Former Boulder County Treasurer Bob Hullinghorst and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst arrive at the premiere of the documentary “Gallagher: One of a Kind,” about the life and career of Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher, on Wednesday night at the Oriental Theater in North Denver. The speaker read a tribute to the Denver Democrat, who was first elected to the House 45 years ago and later served in the Senate and on Denver City Council.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

1/30/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

More than 150 friends, family members and fans of Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher gathered to watch the premiere showing of a documentary film chronicling the storied North Denver Democrat’s life and political career on Wednesday night at the Oriental Theater.

1/30/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Next week Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will sit down with the joint House and Senate Education Committees to explain how the General Assembly will fund higher education for the foreseeable future.

The conversation will deal with House Bill 14-1319, which changed the decade-long funding formula that some claimed lacked transparency and didn’t meet state policy goals.

1/30/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

The Erie board of trustees’ 4-3 decision last week to not put a one-year hold on any new oil and gas drilling permits may very well have saved the city from some looming financial backlash.

Two bills currently floating through the ranks of the Colorado legislature propose that if a local community wants to put in place a ban or moratorium on energy development, in return it has to compensate mineral owners who would stand to lose money from that decision.

CARNO: CRUSHING THE AMERICAN DREAM
1/30/2015
By Laura Carno
GUEST COLUMNIST

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 29, the House passed House Bill 1031, sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Windholz, R-Commerce City, on second reading. The bill delays the sale of powdered alcohol in Colorado until the state can implement an adequate regulatory framework. While powdered alcohol is not currently legal for sale here, it can be purchased online.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The dome isn’t the only part of the state Capitol to sport new duds for the 2015 legislative session. The House and Senate chambers were both restored to bring out architectural details from the past. A new hearing room has replaced the “bullpen” that served as offices for House members. Even the bathrooms at the north end of the capitol have gotten a makeover. But this could be the legislative session remembered for all the walking everyone will do to get from one end of the capitol complex to the other.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Majority Republicans in the Senate are flexing their muscles this week, putting to an end two commissions designed to address issues often found on Democratic agendas.

Wednesday, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted along party lines to sunset the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Commission, a body created through 2013 legislation. The commission is due to issue its final report next month, with analysis from the 2014 election and recommendations for the 2016 election.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The new chair of the Joint Budget Committee has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest with a bill that would radically change the mission and admission standards for Metropolitan State University of Denver. And it’s not a change that they sought.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 15-072, which would change Metro’s admissions standards from “modified open” to “moderately selective.”

1/23/2015
By Maggie Tharp and Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Restaurant Association’s 24th annual Blue Ribbon Reception, deemed by legislators as their favorite party of the session, got underway Jan. 7 on the evening of the first day of the 70th General Assembly. Usually held on the 38th floor of downtown Denver’s Grand Hyatt Hotel where guests had a stellar view of the city skyline at sunset, this year’s well-attended event was instead staged in a large ballroom at the historic Brown Palace Hotel.

1/23/2015
By Judie Schwartz
The Colorado Statesman

1/16/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper took the oath of office for his second term on Tuesday, marking profound changes wrought on the state during his first term and casting a hopeful eye toward the next four years.

The self-described “incorrigible optimist” lauded the state economy’s climb in the aftermath of the Great Recession, all while facing unprecedented floods, fires and mass-shootings, along with the dissolution of his own marriage, he noted in one of several remarkably personal notes struck during the Denver Democrat’s second inaugural address.

1/16/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Some 2,000 revelers celebrated Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s second inauguration on Tuesday night with dinner and a concert on Capitol Hill, and the Democrat got some seasoned words from predecessors squeezed in among the tasty bites and tunes.

Echoing Hickenlooper’s first inaugural celebration four years ago — it also included a dinner at the Fillmore Auditorium and a concert featuring Colorado bands at the Ogden Theater — Garcia introduced former Govs. Dick Lamm, Roy Romer and Bill Ritter to offer advice to the governor.

