Jerry Kopel

KOPEL: REMEMBRANCES OF A FINE COLLEAGUE

Former Rep. John Davoren was a hard worker with a soft side

John B. Davoren Jr. loved a good story, as should any retired journalist.

John, a Democratic political moderate died at age 84 on Nov. 2, 2010 while the national Democrats suffered their biggest election losses in many decades.

John was a six-year member of the Colorado House from 1979-1985, a journalist, a veteran of both World War II and Korea, a protector of the environment, profoundly labor oriented and Adams County oriented, and an advertising expert on the sale of insurance. 

From 1955 through 1969 John was writing about the legislature first for United Press International and then for KOA and KOA TV. That gave him knowledge of the legislative process not shared by most new House and Senate members. 

In the 1978 election Davoren replaced Polly Baca-Barragan in the House when she moved to the state Senate. Thanks to strong research by Margaret Ackerman in her Colorado Legislative Almanac she gave John a 100 percent vote with then Democrat minority leader Bob Kirscht in 1979-80 before House Democrats later replaced Kirscht with Federico Peña. 

John’s priority as reported in the Almanac as well in the Colorado Press Association biography book were often money oriented such as water projects, highway repairs, giving mobile home owners right as owners of real property, creation of a legislative joint planning and policy committee, widening the market for prison industries productions.  

John Davoren was a six-year member of the Colorado House from 1979-1985.

I have not set out various non-legislative committees of which John was a member, but if it had a role in protecting Adams County citizens, he would be one. One such membership came to the front after Davoren retired from the Legislature. The committee was called Committee Against Stapleton Expansion. Davoren was back in the stories about the new airport location in Adams County that would move the site to Denver County jurisdiction. 

Davoren worked hard to establish financial penalties for planes taking off or landing low enough to cause noise damage to homes and Davoren followed through to make sure the penalties were assessed and paid to Adam’s County. That may be why take offs and landing penalties no longer seem to be occurring. 

For that committee as well as others Davoren burrowed deep into Adams County culture and that gave him authority to speak on behalf of the county. 

When John went to the mike in the House he had the members’ attention. He was an example that was often copied by members of the House who respected hard work done without notoriety. I am sorry that John never wrote a book about his legislative work. It would still have value in the present diverse atmosphere.  

Hopefully John’s heirs will turn his papers over to the Denver Public Library Western History archives. 

Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.