Honoring “The Lady of the House”

Former Sen. Dottie Wham, former Capitol staffer Mary Sharon Wells, Sen. Pat Steadman and lobbyist Charlie Hebler at the memorial tribute for Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House, Tuesday at the Colorado State Capitol. (SOS photo)
Former Sen. Dottie Wham, former Capitol staffer Mary Sharon Wells, Sen. Pat Steadman and lobbyist Charlie Hebler at the memorial tribute Tuesday at the Colorado State Capitol for Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House. (SOS photo)

Lawmakers past and present showed up Tuesday to pay tribute to Lee Bahrych, the former chief clerk of the state House who loved the Capitol as much as she despised the pranks rowdy lawmakers were prone to pull.

Former staffer Donna Acierno recalled how Bahrych once got so annoyed with Rep. Scott McInnis she grabbed the lawmaker’s ear and made him sit down in his seat.

“That was before Scott was in leadership,” Acierno said, with a laugh.

Chief Clerk Marilyn Eddins and former Rep. Jeff Shoemaker at a tribute Tuesday for the late Lee Bahrych. (SOS photo)
Chief Clerk Marilyn Eddins and former Rep. Jeff Shoemaker at a tribute Tuesday for the late Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House. (SOS photo)

McInnis, who went on to become the House majority leader, a congressman and now a Mesa County commissioner, was present at Bahrych’s tribute in the old Supreme Court chambers at the Capitol. Afterward, guests were invited to have strawberries and pound cake — in honor of Bahrych’s tradition of serving strawberries to her staffers once the session ended.

Bahrych, who died in April at the age of 90, had worked at the Capitol from 1970 to 1994.

“I thought it was a beautiful tribute to a great lady,” said the current chief clerk, Marilyn Eddins. “Lee was there when I was interviewed and hired in 1982. I had not been employed in 16 years and was very nervous. She put me at ease and I have never forgotten her kind words and encouragement. That encouragement never stopped.”

Eddins became emotional when talking about Bahrych.

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In memory of Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the state House

Chief Justice Luis Roveria and Lee Bahrych, the chief clerk of the state House of Representatives in this undated photo. (Lee Bahrych family)
Chief Justice Luis Rovira and Lee Bahrych, the chief clerk of the state House of Representatives, smile for the camera in this undated photo. Bahrych, who died in April, will honored at a memorial service Tuesday. (Lee Bahrych family photo)

Lee Bahrych, who served as chief clerk of the Colorado House of Representatives, retired from the state more than two decades ago but her legacy lives on today.

It was her idea that when a former representative passed away, their families be invited into the House chamber when the memorial was read and adopted. When she realized those touring the Capitol had no where to sit, she designed benches that were placed on all the legislative floors. And she understood long before her peers that technology was going to change the place and chaired a committee to make it happen.

Glee Coffman Bahrych, known as “Lee,” died April 10, 2016 at the age of 90. Bahrych, who began working for the legislature in 1970 and became the chief clerk in 1985, will be memorialized at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the old Supreme Court chamber.

Former Rep. Jeff Schoemaker will deliver the eulogy.

“Lee Bahrych was truly the ‘Lady of House,'” said the current chief House clerk, Marilyn Eddins. “I don’t remember who coined that phrase, but it’s true. Because of her I have loved every minute of my work in this beautiful building.”

Read moreIn memory of Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the state House

“Strong Sisters” documents the role of women in Colorado politics

The Andersons: Kate, granddaughter of former lawmaker Norma Anderson, center, and daughter of former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson, right, attended the "Strong Sisters" premiere Sunday afternoon. Colorado has yet to have a woman governor, but Norma Anderson said her granddaughter would be perfect for the job when she gets older.
The Andersons: Kate, left, the granddaughter of former lawmaker Norma Anderson, center, and the daughter of former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson, right. They attended the “Strong Sisters” premiere Sunday afternoon.
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County and Rep. Kathleen Conti of Arapahoe County, at the showing of "Strong Sisters."
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County and Rep. Kathleen Conti of Arapahoe County, at the showing of “Strong Sisters.”

A who’s who of female politicians — including former House majority leaders Norma Anderson to Amy Stephens — showed up Sunday for the premiere of the documentary they starred in, “Strong Sisters,” which examines women and Colorado politics.

The bipartisan film, produced by Meg Kruizenga Froelich and Laura Hoeppner, looks at the many firsts for women in Colorado but notes how they haven fall short when it comes to higher office.

Only four women have served in the U.S. House — Pat Schroeder, Diana DeGette, Marilyn Musgrave and Betsy Markey — and no woman has been elected to the U.S. Senate or governor.

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Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser

Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp and former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, along with her daughter-in-law, former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson at Tuesday night's Senate Republican fundraiser.
Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp and former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, along with her daughter-in-law, former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, at Tuesday night’s Senate Republican fundraiser.
Former state Sen. Mark Hillman of Burlington and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who is running for the state Senate.
Former state Sen. Mark Hillman of Burlington and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who is running for the state Senate.

The Senate Republicans’ fundraising gala tonight featured the usual mix of lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers but tonight there was an added ingredient: a bit of history.

Former Gov. Bill Owens, whose lengthy political career included a stint in the state Senate, was present as were three former GOP Senate minority or majority leaders: Norma Anderson of Lakewood, Mark Hillman of Burlington and Mike Kopp of Littleton.

All left their mark on the Senate.

“It’s good to see so many people,” said Anderson, who posed with plenty of folks who wanted a picture with her.

Read moreSenate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser