Smith: May The Colorado Statesman’s legacy of humanizing politics live on
Author: Morgan Smith - June 9, 2017 - Updated: June 16, 2017
Congratulations and best wishes to Clarity Media, the new owner of The Colorado Statesman. I’ve been writing for The Statesman since at least the early 1980s when I was commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture and have always seen the newspaper as a vital player in Colorado’s political life. I see its value even more clearly having lived in New Mexico for the last decade where there is no counterpart to The Statesman. New Mexico is a small state — about a third the size of Colorado and one that is struggling in every measure of success. It’s a state that critically needs to re-involve its citizens in its political life. Yet, despite living here, I know far less about New Mexico’s real political life — the key players and issues — than I do about Colorado where I can follow politics via The Statesman.
Political life has a long rich history in Colorado. One of the special opportunities The Statesman provided me via Jody Strogoff was the ability to look back and honor legislators I had served with in the 1970s as well as a number of other distinguished public figures like Monte Pascoe, Chips Barry, David Miller, Judges John Kane and Mike Bender, and Wally Stealey. Sadly, this began with obituaries. Jody would call when someone I had served with had died and I was often able to provide a funny story and perhaps a photograph. This was a way of humanizing someone who had served as opposed to simply listing the bare facts of their lives — dates of service, awards etc. I expanded this to former legislators who were still alive and have had a wonderful time tracking down the likes of Bob Kirscht, Frank Traylor, Allan Dines, Ruben Valdez, Bob and Helen Shoemaker and many others.
The reality is that politics is “in the moment.” It’s easy to forget those who have served and contributed to the well-being of this state. Those are the kind of articles that would be tough to get into, say, the Denver Post or here in New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal or the Santa Fe New Mexican.
The bottom line, however, is to humanize the political process and to show the general public that the overwhelming majority of those who serve — either via elected office or in other capacities — are hardworking, honorable, persistent and deeply committed to Colorado. And they are faced with the most complex of issues.
Once again, best wishes to Clarity Media in its quest to continue and preserve the rich and invaluable tradition of The Statesman.