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Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at

Articles by Valerie Richardson

Western Dems brace for 2010 election pitfalls

President Obama's approval rating is slipping. Republicans are preparing red-meat ballot initiatives to get out conservative voters. Democrats have a negative "tax-and-spend" image. Published August 21, 2009

It’s farmers vs. fish for California water

Supporters of California agriculture called on the Obama administration and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to lift water restrictions that were imposed to protect the endangered delta smelt, saying the fish is putting farmers out of business. Published August 20, 2009

29 species considered for endangered list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that 29 species -- plants, insects, mollusks and one fish -- will be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Published August 19, 2009

Obama backs marriage act repeal

The Obama administration continued its half-a-loaf approach to gay rights issues Monday by filing documents claiming that federal laws banning same-sex marriage are discriminatory, even as the federal government continues to defend them. Published August 18, 2009

Gay-marriage backers split on new vote

A schism among California same-sex marriage advocates emerged Wednesday as two prominent groups split publicly over whether to place an initiative on the state ballot in 2010 or 2012. Published August 13, 2009

Colo. lawmakers turn down the volume

Stung by howling protesters and losing ground in the public relations battle over health care, members of Congress this summer are ditching traditional town-hall meetings and using less confrontational methods of meeting constituents as they try to persuade a wary public to back the Democrats' overhaul plans. Published August 11, 2009

Court upholds ban on U.S. forest roads

Those who make a living cutting down trees or selling snowmobiles took a hit Wednesday when a federal appeals court banned road construction on more than 50 million acres of national forest. Published August 6, 2009

Missing Colo. girl may get justice

They were two pretty girls, both named after their fathers, both residing in Colorado, both 6 years old the last time anyone saw them alive. Published August 4, 2009

Health reform skeptics protest

Lawmakers returning home for the August recess will hear from conservative constituents about the Democrat-led Congress' proposed health care plans, if the organizers of a rally here Tuesday have their way. Published July 29, 2009

School head fights ‘ethnic chauvinism’ in Arizona

Tom Horne has two degrees from Harvard University. He participated in Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington. He's Arizona's superintendent of public instruction. Yet there he is, blasting classes that promote what he calls "ethnic chauvinism," calling for voters to oust school board members who support it and generally painting a target on his back for liberals and minority advocacy groups. Published July 28, 2009

Interior calls ‘time out’ on mining

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Monday that he will place a two-year hold on the filing of new uranium and other hard-rock mining permits on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, prompting charges from mining groups of compromising U.S. energy security and of encouraging more dangerous mining abroad. Published July 21, 2009

Illegal acts, not sex, destroy political careers

Calls for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's resignation are intensifying in response to his confessed extramarital affair, but if recent history is any indication the governor doesn't need to start packing his bags just yet. Published July 6, 2009

Anesthetic found in Jackson’s home

Free tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial service were made available Friday as reports surfaced that the powerful sedative Diprivan was found in the Los Angeles home where the pop star was living. Published July 4, 2009

Sanford’s wife ready to forgive

The wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Thursday that she is willing to forgive her husband for his affair with an Argentine woman, saying it "is essential for us both to move on with our lives." Published July 3, 2009

Taking race out of hiring and more

Arizona voters will soon have an opportunity to decide their stance on government-sponsored racial and gender preferences. The Arizona Legislature recently voted to place an anti-affirmative-action measure on the November 2010 ballot. Published June 30, 2009

Sanford used public funds to visit mistress

Embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Thursday to meeting with his Argentine mistress last year during a taxpayer-funded trip to South America as he faced calls for his resignation and an investigation into his activities. Published June 26, 2009

Easter on her door leads to eviction

DENVER | A Colorado woman is going to court Wednesday after she was evicted for refusing to remove an array of Easter bunnies, chicks and other holiday decorations from her apartment door. Published June 23, 2009

Utah relaxing liquor laws to entice tourists

Utah's liquor laws are set to relax July 1, bringing them more in line with those of the rest of the nation, but don't expect Salt Lake City to morph into Sin City any time soon. Published June 22, 2009

N.Y. gay marriage bill may get new life

A New York bill legalizing same-sex marriage appeared dead in the water last week after Republicans overthrew the Democrat-controlled Senate, but reports of the legislation's demise may be greatly exaggerated. Published June 17, 2009