You're born, you get married, you die... - Colorado Politics

You’re born, you get married, you die…

Author: Jody Hope Strogoff - July 1, 2011 - Updated: July 1, 2011

Please don’t construe the headline on this article as a necessarily glum and fatalistic commentary on the stages of life. It isn’t meant to be. It’s just that it sums up three events that have recently occured (or will occur, in one instance) and which show us the differing points in life that we’re experiencing aside from all the politics.

Let’s begin, naturally, at the beginning: the first stage of life.

While we’re waiting for news that Congress has somehow resolved the problem of lowering our debt or whatever else they’re tackling in our nation’s capitol these days, here at home there’s reason for more heartfelt and happy emotions. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, 36, Colorado’s congressman from Boulder, and his partner, Marlon Reis, 29, are expecting a baby.

The longtime couple will be welcoming their bundle of joy in September when a surrogate delivers their first baby.

I read in the Denver Post this week that Jared didn’t want to publicly divulge all the details about the process of becoming a parent with his gay partner. So even though we’re familiar with some of the specifics courtesy of a mutual friend, we’ll refrain from publicly blabbing until the prospective parents decide if, when and what to share.

But we will say this: There is a very kind and gentle side — we’d call it almost endearing — of Jared that isn’t always on display in the roughshod world of partisan politics. Whatever you think of Jared politically, he is a genuinely decent person with all the attributes that will make him a truly wonderful father. That baby will be very much loved and cared for by Jared and his partner, and that should be something which we all can salute.

By the way, the photo on our front page, the one with Jared standing next to a guy holding a little baby, that’s CU Regent Michael Carrigan and his young daughter from a campaign event held a few years ago.


Next, we move on to the subject of marriage, or getting married as it happened two weeks ago to a lovely couple whose names are well known in the political and legal communities in town. Ginnie Kontnik, who for many years served as chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, and Scott Eldredge, an attorney with the local law office of Burg Simpson, were united in marriage on June 18 with a beautiful celebration at the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek. Fr. David Kenney, the pastor of the Church of St. Augustine in Denver, presided over the ceremony. One of his specialties — and great joys, we understand — is the ministry of marriage preparation. (Another one of his joys are his sons and grandkids. Dave Jr. is the well known political consultant David Kenney who many of us know from local politics.)

Those in attendance — and the guest list was strewn with bold faced names — reveled in the happiness of the occasion. The ceremony took place in a tent outdoors, drinks and eats were upstairs at the hotel, and then the well wishers retired to the Cherry Cricket, which has become the popular place for spirited “after party” celebrations both political and otherwise.

Ginnie got out of politics a few years ago when the office politics became a little too much, andworks at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado-Denver. If Chris Romer had won the Denver mayoral election, Ginnie was a likely candidate for the chief of staff position at City Hall. But it was not to be.

Besides, she landed with a real prize two weeks ago.


And finally, we end this week with sad news about the death of a man much admired in the political community and by his many friends. Isaiah “Ike” Kelley, who was serving on the state’s civil rights commission at the time of his passing, suffered a heart attack Sunday while reportedly whipping up a batch of potato salad in his kitchen.

Ike Kelley, left, talks with Neil Bush at a Denver political event in the early 1980s. Kelley served in the Reagan administration as head of the regional Small Business Administration. He was also a candidate for office several times. He died June 26 of an apparent heart attack.

Kelley, 66, was well known in Denver GOP politics, having most recently run for Denver City Council in 2007. He worked with the regional Small Business Administration as an appointee in the Reagan administration back in the 1980s. He was the first black Republican nominated for statewide office (lieutenant governor) in Colorado during the 1994 state convention. He lost the primary to Bob Schaffer that year, but Ike continued to be active in local Republican politics for many years afterwards. He always had a smile on his face and kind words for everyone.

Services for Kelley are scheduled for Wednesday, July 6, at 11 a.m. at the Shorter Community A.M.E. Church at 3100 Richard Allen Court in Denver.

Jody Hope Strogoff

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