HUDSON: THE GOVERNOR’S SECOND INAUGURATION
1/16/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Colorado’s inauguration day was a crisp winter morning this year. As John Hickenlooper took his oath of office, it was hard not to marvel at the fact that when his second term concludes in January of 2019, Democrats will have filled the Governor’s chair for 36 of the past 44 years. Starting in 1974 with Dick Lamm, who served three terms, then followed by another three terms under Roy Romer, a bright red electorate kept returning Democrats to the Governor’s mansion.

1/9/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Boulder Democrat Dickey Lee Hullinghorst was elected speaker of the Colorado House as the 70th Session of the General Assembly launched on Wednesday, wielding a slimmer majority than Democrats had in the last session and facing a Republican-controlled Senate for the first time in a decade.

1/9/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The first full day as a new member of the Colorado General Assembly left many humbled, excited and at least a few with butterflies in their stomachs.

The Senate has four new members that have never served in the Legislature among its 10 new senators. Four members of the House were elected to Senate seats, and two more are returning to the Capitol after serving in the past.

The House has 20 new members, although two also are returning after past terms.

1/9/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican lawmakers celebrated along with their supporters and Capitol denizens at a pair of fundraising receptions held at the University of Denver the night before the Legislature was set to convene.

1/9/2015
By Catherine Strode
POLICY OUTREACH SPECIALIST WITH ADVOCACY DENVER


An interview with Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins

1/9/2015

The Imitation Game
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance; directed by Morten Tyldum

The Theory of Everything
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis; directed by James Marsh

GOP State Chairman Ryan Call to be challenged by former Adams County chairman Steve House
1/2/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

A political riddle for all those who followed the 2014 elections here in the state: Would you call Colorado Republicans “winners” for taking the U.S. Senate seat away from a well- entrenched Democratic incumbent; sweeping the statewide offices; taking control of the state senate; and picking up seats in the state house?

Or, were Colorado Republicans ultimate “losers” for failing to regain the coveted governorship; and only slightly increasing their ranks in the state house, thereby leaving them short of recapturing control of the chamber?

Answer: Depends on who you ask, naturally.

1/2/2015

AG COMMISSIONER SALAZAR RETIRES

Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar has retired his cabinet position, having served in the role since 2011.

HUDSON: SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS ISN’T EASY
1/2/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

At 3 p.m. on the Friday afternoon before the final weekend leading up to Christmas you couldn’t help but wonder how many Denver residents would be willing to show up for a discussion of race, justice and police brutality. The answer turned out to be that a lot of people found the time to fight traffic, parking and a balky, Internet reservation system to claim 150 seats at the Colorado History Museum.

1/2/2015

The annual year-end list of movies shows — yet again — that these are just that: Lists. It all depends on who’s doing the sorting and on what basis. For example, here are some lists that show the absurdity of the whole endeavor and justify why some — including artists themselves — eschew awards and reject the notion of comparing artistic endeavors.

1/2/2015

We are pleased to announce that Jared Wright is joining our team at The Colorado Statesman as a new editorial cartoonist. Jared is a former Republican state representative from Fruita. During the 69th General Assembly Jared served in the House of Representatives where he proudly represented his hometown of Grand Junction, located in HD 54. He was the ranking member on the House Local Government Committee and a member of the House Judiciary and Business Committees. He did not seek reelection last year.

12/19/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

It was standing room only on Friday afternoon when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock led what he termed a “very frank” discussion about race relations and law enforcement at the History Colorado Center.

“Sometimes in our life, we don’t have an option whether we have tough conversations,” Hancock said, pointing out that the crowd of more than 200 had shown up on one of the busiest days of the holiday season.

12/12/2014
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Learn to count.

That was the first word of advice from former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, to new legislators at the last event of orientation on Wednesday.

