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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 3, 20175min3790

Fans of the state’s history in flight can pay tribute to a pilot from Denver pilot who broke racial barriers, the late Marlon Green, at a banquet next month.

Green won a landmark Supreme Court case that allowed African-Americans to be airline pilots. He died in 2009 at age 80. The Colorado Aviation Historical Society will posthumously induct Green into its hall of fame Oct. 14 at Lakewood Country Club.

The society will also present a special award to a group of Coloradans who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Air Force during World War II. The organization will also recognize its Wright Brothers 50-year Master Pilots.

An Air Force veteran who lived in Denver, Green sued Continental Airlines in 1957. The airline invited him to take its flight test after he failed to note his race on the application. After he passed, the airline refused to hire him, while taking white Air Force pilots with less experience.

With the support of then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Green fought his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he won a unanimous decision, in 1963.

He was still kept from becoming the nation’s first black commercial airline pilot, however. Instead, American Airlines hired David Harris, in 1964, a few months before Green was hired by Continental in 1965, eight years after he first applied. He flew for Continental Airlines until 1978.

In 2007, The Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum called Green the “Jackie Robinson of Aviation.” In 2009 author Flint Whitlock published the book “Turbulence Before Takeoff: The Life & Times of Aviation Pioner Marlon Dewitt Green.”

In 2010, Continental Airlines named a 737 in Green’s honor.

Tickets are $45 each for the event from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. that Saturday. Those who would like to attend should contact banquet chairman Dave Kempa at 303-521-6761 or dave@airdenver.com.

Colorado’s rich history in flight is reflected in its museums, as well as military installations and private employers. Aviation in today supports 265,000 jobs, according to a 2015 report by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

In its last session, the legislature exempted sales taxes on historical aircraft used in public displays at least 20 hours a week, partly as a tribute and partly to encourage public education and the preservation of history.

House Bill 1103 was sponsored by Reps. Dan Nordberg, R-Col0rado Springs, and Dan Pabon, D-Denver, with Sens. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, and Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

The bill notes that The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is located in the Lowry neighborhood of Denver has more than 50 historical aircraft on display, about half of which are on local from private owners

Legislative analysts also cited historical aircraft at the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs and the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 29, 20173min2510

Democrats could be facing a primary to replace Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman in north and west Denver.

Rep. Dan Pabon says he is likely to make an official announcement in the fall, and immigrant rights leader Julie Gonzales is also seriously considering a run.

Some have wondered why Pabon has yet to announce his candidacy, as many assumed that he would be the likely successor to the traditionally Hispanic seat. Pabon said he wanted to give voters some time away from politics in Senate District 34.

“I’d like to give folks a little break as they take their kids back to school,” Pabon told Colorado Politics. “I think in the fall we make a go for it.”

Pabon, chairman of the House Finance Committee, said he is “99 percent there.”

The slower timing of his announcement has caused some in the district to wonder whether Pabon would run for the seat. Several in the community approached Gonzales, asking her to jump into the race, she said.

Gonzales said she began to seriously consider the opportunity.

“I’ve lived in this district for a decade, and I’ve organized in this district for over a decade, and there’s lots of different issues that are facing this community and Colorado at large,” Gonzales said, who serves as policy director for the Denver-based Meyer Law Office, which specializes in immigration law.

“It’s a really fascinating conversation and that’s humbling to even be thinking about,” Gonzales continued. “I welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with voters about who is best suited to listen, serve, and fight for the interests of the constituents of the district.”

Guzman is term limited after next year.

Already filed to run in the race is a relatively unknown candidate, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer.

Pabon, who served five years in House leadership – including roles as speaker pro tempore and assistant majority leader – said he believes he would emerge as the strongest candidate.

