About

Posted by on Oct 22 2008 |

Jon Caldara is the President of the Independence Institute, Colorado’s free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado. Caldara also hosts a 3 hour a day a radio talk show on the 50,000-watt blowtorch News Radio 850 KOA. His current affairs television program Independent Thinking, on Denver’s KBDI Channel 12, airs on Thursdays at 7:30 pm repeated the following Tuesday at 5 pm.

He was asked to take the position of President of the Independence Institute in November 1998 after then-President Tom Tancredo was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Caldara’s free market philosophies gelled when he was studying economics and business at the liberal University of Colorado in Boulder during the mid 1980s. As an outlet for his frustration with modern collectivist politics, Caldara authored and drew a daily comic strip entitled, B Street, which he syndicated to more than 50 newspapers across the U.S. This conservative version of Doonesbury; was the constant target of the politically correct.

Caldara started his political career in 1994 when he was elected to the Regional Transportation District Board of Directors. RTD is the fourth largest governmental entity in the state of Colorado. Caldara almost immediately became the most controversial and outspoken board member in RTD’s history, as he fought against wasteful projects and for free market reforms such as competitive contracting of services and privatization. In 1998, Caldara became Chairman of the Board of RTD. In 1997, Caldara led the effort to defeat “Guide the Ride”, a 66% RTD sales tax increase referendum. The proposal originally had popular support of 73%. The proponents of the tax hike outspent Caldara’s campaign by 15-to-1. By election day the measure failed with a 58% “no” vote.

Caldara is the veteran of many issue campaigns, including in 1998, Caldara led the statewide effort to defeat Referendum B, a proposal for the state to keep a billion dollars of the taxpayers’ surplus for unspecified projects. It had original public support of 75% and the proponents outspent Caldara’s campaign by 4-to-1. By election day the measure failed with a 63% “no” vote. In 2000 ran the campaign against the educational spending mandate, Amendment 23. In 2001 he lead defeat a tax increase for a monorail system over the Rocky Mountains. In 2005 he ran the campaign against Colorado’s attack on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Referendums C and D, defeating the debt increase, Ref. D.

Among his many recognitions, 5280 Magazine named him as one of the top 10 most influential men in Denver, Westword awarded Caldara Denver’s Best Media Manipulator, the Denver Post put Caldara on their list of people to watch, and the Colorado Jaycees awarded him as the Outstanding Young Coloradoan. The State Policy Network honored him in 2005 with the Thomas Roe Award.

18 comments for now

18 Responses to “About”

  1. Morgan Edwards

    John,

    I listen to you from time to time mostly whe your subbing for Rosen.

    I got this email yesteday with scary stuff about Obama. Seems too radical even for him, so may not be true. Maybe you have the rsources to check it out. If true, it’s a real jaw dropper. See below. Morgan Edwards

    Perhaps there are SOME out there who are beginning to get ‘the picture’. The following is a narrative taken from Sunday Morning’s televised ‘Meet The Press’. and the author is employed by none other than the Washington Post!! Yeah…..the Washington Post of New York and Los Angeles Times fame!! Must say that I’m dually impressed………………

    From Sunday’s Televised ‘Meet the Press’ Senator Obama was asked
    about his stance on the American Flag. Obama Explains National Anthem Stance

    Sun, 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, General Bill Ginn’ USAF (ret.) asked Obama
    to explain why he doesn’t follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

    The General also stated to the Senator that according to the United States Code,

    Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171… During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. At the very least, ‘Stand and Face It’

    Senator Obama Live on Sunday states, ‘As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides, Obama said. ‘There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it. ‘We should consider to reinvent our National Anthem as well as to redesign our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It’s my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we as a Nation of warring people, should conduct ourselves as the nations of Islam, wher eas peace prevails. Perhaps a state or period of mutual concord between our governments. When I become President, I will seek a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation have placed upon the nations of Islam an unfair injustice. My wife disrespects the Flag for many personal reasons. Together she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago. She has her views and I have mine’. Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put aside my hatred. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path of hope. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country’s First Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America.

    orginal email from Dale lindstrom”

    30 Oct 2008 at 8:37 am

  2. stonecutter

    I would appreciate any links for Colorado energy consumption and projected energy requirements. With “pinwheel” Ritter, and, now, “brownout” Udall and eventual “blackout” Obama, things will get grim shortly.

    Thanks

    06 Nov 2008 at 12:01 am

  3. Mark Warren

    Hello, Jon. I’m a regular listener and especially enjoy your appearances sitting in during Mike Rosen’s hours in the morning.

