The Fightin’ Granny fights no more

Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden, and William Kane, 10, of Lakewood, during a news conference at the state Capitol in 2008. William had urged the lawmaker to pursue a resolution making skiing and snowboarding the official winter sports of Colorado. Green died Wednesday at the age of 79. (George Kochaniec Jr./Rocky Mountain News/ Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

“The Fightin’ Granny,” as former Rep. Gwyn Green was known, has died, unleashing a string of memories of the lawmaker, whose first victory in 2004 was so close it led to a recount.

She campaigned in a 1954 Chevy pickup that belonged to a fellow Jefferson County Democrat, Max Tyler, who succeeded Green when she resigned effective June 1, 2009, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Ian Silverii, now the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, credits Rep. Gwyn Green for his deep involvement in Colorado Democratic politics. (Silverri FB photo)

Among those who paid tribute to Green after news of her death spread was Ian Silverii, now the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado.

He wrote on his Facebook page how in 2007 he packed everything he owned in his grandfather’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid and drove from New Jersey to Colorado, where he managed his first state House campaign, for Green.

“Gwyn taught me everything about being progressive, having integrity, fighting the good fight and never letting up,” he wrote in part.

“I’ll never forget her infectious laugh, her tireless work ethic, and her short temper for injustice. Gwyn Green earned her nickname, ‘The Fightin’ Granny’ and she’s the one who taught me how to fight for what’s right.

“Rest in peace friend, I wouldn’t have this life without your mentorship and your trust in me. The world lost a warrior, and Colorado lost a legend.”

Read moreThe Fightin’ Granny fights no more

Bruce Benson, one of Colorado’s best

Bruce Benson smiles as he talks to reporters after he was voted to be president of the University of Colorado by the CU Board of Regents Feb. 20, 2008. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson’s announcement last week that he was retiring in a year brought much deserved accolades about his contributions to education, but the reality is Benson’s investment in Colorado straddles a variety of issues. We are all the better for it.

I covered the legislature in 2005 when deep, deep cuts still hadn’t solved the budget crisis. There were very real behind-the-scene discussions about what was next. Community colleges and state parks were on the list, even though closing them would trigger economic disasters in those regions.

Bruce, an oilman and business executive, and two other high-profile Republicans, Gov. Bill Owens and then CU President Hank Brown, put their reputations on the line to push for the passages of Referendums C and D. The right dissed the tax measures but the trio held firm.

“This isn’t about politics; this is about good fiscally conservative policies,” Benson told the Pueblo Chieftain.

Read moreBruce Benson, one of Colorado’s best

Memorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver

Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News)
Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News*)

A media critic once asked me why I interviewed the same small handful of media consultants — including Katy Atkinson and Eric Sondermann — over and over.

I told Jason Salzman that I had the numbers for about 15 consultants taped to my computer, but that I particularly relied on Atkinson and Sondermann because they were smart and “up on everything.”

“Bartels acknowledges that she quotes a relatively small number of political commentators repeatedly, and she says she’d like to expand her list. But it’s not easy to find sources who are willing to be quoted, call back before deadline, are honest and, finally, can articulate a sentence with ‘real words’ and ‘nouns,'” Salzman wrote in the Rocky Mountain News.

“She told me during her interview that I wasn’t using ‘nouns’ myself. She was right; I was muddled, but eventually I got my question out, sort of.”

Sadly, here are some  nouns: cancer, memorial service, cemetery, reception.

Atkinson died Sept. 24 at the age of 59 after a brief battle with brain cancer.  A memorial service honoring her will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 1820 Broadway, with internment at the Crown Hill Cemetery, 7777 W. 29th Ave. in Wheat Ridge. Services are open to the public.

Read moreMemorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver