Knoedler & Witwer: The next generation

Aida Knoedler and Kit Witwer ran for president of their fifth grade class at Dennison Elementary School in Jefferson County.

Facebook is filled these days with posts about people’s kids running for school offices, but the one that warmed my heart belonged to former state Rep. Matt Knoedler of Lakewood and featured a picture of his daughter.

“Wouldn’t you vote for her? Meet Dennison Elementary’s newly elected 5th grade President!”

Knoedler’s Facebook post inspired several fun comments, including one from Jon Caldara, the political court jester at the right leaning Independence Institute.

“Does that mean she has the power to pardon me?” Caldara asked. “She does but she wouldn’t,” Knoedler replied.

Dennison was one of five Colorado schools recognized Thursday as National Blue Ribbon Schools, cited for high performance on state and national tests, The Denver Post reported.

Aida Knoedler beat more than 10 other candidates, including the son of former state Rep. Rob Witwer, which inspired this gracious tweet:

Knoedler jokingly responded to the Tweet by saying it was “fake news” that his daughter colluded with sixth graders.

Aida’s campaign sign read, “Vote Aida for 5th Grade President. Who could do better? Probably Abe Lincoln, but it’s NOT the 1800s.” Kit’s featured his head imposed on an eagle, the school mascot.

Aida Knoedler’s campaign poster for class president. (Knoedler photo)

“Fortunately, Kit and Aida are friends — and guitar buddies, so it’s all good,” Witwer said.

“We all assumed Kit had it in the bag, so it was a big surprise,” Knoedler said. “If he had played guitar, he’d be president for sure.”

Knoedler and Witwer served together in the House at the time I covered “The Ledge” for the Rocky Mountain News. The Jefferson County Republicans were known as go-to guys and good people.

Knoedler now works for Squire Patton Boggs and he turned me on to a great story when I worked at The Denver Post, about the state trying to regulate yoga instructors.

“The centuries-old practice of yoga has run into the modern practice of regulation, setting up a battle between a Colorado agency and instructors who say the need for state rules is a stretch,” the story began (h/t to Chuck Plunkett for that incredible lead).

Former Rep. Matt Knoedler.

Knoedler and his wife Ariahn have four children, starting with Ciara in 2005. She weighed 8 pounds 14 ounces and her dad took heat from fellow lawmakers for telling me, “She is enormous,” which I printed in the Rocky. You say that about boys, not girls, he was told. But there would be no boys. Aida was born Sept. 23, 2007.

When I was doing the write up, I asked her dad if she were a “blizzard baby.”

“I have no comment on that, but, yes, there were blizzards nine months ago,” Knoedler said. “In fact, of the eight guys in my poker game, four of us had babies this month.”

Then came the twins, Bethany and Sadie, in 2011. By that time I was working for The Post. In my blog post, Knoedler pointed out that Witwer had four boys roughly the same age.

“Maybe we can get a group discount if we arrange marriages,” Knoedler joked.

Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Jefferson County, becomes the human jungle gym for his three sons: John (left), 4; Robby, ( far right) 3 and Jeffrey (center), 1. (Photo by Marc Piscotty, 2006, as part of the Rocky Mountain News’ Citizen Legislator series)

Witwer was 34 when he took over dad’s seat in the state House in 2005. He and his wife Heather had three young sons at the time, John (named for Witwer’s dad), Robby and Jeffrey.

When she became pregnant again, with another boy, I argued repeatedly with Rep. Witwer over their chosen name, Christopher Price. There are a zillion Christophers, but only a few Prices, I said. Make Price the first name.

Christopher Price Witwer was born Sept. 11, 2007, but was immediately nicknamed Kit. He is into playing songs from AC/DC, the Ramones, Rush and other groups from that era.

The Witwers invited me to their 20th wedding anniversary at the Denver Press Club in 2015.

I reminded Witwer, an in-house lawyer for an energy company, about then House Majority Leader Alice Madden’s compliment on his last day of the legislature. Rob Witwer was the kind of guy who when he said he was quitting politics to spend more time with the family, you knew it was the truth, Madden said.