Anderson was joined by three other distinguished former lawmakers, all who served in the Colorado General Assembly: former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, R-Colo., former Governor Dick Lamm and former state Senator Penfield Tate, D-Denver.

12/12/2014

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has appointed Don Mares, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado, as executive director of the newly established Office of Behavioral Health Strategies. The office is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation for a major metropolitan city.

12/12/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The Lincoln Club of Colorado’s third annual holiday party rang in the seasonal cheer on Wednesday night at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association’s building in Denver, giving members a chance to toast Republican victories on last month’s ballot and look forward to more success in the new year.


HUDSON: FLASHBACK FROM THE 1970s
12/12/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

In the fall of 1970 when I returned to Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone in Washington, D.C., I found a much different company than the one I’d left three years earlier as I departed for the U.S. Navy and a once in a lifetime opportunity to help keep Southeast Asia safe for democracy. AT&T, the nation’s largest employer, had executed a nationwide consent decree with the Nixon administration’s EEOC during my absence.

12/12/2014

STEVE PALMER HEADS NATIONAL PRACTICE AT GRAYLING

12/5/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Republicans haven’t had much to toast in the aftermath of elections for the past decade — beyond camaraderie in the face of mounting Democratic wins -— but this year it was different.

“Don’t we have a lot to celebrate this year?” asked Denver Republican Chair Wendy Warner at the county GOP’s Christmas party on Saturday. The hundred or so revelers gathered at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association headquarters raised their glasses to toast the candidates who won statewide, due in part to closer-than-usual margins in Democratic-dominated Denver.

12/5/2014

The innovative folks at R&R Partners got double bang for the buck on Dec. 4 when they celebrated both the upcoming holidays and the grand opening of their new very large office space in Centennial, which will soon feature a huge wrap-around deck for events and parties that will provide both city and mountain views. It was also the introduction of R&R’s new yuletide tradition of an Ugly Sweater Contest.

1/30/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

A deal to deregulate CenturyLink and get broadband services into unserved areas has hit a snag: the Public Utilities Commission.

CenturyLink filed a lawsuit against the PUC earlier this month, challenging the way the agency decided to allocate funds tied to two of five telecommunications reform bills passed by the General Assembly in 2014.

1/30/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The same day a state agency reported Colorado’s unemployment rate had dropped to its lowest level since October 2007, Gov. John Hickenlooper told a civic group that he plans to increase efforts to combat joblessness by expanding to additional populations a recently launched program intended to assist the long-term unemployed find work.

1/30/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

As the election dust finally settles from 2014 and we enter headlong into a new year, I can’t help but recall that old adage about the more things change, the more they stay the same. The proverb was used initially by the French novelist Alphonse Karr in the late 1890s but certainly is applicable in today’s world. It came to mind several times these last couple of weeks as I was editing stories for the newspaper.

HUDSON: A TRAVELING CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
1/30/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Two weeks ago Los Angeles celebrity attorney Gloria Allred brought the traveling press conference that provides muscle to her law practice into the basement of Denver’s Crawford Hotel at Union Station. Any doubt that Americans live in a fame-obsessed culture was erased by 10 video cameras squeezed into a tiny meeting room. Allred’s website declares she is the “most famous woman attorney practicing law in the nation today.” Critics argue she more accurately operates a reparations racket, rather than a law office, shaking down the bad boys of Hollywood.

GESING: AN OUTSIDE THE BOX PERSPECTIVE
1/30/2015
By Lars Gesing
Intern

In an effort to stall the passage of a bill that would approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. Senate Democrats over the past few weeks launched a harangue of amendments centered around climate change. The strategy was designed to force their foes on the other side of the aisle to gamble with their political capital.

1/30/2015

American Sniper

Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner; directed by Clint Eastwood

1/23/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Campaign consultant David Sabados announced late this week that he is challenging Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio, who is seeking a third term as head of the state party at the Democrats’ reorganization meeting next month. Former congressional candidate Vic Meyers of Trinidad is also seeking the chairmanship.

