President of Glenwood quarry opposition group under fire for rude tweet
Former Glenwood Springs Mayor Leo McKinney is taking fire from a mysterious dark money group for using a sexist word to describe the U.S. education secretary.
Many Glenwood Springs residents received a mailer Monday attacking McKinney for a March 22 tweet in which he apparently referred to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a “c-nt.”
The mailer instructs people to “contact the Glenwood Springs Citizen’s Alliance and ask them why they don’t value women in Glenwood and the Valley.”
McKinney, president of the Citizen’s Alliance, which organized to fight RMR Industrial’s proposed expansion of the Mid Continent quarry, apologized for using the term.
“I take full responsibility for using a very sensitive word that I shouldn’t have used,” McKinney said.
“I have strong feelings about Trump’s cabinet, but if I had used a different word I don’t think anyone would have noticed,” he said.
The Citizen’s Alliance accepted McKinney’s apology and unanimously voted that he remains president.
“Although we don’t condone the use of this word, the Citizens’ Alliance board accepted the apology,” said Sarah Gordon, Citizens’ Alliance vice president. “In a unanimous vote, we upheld McKinney’s position as board president.”
The special vote took place Monday, McKinney said, and the quorum was made up of three women and two men. McKinney said he recused himself from the vote.
McKinney’s Twitter posts are frequently critical of the Trump Administration, and during DeVos’ confirmation hearing he referred to her as “an illiterate” in a February 2017 tweet.
The mailer was distributed by the Frontier Women’s Job Council, which registered as a nonprofit corporation with the Colorado Secretary of State July 1.
Katie Kennedy, the registered agent of the group, is connected to more than 100 campaign and political finance committees. Kennedy did not return a request for comment.
It’s unclear whether RMR or anyone associated with RMR is directly associated with the Frontier Women’s Job Council.
RMR did not comment on whether they are associated with the Frontier Women’s group. In a brief statement, a spokesperson for RMR who is apparently based near Los Angeles, said, “The subject’s derogatory language toward women has no place in our community.”
“I don’t know who’s behind it,” McKinney said, adding, “I think the mailer speaks for itself. Those who see it are drawing their own conclusions.”
“We take this for what it is, which is an attempt by someone to discredit the Citizens’ Alliance. Perhaps they fear the strength of the community and our organization,” said Stephen Bershenyi, a board member for the Citizen’s Alliance and also a former Glenwood City Council member.
“This was a clumsy attempt to smear the Citizens’ Alliance and to sway public opinion,” said Gordon. “We are confident people will see through this, and will continue to stand with us in opposition to the strip mine proposal.”
McKinney’s tweet first resurfaced online in June on political blog Colorado Transparency Project and Colorado Peak Politics. McKinney said he hadn’t seen those blog posts until Monday.
Since the Monday mailer, McKinney said the Citizen’s Alliance’s social media following has grown.
“If anything, this mailer is doing the exact opposite of its intended purpose, which was to tear me down and discredit the organization,” McKinney said.
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