYC's The Next Big Thing. She has won numerous local and national awards, including best beat reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. Bente grew up in Minnesota and England, and loves skiing, hiking, and is an aspiring cello player. She lives in Lakewood with her husband.

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Access to something as simple as a doctor can be near impossible in the more rural parts of Colorado. The issue is especially pronounced along the Eastern Plains, leading state officials to embark on a new training program. The objective is to recruit and train more family practice physicians in places like Sterling, a city of about 15,000 people that’s 130 miles northeast of Denver.

 A bipartisan committee of lawmakers met Tuesday to begin crafting water policy that could be introduced during next year’s legislation session.

While many state lawmakers are busy with campaign season, that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about some of the future policies they’ll be crafting. 

Rain Barrels Legal

Aug 11, 2016

 Rain barrels will be legal in Colorado starting Wednesday. State lawmakers passed a bill last legislative session to let people capture rain that falls from their roofs. 

 Signatures for anti-fracking proposals along with a new tax on cigarettes and tobacco were among those turned in Monday, which was the deadline for groups wanting to put questions in front of votes in November. 

 

Aaron P. Bernstein, Getty Images

Governor John Hickenlooper has already been front and center this campaign season.

 Monday was the deadline for groups to turn in signatures for proposals that may go before voters this November.

Colorado has been seen as a key swing state during the last few presidential elections – but this year many political pundits say its trending blue, and won’t be a battleground state. But the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns aren’t treating it that way.

Denver Post

Hillary Clinton toured a local tie company and held a public rally during a visit to Colorado yesterday. 

Hillary Clinton will host a campaign stop in Colorado Wednesday. It falls on the heels of Donald Trump’s visit to Colorado Springs and Denver last week.

Following Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech at the final night of the DNC, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a stop in Colorado Springs to try and gain momentum in a swing state that has so far provided lukewarm support.

"There is no reason we shouldn't win this state, heavy military and tremendous respect for law and order," Trump said. "We want law and order, we want a great military, we want our vets to be so happy."

Eighty-four-year-old Joyce Reiche has a two-bedroom home close to downtown Eagle, Colorado, on the Western Slope. Like many, she's trying to plan for the next phase of life.

"The things I used to like to do I can't do any more, like hike, cross-country ski, go up to the mountains, and do things like that," Reiche said. "I mainly stay home, but I'm content at home."

Colorado's population is not only growing, it's also getting older. Many of the state's counties are poised to see huge increases in the number of people over the age of 65 in the next 25 years.

Gordon Bronson

 There are hopes that Bernie Sanders’ supporters will back Hillary Clinton. As Bente Birkeland reports, some Colorado delegates are calling for unity at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Todd Wawrychuck, ABC

The state Republican Party is blasting ABC saying the network forced reality star Ben Higgins to drop out of a Colorado state legislative race.

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a rocky start. Supporters of Bernie Sanders repeatedly booed speakers and even Sanders himself, when he urged his backers to support Hillary Clinton.

Some of the consternation came from Colorado's delegates, where Sanders won the caucuses.

"I'm a Bernie person all the way," said Cleo Dioletis, a delegate from Denver. "In my mind, I have to support a strong candidate who is ethically correct."

Democrats are in Philadelphia this week for the start of their four-day convention to nominate Hillary Clinton for president. As Bente Birkeland reports, many in Colorado’s delegation are still backing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Now that Donald Trump has wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, party insiders say he has work to do if he wants to win Colorado and its nine electoral votes. Bente Birkeland has more.

To hear the full story, click here.

Colorado's 37 delegates made waves when they walked out of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in protest of the rules. Most later voted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as the nominee, even though he was no longer in the race.

"I was elected as a pledged Cruz delegate so I caste my ballot as promised for Sen. Ted Cruz," said Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Now that Donald Trump is formally the Republican presidential nominee, the question in Colorado is whether his candidacy can bring the party together before the November election.

John Moore/Getty Images

Colorado delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland made waves this week when they walked off the convention floor in protest over the rules.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

El Paso County Commissioner and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn spoke in prime time during opening night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

To hear the full story, click here.

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