Sen. Pat Steadman: Meet the people who want to be the next me

Erin Bennet, state director of the Colorado chapter of 9to5, at a rally at the state Capitol. (Bennett campaign photo)
Erin Bennet, state director of the Colorado chapter of 9to5, at a rally at the state Capitol. (Bennett campaign photo)

State Sen. Pat Steadman does most of the talking at his town halls, but on Monday he’s going to give three Denver Democrats vying for his seat a chance to make their case.

Steadman said next year is going to be “all about” the race for president and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election bid.

“Not enough attention is paid to state legislative races,” he said, when asked about hosting the candidate forum.

“Now is the perfect time to ask people to learn more about candidates who want to represent them in the state legislature. It’s a public service.”

Sen. Pat Steadman, left, had endorsed Steve Sherick, right, in the race got his legislative seat. (Sherick campaign photo)
Sen. Pat Steadman, left, had endorsed Steve Sherick, right, in the race got his legislative seat. (Sherick campaign photo)
Gov. John HIckenlooper, left, has endorsed state Rep. Lois Court for Senate District 31. (Court campaign photo)
Gov. John HIckenlooper, left, has endorsed state Rep. Lois Court for Senate District 31. (Court campaign photo)

Steadman is term limited after 2016. Running for his seat are Erin Bennett, the state director of the Colorado chapter of  9to5, state Rep. Lois Court and emergency room doctor Steve Sherick.  Steadman raised some eyebrows earlier this week by endorsing Sherick with the town hall just days away. The endorsement was first reported by The Denver Post’s John Frank, who noted Steadman passed over his legislative colleague.

Steadman told the SOS he originally planned to hold the Senate District 31 town hall last month, and didn’t want to hold off any longer on endorsing Sherick.

The forum  will be held at the Eisenhower Chapel at Lowry, 293 Roslyn St. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Monday, and the event begins at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.

Denver Press Club’s Gridiron shows zings EPA, Tom Brady and others

Denver City Council members Kevin Flynn, Robin Kniech and Mary Beth Susman perform at the Denver Press Club's annual Gridiron Show Friday night at the University of Denver's Reiman Theater. (Photo courtesy of Brendan McCaw Photography)
Denver City Council members Kevin Flynn, Robin Kniech and Mary Beth Susman perform at the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show Friday night at the University of Denver’s Reiman Theater. (Photo courtesy of Brendan McCaw Photography)

The Environmental Protection Agency and Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge controversy  provided grist Friday for the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show, which spoofs politicians and political happenings in song and skit.

The show  featured Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hicktones, singing “Sweet Second Term” to “Sweet Caroline.”

Former Denver Post reporter, Fred Brown, known for his style and his stanzas, moderated the event, which was held at the Reiman Theater on the University of Denver campus. Brown’s limerick on outgoing Speaker John Boehner got a huge laugh:

For years now it couldn’t be plainer
The Tea Party hated John Boehner
   They wanted, as speaker,
   Someone stronger, not weaker,
Or really, just someone insane-er. 

Read moreDenver Press Club’s Gridiron shows zings EPA, Tom Brady and others

Politico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer

Political consultant Katy Atkinson.
Political consultant Katy Atkinson.

Political consultant Katy Atkinson, who started out working for Republicans and eventually handled high-profile nonpartisan ballot measures, died today.

Atkinson was a sought-after spokesperson by reporters because she knew Colorado politics and she quickly returned phone calls.

“Katy Atkinson was smart and witty and just a delight to be around,” said Dick Wadhams, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and a veteran political consultant. “That’s what made her just a great person to work with in politics. In the most intense situation, she could laugh.”

Atkinson was a Colorado native who attended Wheat Ridge High School and Colorado College, where she graduated in 1978 — the same year she got her start in politics.

“She accomplished quite a bit but her son Randy was her greatest achievement,” said lobbyist Mike Beasley, who visited Atkinson Wednesday in hospice.

Atkinson was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was 59.

Read morePolitico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer

If you’re Chris Hansen, where’s Sen. Cory Gardner?

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, and his chief of staff, Chris Hansen. (Facebook)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, and his chief of staff, Chris Hansen. (Facebook)

Meet Chris Hansen, the chief of staff for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. Meet Chris Hansen, one of three Democrats running for a Denver state House seat.

The two Chris Hansens have never met but their paths have crossed for more than a year.

When candidate Chris Hansen showed up at the Denver Rustlers lunch on Sept. 1  guests peppered him with questions and comments. “Wait, you’re not the Chris Hansen I know!” and “I thought Cory’s chief of staff would be here when I saw your name on the list.”

It’s happened at other events, too, where both Republicans and Democrats are in the crowd.

Chief of Staff Chris Hansen knows the feeling. He opened up his Facebook page last year to find he had been “tagged” in a post by DA candidate Michael Carrigan as attending an event where Betsy Markey, a Democrat running for state treasurer, “gave great remarks about her race.”

“Wrong Chris Hansen,” Chris Hansen wrote on Facebook. “A very wrong Chris Hansen, since I’m actually Cory’s campaign manager. Looks like a fun event though.”

“It was,” Carrigan replied. “Should have brought Cory!”

Read moreIf you’re Chris Hansen, where’s Sen. Cory Gardner?

Former House colleagues praise Bill Berens; funeral services set for Saturday

Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)
Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)

The men and women who served with Republican Bill Berens in the state House on Friday praised the lawmaker for his devotion to the city of Broomfield and daring to speak his mind to make Colorado a better place.

“Bill Berens was a dapper, friendly soul,” said Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, who was chairwoman of the House Local Government Committee when Berens was a member.

“I recall that many of his contributions to our discussions began with ‘When I was mayor of Broomfield, we … ,’  or ‘In Broomfield, we ….’ He was very proud of his city and the role he had played in its progress,” she said.  “I’ll miss him at United Power legislative lunches where we would reminisce about ‘the good old days.’ May he rest in peace.”

Berens died Monday at the age of 66 after battling cancer for seven months. His funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Nativity of  Our Lord Catholic Church in Broomfield.

The Broomfield Enterprise and The Denver Post chronicled the life of Berens, a civil engineer who served four terms as Broomfield mayor and one term in the House before being swept out of office in the Democratic tidal wave of 2006.

“Rep. Berens and I opposed one another in two House races,” said Rep. Dianne Primavera, a Democrat. “He defeated me in 2004. I defeated him in 2006. Despite being competitors, he and I respected one another and had a cordial relationship.  He even offered several times to teach me to play golf! Ironically, my story has been one of a cancer survivor. Sadly, he had a different outcome with his illness. I’m still in shock at his passing.”