The 2017 eclipse has come and gone, but the pictures are forever — and thank goodness for that because some are spectacular.
In my book, winner-winner chicken dinner of political photos goes to Sean Paige, spokesman for the Colorado Senate Republicans, who got an amazing shot of four caucus members, including Senate President Kevin Grantham, looking into the sky with their special glasses.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and plenty of other elected officials, including county clerks and their staffs, got into the action, posting their photos on Facebook and Twitter. Colorado Politics’ Erin Prater put together a string of tweets and photos from various politicos. It’s a fun read.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited scenic, friendly Fremont County twice in two days as county clerks in the southern region are meeting in Cañon City.
Williams addressed the clerks Wednesday morning, answering questions, fielding compliments and talking about how new ballot measures voters passed in 2016 will impact their operations.
“Some of you are wondering will there be an issue on the ballot this November. Why might you care?” Williams asked, and then explained that if a statewide issue is on the ballot then counties get reimbursed from the state some of the costs of running an election.
One proposal going through the legislature would ask voters in November to decide on a sales tax increase to help fix Colorado’s roads. It is sponsored by Cañon City’s own Kevin Grantham, the Senate president and a Republican, and House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat. The first committee hearing on their proposal, House Bill 1242, is being held today at the state capitol.
“We have 725 days left together, and as the late, great, Muhammad Ali said, ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count,'” Hickenlooper said.
I loved covering the Colorado legislature, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for The Denver Post (except for some of those hearings or debates that never seemed to end).
My first session was in 2000 where the hottest committee was House Finance. Every lawmaker, it seemed, had an idea of how to cut taxes to reduce that billion-dollar surplus. Yes, billion with a B. Such heady times, followed by such hard times.
Eventually the excitement of the opening days leads to exhaustion, frustration and drama.
“Often referred to as Gold Dome High School, the Capitol is a petri dish for hurt feelings, dust-ups and behavior lawmakers often regret,” I wrote in 2011, after the latest blow up.
When May finally rolls around, there’s relief and a tinge of sadness. That building really is so special, the people who work there — the lawmakers, the lobbyists, the staff, the janitors, the reporters — they all make it hum.
For the second election in a row, an Adams County Republican has given the party control of the state Senate.
There were plenty of handshakes and hugs Thursday at the state Capitol when Kevin Priola of Henderson showed up. Priola, a state representative, defeated Democrat Jenise May, a former state representative, 52 percent to 47 percent in unofficial returns.
This is always a fascinating time under the Gold Dome. Two days after the general election, returning members and the freshly elected show up to pick caucus leaders, schmooze, celebrate and console.
It’s a disappointing day for the losing side. House Republicans saw three incumbents defeated, and Democrats next year will have a 37-28 majority. Senate Democrats are again in the minority and again by one seat, 18-17.
House Republicans chose one of the more conservative members of the caucus, Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, as minority leader. It’s not a term Neville embraces.