“I’ve lived in this district my whole life and now I’m raising my family there,” Pabon said. “It’s the greatest place in the world to live and it deserves the strongest representation possible.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to fix an error in the headline that identified Sen. Lucia Guzman as the majority leader. She is the minority leader. 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 9, 20173min167
Two pieces of legislation that became law Wednesday will help protect the rights of Colorado renters and mobile home residents. Hundreds of other laws take effect on the 90th day since the end of the legislative session. Senate Bill 245 requires landlords to give 21 days’ notice before raising the rent, instead of seven under […]

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 1, 20173min70413

Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a captain in the Colorado Army National Guard and a civil rights attorney, declared on Tuesday that he’s running for Denver’s Senate District 34 seat represented by term-limited Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

Kennedy-Shaffer, 33, made news recently when he successfully sued President Trump on behalf of a Libyan college student to overturn portions of the president’s travel ban. He also served U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with subpoenas to appear in court to answer questions about the arrest, at Gardner’s request, of five disability advocates who were staging a sit-in protest at the Republican senator’s Denver office.

Following unsuccessful 2015 bids for the Harrisburg School Board and the Harrisburg City Council in Pennsylvania, Kennedy-Shaffer won an appointment to fill a vacancy on the school board in January 2016. He moved to Denver later that spring to pursue a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.

“We need progressive leaders who will be out front fighting for justice for all, education for all and healthcare for all,” said Kennedy-Shaffer in a statement. “We must preserve our planet, protect immigrants who make America great, defend women’s rights, worker’s rights and the Constitution. I will fight for you.”

The Senate district is dominated by Democrats, amounting to almost exactly half of the active registered voters, according to the most recent report by the Colorado secretary of state’s office. Just 12 percent are Republicans, and 36 percent are unaffiliated. Guzman won re-election in 2014 with 74.4 percent of the vote over Republican nominee Stuart Siffring, who polled 19.6 percent, and Libertarian candidate Brian Scriber, who received 6 percent of the vote.

Kennedy-Shaffer is the first candidate to announce in the district, although state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, is said to be considering a run. Pabon didn’t respond to Colorado Politics’ request for comment.

Kennedy-Shaffer has worked as an attorney specializing in criminal justice policy for seven years and serves as a judge advocate, or JAG, with the Colorado Army National Guard. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a law degree from William & Mary Law School in Virginia. He also received a master’s degree from the College of William & Mary.



Joey BunchJoey BunchApril 18, 20172min69
The Colorado statehouse on Tuesday is where the wild things were — snakes, lizards, prickly porcupines and brightly featured birds. “I would like to welcome all the wild animals to the Capitol,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, “And it’s also Zoo Day.” Everyone laughed then paid tribute to one of the state’s signature tourist attractions […]

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John TomasicJohn TomasicMarch 30, 20173min700

On Friday, the Senate is scheduled to act on two closely watched elections bills sponsored by Centennial Republican Jack Tate. As The Statesman has <a href="https://www.coloradostatesman.com/tate-early-voting-cost-savings-bill-still-waiting-back-stage-big-senate-curtain-call/" target="_blank">reported</a>, the first, <a href="http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/SB17-071" target="_blank">Senate Bill 71</a>, proposes to reallocate resources during the early voting period, shutting down some voter service centers in the first lightly trafficked week in the state's largest counties and keeping all of the voting centers open longer hours in the second week and in the heavily trafficked last days of the voting period.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMarch 29, 201711min67

Opening the hood of Colorado's Open Records Act to change out even a few parts is a massive undertaking — too many of the components in this aging machine are moving. Aiming to make some long-overdue digital-era updates to CORA, state Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, started that process months ago and has been wrestling in the legislative and political wiring ever since.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMarch 22, 20174min840

A long-coming update to the Colorado Open Records Act that aims to make government digital datasets more readily accessible to the public advanced with bipartisan support in the State Senate Tuesday night. <a href="http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb17-040" target="_blank">Senate Bill 40</a>, sponsored by Fort Collins Democrat John Kefalas, is the latest version of a proposal that has been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate.