Even without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

Not a single House Republican is term limited this year — which is a legislative record — but six of them won’t be coming back anyway.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with two Senate Democrats who are term limited, Lucia Guzman of Denver and Andy Kerr of Lakewood. (SOS photo)

That’s because five of the GOP members are running for another office and the sixth, Yeullin Willett of Grand Junction, chose not to run again.

Every two years, the House and Senate chambers say good-bye to the members who won’t be back, usually because of term limits, which voters approved in 1990 and went into effect in 1998. House members can serve four, two-year terms, senators can serve two, four-year terms.

On the last day of the 2018 session, on May 9, Willett pointed out how many lawmakers who were sworn in with him in 2015 were already gone, backing up the point made by the late, great political sage, Jerry Kopel.

Former lawmaker Jerry Kopel. (Dave Kopel photo)

“Term limit supporters claim it’s necessary to limit terms so legislators don’t overstay. But a little research casts doubt on the idea that overstaying was ever a problem. It would seem the whole reason for term limits is based on a myth of political junky careerist state legislators,” the former lawmaker wrote in 2008.

Kopel’s research showed that an average of 22 or 23 legislators were gone every two years without term limits being involved. Some died in office, others lost elections. And of course some resigned or chose not to run again.

This year, eight of the Senate’s 35 members are term limited. And 17 of the 65 representatives won’t return to the House next year for one reason or another. Here’s a breakdown of departing lawmakers by chamber and by caucus:

Read moreEven without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son Thatcher steals the show — again

U.S. Sen. Cory and his wife, Jaime, and their children Thatcher, 5, Caitlyn, 2, and Alyson, 13, at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night. (SOS)

Once again, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son has upstaged him, this time at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night.

Two years ago, Thatcher Gardner stole the show from state Senate President Bill Cadman at the Colorado Republican Party’s Centennial Dinner in the metro area. Thatcher was 3 at the time when he kept mimicking Cadman; he’s now 5 as he was happy to remind his dad.

Thatcher Gardner proudly displays where his tooth used to be. (SOS)

Gardner, the featured speaker at the dinner, was telling the crowd about when his son had worked on a school project that asked for favorite color and such. Thatcher, who was seated at the head table, was intent on his computer game.

“I think he was 4 at the time,” Gardner said.

“I’m 5,” Thatcher said, without looking up.

It was the second time the boy addressed the dinner.

The first time was when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams spoke, after being introduced by Alamosa County Commissioner  Darius Allen, who praised Williams. Allen said when Williams served on the El Paso County Board of Commissioners he looked out for small, rural counties and was the commissioners’ go-to-guy on transportation. Williams talked about elections — and transportation.

“I didn’t care what affiliation the road was when it had a pothole in it,” Williams said, resulting in a big “Ha!” from Thatcher that drew a laugh from the crowd.

Read moreU.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son Thatcher steals the show — again