    I’m intensely interested in the today’s political scene, foreign affairs and history. After being laid off (reduction in workforce) by Clear Channel here in Colorado Springs/Pueblo after 10 years (GSM), I’ve been looking to the future. I’m also a former News Director at KOA.

    I know you’re not a career counselor, but I would very much appreciate your advice on how to use my background to advance conservative values. Will be grateful for your thoughts, Jon.

    Cordially,

    Mark Warren

    15 Dec 2009 at 11:14 am

  4. Lisa Kim

    I listened to you on CPR this morning attempting to debate with CU Law Professor, Melissa Hart, about the woes of our recent health care bill. Ms. Hart held her own against typical republican scare tactics and belligerent, repetitive key word speech that aims at talking over the other person. Ms. Hart never gave into that game and responded to your accusations with calm, steady, and logical reasoning. You should try that sometime.

    06 Apr 2010 at 4:39 pm

  5. But didn’t you see the Simpsons? They loved their monorail? And Disneyland/World? WE NEED A MONORAIL AT ALL COST. Come on!

    22 Apr 2010 at 5:48 pm

  6. Kris

    Loved seeing you at the Boulder County Republican Convention. Keep up the awesome work.

    28 Apr 2010 at 11:40 pm

  7. Larry

    I think running John Elway for governor as discussed on Devil’s Advocate is a great idea. Tancredo said he wouldn’t run if there was a viable candidate, so convince him to drop out for Elway. Then Dan Maes admits that he needs more experience, so offer him the Lieutenant Governor job. He can run in 8 years when he has gained experience and name recognition. If he is as good as he claims, he will be a shoo-in in 8 years.

    This keeps the Tea Party people and the Republicans happy and gets Republicans elected at all levels.

    13 Aug 2010 at 10:26 pm

  8. Ken

    Jon, I heard you on the radio station the other noght discussing the military gay do not ask, do not tell issue. I tried to call in, but busy, so I wanted to add my 2 cents. I was in the military and I can tell you Military men I knew would never be comfortable with repealing this.

    Military men will never be comfortable with gays openly serving. Let me ask you this.. If I, being a military man who is attracted to women, walk into a womans barracks, and go to the shower and remove my clothes and begin showering with them, and they knowing I am attracted to women, and even the fact that I may not be attracted to any of them, do you think they would have a problem with it?? When they get every woman in the military to sign off on allowing military men who are attracted to women to take open showers with them, then I will sign off on gays openly serving. After all, if the women are secure in their womanhood and their body, they shoudl not have an issue with this at all… Right?? Until then, they need to shut up, keep their sexual preferences to themselves and do the job they are paid to do.

    27 Sep 2010 at 12:40 am

  9. Patrick

    Jon,

    Went to your talk today at Anschutz. I Don’t know why you spent so much time comparing “Obama-care” to the Canadian healthcare system, since it is clearly much more closely modeled on the Swiss system.

    Also you didn’t do a very good job comparing the US and Canadian systems. Speaking at an academic institution I would expect you to bring statistics instead of just anecdotes to support your biases against the Canadian system. I’m sure there are horror stories from every healthcare system.

    I’d be interested in your response.

    Thanks,

    Patrick

    28 Sep 2010 at 6:27 pm

  10. Dwayne Seibert

    Jon,
    I don’t know anything about the Judges (Supreme and 4th District where I live) and there is some general info about them in the current Ballot Information Booklet.

    Any thoughts, or any articles or decisions that would help me be informed so I can vote with more “thought”?

    Thanks,
    Dwayne Seibert
    Black Forest Colorado

    03 Oct 2010 at 3:08 pm

  11. [...] am honored beyond words to be given this award. Thank you to Jon Caldara and the Independence Institute for deeming me worthy of such a [...]

    23 Nov 2010 at 5:51 pm

  12. Linda Levy

    Jon,

    You were great on Rosen’s show with the teacher who retired at 59 with the $47K + colas pension and was all “poor me”. Funny but our family makes about that showing up to 1 and 1/2 jobs and there is no “golden taxpayer supported pension” at the end of that rainbow. And after paying taxes, we have to save for our own probably more modest retirement. And my favorite comment was that you and I both work full time during our summers!

    Keep up the good info flow – people need to get this!

