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Is the term “racism” losing its punch? Ask Wendy Koenig.

The term “racist” is thrown around so much that it is losing its punch. It seems anyone to the left of the media is branded “racist” for virtually any comment they make, no matter how valid.

Take Wendy Koenig a Town of Estes Park Trustee who is running for re-election on April 1, 2014. On Wednesday, March 19th, the channel 9 news at 6.00 attacked Wendy Koenig for remarks she made at a League of Women Voters forum the previous week.

Estes Park resident Hulda Bachman was at that forum and says, “Wendy made the perfectly logical observation that with all these wholesome [Estes Park] high schoolers … should [be] hired for local summer jobs, and not get people from Mexico and elsewhere. Instantly Wendy was branded "racist."

Wendy Koenig has been a local Estes Park resident for 43 years, attending K-12 school in Estes Park. She is a two time Olympian in the 800m track and field for the USA, has a Doctorate in Audiology and owns a business (Community Hearing Center, Inc.) in Estes Park. Having grown up working in Estes Park, she believes the kids in town should come first when it comes to local jobs.

The reason the question came up at the forum was in relation to housing for temporary workers. In an interview for this article (which took place before the forum), she said she believes “work force housing” is a top priority for the tourist town.

Mack Hunt, founder of the Tea Party Patriots in Estes Park says, “the Trail Gazette … can easily play the race card and totally ridicule anyone they want because they control the press. Wendy is pure Estes Park. We have known Wendy for 20 years and we knew her Mom and Dad, who were great people. They always spoke out strongly for Estes, Estes businesses and Estes kids.”

Local Estes Park businesses, including the YMCA of the Rockies, hire workers on a foreign exchange program each summer. Many of those workers are students who come into town for 3-5 months and take multiple jobs before returning home with their pockets full so they can pay for their schooling. They fill jobs some people say the locals don’t want (including house keeping, laundry, and food service).

So the question is, when Wendy Koenig advocated jobs for local kids in the community, was she being racist? She didn’t say she doesn’t want workers from other countries in Estes Park, she just said she believes local kids would do the jobs if foreign workers weren’t brought in to do them. She responded to the critiques of her comments in the Trail Gazette.

One website “Republicansareracists.com” (no link provided as it doesn’t deserve traffic driven by this page), states, “Obviously, allowing more workers with brown skin into the U.S. frightens the GOP to no end as their outreach program to minorities has been a dismal failure and this [Heritage] report hopes to frighten people into opposing any reform.” Interesting this person immediately quantifies “foreign workers” as “brown skin.” Who is the racist in this piece?

The old adage, “if you repeat something long enough, it will be considered fact” appears to be sticking as Democrats state “Republicans are racists” without anything to back it up. Throwing around the race card (and war on women card) is standard practice for Democrats when they have no facts to back it up, or anything else to say.

Be careful falling into the trap. Take statements on their face value and evaluate for yourself whether someone is, indeed, racist.

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