1/23/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Imagine, if you will, that after the recent State of the Union speech by the President on Jan. 20, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Republican House Speaker John Boehner worked together to craft a mutually acceptable press release about the historic event, managing to not offend or embarrass one another in the shared effort.

An improbable scenario, right?

1/23/2015

Dear Friends,

I write today to encourage your support of Steve House for Chairman of the State Republican Party.

1/23/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

Five years after a slim majority of Supreme Court justices handed down its game-changing Citizens United ruling — opening the floodgates for virtually unlimited corporate campaign contributions — even the decision’s most ardent opponents now admit that money in elections is here to stay.

GESING: A DAY WORTH REMEMBERING
1/16/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

When you wonder what makes Colorado a special place, you could turn your face toward the snow-capped, majestic Rocky Mountains. You could praise the deep sense of freedom and independence instilled in its people, or the quality of life they get to enjoy day in, day out.

Or you could watch the governor pick the strings of a banjo during one of the marquee days of his tenure.

1/16/2015
By Lars Gesing and Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

After Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered a State of the State address Thursday that was widely regarded as a renewed pitch to bridge pending partisan trench warfare in the Capitol, lawmakers across the aisle seized the moment and grabbed the governor’s outstretched hand.

1/16/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper began his second term this week with a different set of challenges than the ones he faced during his first term. His fifth State of the State address Thursday outlined how he will address the challenges of a more prosperous state than the one he led in 2011, and perhaps the legacy he wants to leave.

1/16/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Well known lobbyist and former state legislator Steve Durham has been a fixture at the Colorado Capitol since the late 1970s when he began his political career as a Republican state representative from El Paso County, later moving on to the state Senate. Last month, a State Board of Education vacancy committee selected Durham over three other candidates to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Paul Lundeen, another El Paso Couty Republican who was elected to the statehouse in November and sworn in a couple weeks ago.

1/16/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Wildcatter and energy tycoon, newspapers and television stations owner, real estate developer and railroad baron, sports teams owner and hotelier, film producer and philanthropist: Phil Anschutz, this year’s Citizen of the West, is all of these. But, according to his public persona and his own family’s account, he is unwilling to live in the limelight. He seldom grants interviews to the press, is usually too private to have his picture taken, and doesn’t like to accept awards.


1/16/2015

Please join us in welcoming Lars Gesing on board as our editorial intern. Lars is 26 years old, from Hamburg, Germany, where he also received his undergraduate degree in journalism.

Now a second-year master’s student at CU-Boulder, he graduates in May.

Fascinated by international politics & affairs, he describes himself as the kid who would pull an all-nighter to watch coverage of U.S. elections even when he had to go to school the next day.

1/16/2015

Selma
Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey, Andre Holland, Tim Roth; directed by Ava DuVernay

This week’s review is written using portions of the text of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (delivered Aug.0 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.); with apologies to him and all who have been inspired by his powerful words.

1/16/2015
By Maggie Tharp
The Colorado Statesman

If you haven’t been to Earls Kitchen and Bar in the past few months, it might be time for a visit. After a full renovation and menu revamp, the delightful restaurant — which Earls’ staff admits was “dated” — has caught up with Denver’s fast-moving dining scene.

1/9/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Newly installed Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, began his first speech in his new role with the state motto, “Nothing without providence.”

But it may as well have been “Expect the unexpected.”

Cadman led off his first speech with tributes to his family, and to his mother, who died of cancer when he was in his early 20s. He then lit the first of three memory candles at a nearby table in her honor.

1/9/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder County, sat down with The Colorado Statesman on Jan. 2, 2015, at the newspaper office across the street from the Capitol for an interview with Editor & Publisher Jody Hope Strogoff. Hullinghorst was scheduled to be officially ushered in as the new speaker of the House five days later when the 70th General Assembly convened. She discussed her upcoming role as the first Democratic woman speaker of the House and her expectations of the session.