    Linda

    18 Feb 2011 at 8:52 am

  13. Dennis W.

    Jon,

    As a long time listener, I know that you appreciate good books. Recently a friend gave me a book (apparently written by a friend of his who is a lawyer in Colorado) that I think hits many of the problems we face today squarely on the head. It really doesn’t disguise its punches and argues that our problem in America today is not religion, politics, or even education. The problem is in our worldview. It also lies with an inability (maybe a refusal) to determine fact from fantasy. Chapter 6 is a great chapter on School Choice and approaches it from an innovative way that I hadn’t thought of. Given many of your comments on your show, I really think you or someone at the Independence Institute would enjoy it. It is entitled “Foundations & Cornerstones: Looking for Sanity in a Crazy Mixed up World.” The author is Mark E. Henze and is published by Aletheian Press. I found it fascinating and just thought that if you haven’t already read it, you might want to take a look.

    Dennis W. Ft. Collins, CO

    26 Jan 2012 at 8:03 pm

  14. Scott Mull

    John – I was listening to you on Khow today about the LA law under consideration to require adult film industry workers to wear condemns. My wife and I got into an argument about the personal freedom/liberty aspects vs morality concerns during dinner at a local restaurant (I felt bad for the people sitting next to us). Check ou the website below defending the position that self regulation is not only working, but better than the general population form a faculty member of metro state in Denver

    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/pboettke/workshop/spring09/PadillaA.pdf

    06 Jul 2012 at 9:17 pm

  15. Larry Cunningham

    Jon,

    Your show about the Elk candlelight vigil in Boulder was amusing but I really think you missed the point, and you missed an opportunity to talk about police corruption in Boulder.

    There were numerous crimes committed here, including unlawful discharge of a firearm in a residential neighborhood, poaching, failure to file reports upon a police shooting incident, failure to contact the proper agencies regarding dispatching the animal and on and on.

    Any of us regular, peon citizens would be facing a $10,000 fine and possible jailtime and these poachers are on a paid vacation while the BPD figures out how to sweep this under the rug. Just like they’re covering up all the other DUIs and police misconducts in the department.

    Have fun yucking it up over the loonies in Boulder, though. I guess it beats serious radio where we talk about “above the law” police officers.

    06 Jan 2013 at 6:33 pm

  16. David Keyek

    Hey John,

    Caught some of your show this evening (1/6/13). I loved the humor on the Big Boy vigil, but after about 20 minutes of it, the joke got old. I wish you would’ve moved on, and maybe you did, to something a bit more tangible. Perhaps a mention of potential wrongdoings by the officers involved. If all is as reported, shooting a big game animal unannounced in a residential backyard seems dangerous. What if little Johnny had been taking out the trash or grandma was walking fifi? Seems awfully suspicious that they didn’t call it in ahead of time – something like, hey, we have an injured animal here, let’s get the DOW and have them uthanize the damn thing before it hurts someone. And hey, let’s have the DOW haul it away and give the meat to someone. But no, they seem to have wanted to keep their dealings from the DOW, but stingily, not from the public – thus the photo ops (Look, I’m a big man, watch me kill and pose with a big animal who’s not afraid of people, lame). Wonder if he has a hunting license, or an elk tag? These guys are cops, and they know the law, and they know they need the DOW there to make the call (yes, unless the elk was ready to stomp grandma to death – then they can shoot it, but it wasn’t). So, guess my point is, even though I don’t agree with half of what you agree with, I usually like your show and always go out of my way to gather news, opinions and information from all angles. It’s just that tonight, your angle seemed stuck in a rut.
    Thanks and have a great night,
    David

    06 Jan 2013 at 9:55 pm

  17. Jon -

    Listening to you fill in for Michael Brown today inspired the idea on our WordPress blog: Colorado MMX 2013

    The Million Magazine eXchange!
    http://mmx2013.wordpress.com

    We will attempt to organize 1,000,000 standard capacity magazine (30-rounds) exchanges/transfers in a single day on or near the State Capitol, in protest should Gov Hickenlooper pass HB 13-1224 into law.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    14 Mar 2013 at 1:08 am

  18. Jon,
    Is it possible for our organization – Constitution First, Colorado to become a plaintiff and help support the efforts of the lawsuit???

    Judy Spady
    - Board of Directors – Constitution First (www.constitutionfirstcolorado.com)
    - Alternate delegate to RNC for Ron Paul
    - Colorado Director – Patriot Coalition (www.patriotcoalition.com)
    - Board of Directors – Guardians for Liberty (www.guardiansforliberty.com)

    19 May 2013 at 11:18 am

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