“Strong Sisters” documents the role of women in Colorado politics

The Andersons: Kate, granddaughter of former lawmaker Norma Anderson, center, and daughter of former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson, right, attended the "Strong Sisters" premiere Sunday afternoon. Colorado has yet to have a woman governor, but Norma Anderson said her granddaughter would be perfect for the job when she gets older.
The Andersons: Kate, left, the granddaughter of former lawmaker Norma Anderson, center, and the daughter of former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson, right. They attended the “Strong Sisters” premiere Sunday afternoon.
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County and Rep. Kathleen Conti of Arapahoe County, at the showing of "Strong Sisters."
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County and Rep. Kathleen Conti of Arapahoe County, at the showing of “Strong Sisters.”

A who’s who of female politicians — including former House majority leaders Norma Anderson to Amy Stephens — showed up Sunday for the premiere of the documentary they starred in, “Strong Sisters,” which examines women and Colorado politics.

The bipartisan film, produced by Meg Kruizenga Froelich and Laura Hoeppner, looks at the many firsts for women in Colorado but notes how they haven fall short when it comes to higher office.

Only four women have served in the U.S. House — Pat Schroeder, Diana DeGette, Marilyn Musgrave and Betsy Markey — and no woman has been elected to the U.S. Senate or governor.

"Strong Sisters," a film about women in Colorado politics.
“Strong Sisters,” a film about women and Colorado politics.

Democrat Gail Schoettler, who lost the governor’s race to Republican Bill Owens, related in the film how some of the same people who supported her successful runs for state treasurer and lieutenant governor openly balked at supporting a woman for governor.

Others interviewed for the film included Democrat Joyce Foster and Republican Jeanne Faatz, who both served on the Denver City Council and in the legislature; former Rep. Vicki Agler, a Littleton Republican; the current House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, former Sen. Dottie Wham, R-Denver; former state Rep. and Denver First Lady Wilma Webb; former Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan, who was the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate; former state Sens. Polly Baca and Paula Sandoval and more.

The producers mingled interviews with current and former women politicians along with historical photos and data. Westword editor Patricia Calhoun appeared in the film; so did I because of my experience covering politics for the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post.

Joyce Foster, a former state senator and Denver City Council member, at the "Strong Sisters" showing with her granddaughter Abby and son David Foster.
Joyce Foster, a former state senator and Denver City Council member, at the “Strong Sisters” showing with her granddaughter Abby and son David Foster.

“That thing where you work on a documentary for three years and then start living it! Thank you to the many people who made today happen!” Froelich wrote on her Facebook page.

The producers showed the film to sold-out crowds at two viewings Sunday afternoon at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the Aspen Grove shopping center. The film will air at least twice on PBS.

1 thought on ““Strong Sisters” documents the role of women in Colorado politics”

  1. And don’t forget the rest of us!
    Some of us even wrote a book…Caught Between the Bettys..my memoir dedicated to Betty Crocker and Betty Friedan. From start to finish, up to the legislature…a lesson for younger women..if you don’t know where you came from, how do you know where you are going?
    What’s your story?

    Honorable Alice Borodkin

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