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‘Strong Sisters’ documentary producers set discussion about women in Colorado politics

Author: Ernest Luning - November 13, 2017 - Updated: November 14, 2017

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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 March 6, 2016, in Littleton. (Photo by Lynn Bartels/The Colorado Statesman)
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 March 6, 2016, in Littleton. (Photo by Lynn Bartels/The Colorado Statesman)

The producers of “Strong Sisters,” a documentary that tells the story of elected women in Colorado, are sponsoring a panel discussion about the same topic at History Colorado.

Written and produced by Laura Hoeppner and Meg Froelich, “Strong Sisters” is built around interviews with 76 current and former female elected officials, historians, journalists and campaign strategists.

The film takes its title from something former state Sen. Ruth Stockton, R-Denver, once said: “The other 90 legislators don’t see my way all the time, but I’m ready to sit down and work it out. When the going gets rough, they know I’m not the weak sister.”

The panel discussion is scheduled 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1200 Broadway in Denver. Dani Newsom will moderate, following a screening of clips from the documentary. It’s free, but space is limited and advance registration is required here.

When Colorado voters approved women’s suffrage in 1893, decades before women won the right to vote nationwide, it was the first time any state granted women the vote by referendum. The next year, Colorado voters elected three women to the Legislature, making Colorado’s the first parliamentary body in the world to seat women lawmakers. Colorado routinely leads the nation with the largest share of women serving in its legislature.

Even so, Colorado is one of only 14 states never to have elected a woman as governor or U.S. senator, though it’s something that could change next year, with three women running in the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor — Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, both Democrats, and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican.

“Strong Sisters” debuted at star-studded screenings March 6, 2016, in Littleton and has been shown dozens of times around the state since, including at film festivals and on public television.

The panel discussion will also be sponsored by the Denver Office on Women & Families, History Colorado, the Women’s Collaborative for Colorado, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, and The Civic Canopy.

Find out more about the documentary here, including video clips, historic background, a teacher’s guide and upcoming screenings. It’s also available for purchase on DVD and as a digital download. Find a list of public libraries across the state that stock the DVD here.

On March 31, 2015, state Reps. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Kit Roupe, R-Colorado Springs, showed a trailer for the documentary on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives as part of Women’s History Month. Watch their introduction and a preview of the film here:

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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