For crime of hanging out with a Republican, Democratic state senator fires staffer

Robby Soave Reporter
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A recent college graduate and aide to Colorado state Senator Irene Aguilar was fired from his job because he visited the office of a friend who worked for a Republican.

Tyler Drum, who graduated from Colorado State University last year, told Campus Reform that his friendship with Republicans made Sen. Aguilar uncomfortable, though she did not formally give a reason for his firing.

“Partisanship runs much deeper than I thought,” he said in an interview with Campus Reform. “I thought this would happen on the Republican side.”

Drum, now unemployed, has lost some of his faith in the Democratic Party.

“Now I’m a disenchanted Democrat,” he said. “This was my first job after graduating, [the Democrats] don’t care about my situation, they don’t care to know who I am.”

On her Facebook page, however, she tersely disputed the charge. When asked by another Facebook user whether Drum was fired for having a Republican friend, she replied: “No.” When asked whether the news story was true, she said only that it was: “Distorted.”

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Drum confirmed Campus Reform’s account of the tale, giving additional context that made the firing seem even less justified.

Drum explained that he was recommended for the position via a mutual contact. He had previously interned for Democratic State Senator Andy Kerr. When Aguilar hired him, she said her only reservation was that he had previously interned with the Log Cabin Republicans, a group for gay conservatives. Drum said he was raised Republican but became a Democrat in recent years — an answer that satisfied Aguilar, for the time being.

But last week, during an orientation for legislative aides, Drum chose to sit with friends from previous internships, one of whom was a Republican.

Later, Drum thought it would be perfectly reasonable to introduce his Republican friend to his new co-workers, which included Aguilar. But soon after he did so, the Democratic state senator pulled him out of the orientation session and said, “the Democratic Leadership was uncomfortable with [his] friendship with [the Republican aide].”

“The Democratic Party is not as tolerant and accepting as I had thought,” he told The DC.

Drum’s friend used to intern for a Democrat — a fact that didn’t matter to Drum, or to the Republican state Senate caucus. The only group singularly partisan enough to forbid cross-party friendships is the Colorado Democratic Party, it seems.

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