1/9/2015

House Republicans held their reception Tuesday evening at the Ritchie Center, on the club level overlooking DU’s hockey rink. The GOP narrowed the Democrats’ margin by several seats to 34-31 in the November election and had plenty to celebrate, legislative leaders said.


HUDSON: GOVERNMENT DYSFUNCTION PREVAILS
1/9/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

George Gallup opened his polling firm 80 years ago in Princeton, New Jersey, successfully predicting Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election victory over Alf Landon in the 1936 presidential campaign. In following years his company began to offer marketing surveys, advertising advice and economic evaluations to American businesses.

1/2/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The most important investment most Coloradans make — buying a home — may once again take center stage this month, when a divided Colorado General Assembly starts its 2015 session on Jan. 7.

The General Assembly has failed twice in the last two sessions to pass reforms to the construction defects law, with one effort dying in the House (2013) and the other, Senate Bill 14-220, in the Senate.

1/2/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Supporters of the effort to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer are turning away from the General Assembly and on to voters.

For four years, beginning in 2009, the Legislature tried but failed to pass laws allowing grocery and/or convenience stores to sell full-strength beer or wine. The push from grocery store owners came after the Legislature lifted a ban on Sunday sales for liquor stores in 2008.

WILLIAMS: POLICE REFORM REQUIRES A MORE HOLISTIC APPROACH
1/2/2015
By Rep. Angela Williams
GUEST COLUMNIST

As the nation is gripped in the passion of a fresh new justice movement lashing out against the atrocities of police brutality, there is a grand opportunity for Colorado to take a stand and make a difference.

SMITH: THE HECK WITH MARCO RUBIO’S ATTACKS ON OBAMA
1/2/2015
By Morgan Smith
GUEST COLUMNIST

Congratulations to President Obama for being the first president to stand up and reject the counterproductive and long outdated Cuban embargo. And to heck with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and others for their attacks on him. How can they justify an embargo that was first imposed on October 19, 1960, extended on February 7, 1962 and has, in effect, kept the Castro brothers in power longer than the terms of our last seven presidents? How would the Castros ever have maintained power if they hadn’t had the United States to blame for their decades of economic mismanagement and brutality?

12/19/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Supporters of former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo raised a glass to toast the Republican and conservative principles at a gathering of a couple dozen key backers of his gubernatorial bid on Sunday night at a Lakewood steakhouse.

Noting that he had celebrated his 69th birthday the day before, a wistful-sounding Tancredo observed, “It’s been a wonderful ride — a wonderful life.” Smiling, he asked, “Isn’t that the movie?”

12/12/2014
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

New legislators aren’t the only ones going through orientation. Some of their spouses and partners also spent two days this week learning what their roles will, and won’t be, in the coming session.

Only a handful attended the spouses’ orientation sessions, but they told The Colorado Statesman they’re ready to support their partners and help keep them grounded.

12/12/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

There was plenty of holiday spirit at the Leadership Program of the Rockies party on Thursday at the Wellshire Event Center in south Denver, where more than 150 supporters, alumnae and members of the current Class of 2015 talked liberty and founding principles over a sumptuous spread.


12/12/2014

On Dec. 10, Gov. John Hickenlooper presented the first draft of Colorado’s Water Plan, praising the work of hundreds of participants across the state for their role in building a collaborative approach for navigating Colorado’s water challenges.

SMITH: BREAKING AWAY HERE AND YONDER
12/12/2014
By Morgan Smith
GUEST COLUMNIST

“After I vote, I look up into the sky and say a prayer that it will turn out alright,” says a Spaniard named Francisco Noviola. Despite the agony of our November 4 elections, it’s November 9 and here we are in Barcelona, Spain to observe another election — the referendum on independence from Spain that was taking place throughout the region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital. Noviola was one of the many voters I interviewed.