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#ICYMI, Colorado Rep. Leslie Herod told Elle, ‘We need more voices here, more kinds of voices’

Author: Joey Bunch - May 26, 2017 - Updated: June 17, 2017

Did you catch a local friendly face in Elle magazine back in January? OK, I saw it on Twitter today. There’s state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver right there in a big-time international fashion magazine.

The piece is called “Why I ran,” a first-person narrative she shared with writers Mattie Kahn and Nana Agyemang.

You can read it here.

This isn’t totally old news. In January Herod was known as a freshman lawmaker who also was the state’s first openly gay African-American woman to serve in the legislature.

She also won by the largest margin of any Colorado lawmaker, challenger or incumbent, last November.

People don’t think of her first as a trailblazer or even a local face in Elle (I would tell people forever, even strangers, I was profiled in Elle … “Hey you, on the corner, did you know I was profiled in Elle? I was. Want to see it?”), These days folks think of Herod as one of the most effective lawmakers under the gold dome after a single 120-day session. Period.

Her very first bill, a tax checkoff to help homeless youth, passed a divided legislature. She co-sponsored it with Sen. Bob Gardner.

In fact, she co-sponsored four bills with the conservative Republican from Colorado Springs, quite possibly the oddest friendship since Elton John and Eminem.

She sponsored 10 bills this session, and five went to the governor, including all four with Gardner. She had Republicans co-sponsors on eight of her 10 bills.

That’s true at the same time she became the third member of the Doghouse Democrats, those who aren’t afraid to rattle the caucus’ orthodoxy. She joined Reps. Joe Salazar of Thornton and Jovan Melton of Aurora on the growing caucus of rabble rousers.

And before Trump was even in office in January, she was out front taking down his Obamacare repeal. And most Republicans still like her.

Reading it now versus January gives you a sense of a person who sees an opportunity and makes the most of it. That’s who Leslie Herod is.

Some politicians try to impress with status. Herod uses work ethic.

Herod was in charge of her household when she was 12. She helped rally overlooked minorities at the University of Colorado, and she was one of the three co-founders of New Era Colorado, an effective and thriving group for young progressives.

“We need more voices here, more kinds of voices,” she told Elle. “Too many people who serve don’t think about how not having fertility coverage impacts women and families and our pocketbooks. They don’t think about how LGBT people are real people, and we just want to love and want to build our families like everyone else. They don’t understand how race and oppression shapes communities. Until you’re sitting at that table and bring it up, they just don’t acknowledge it.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.