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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 8, 20184min1451

Rep. Paul Rosenthal has two primary challengers in his re-election bid in House District 9, but he doesn’t lack support from fellow Democrats close to home.

Rosenthal has key endorsements from former State Sen. Joyce Foster, Denver Councilwoman Kendra Black, Denver Public Schools board member Anne Rowe, and RTD board member Claudia Folska.

Rosenthal said his campaign slogan is “Building Coalitions, Getting Results.”

“Over the years, I’ve seen Paul lead in this community, especially on climate change, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ and affordable housing issues,” Foster, also a former Denver city councilwoman, said in a statement. “He’s a good man who works hard, cares deeply, and has helped so many people. What I really admire is how he connects with people at his innovative events and brings individuals and groups to the Capitol to meet legislators. We need responsive people like Paul in the legislature.”

Rosenthal is seeking is fourth and final two-year term in the House representing the southeast Denver district. He faces primary challenges from Emily Sirota and veteran Ashley Wheeland.

The race will be one to watch. Last year a Democratic campaign operative accused Rosenthal of touching him improperly at a party. The charge was dismissed after an House investigation, as the allegation pre-dated Rosenthal’s service in the legislature. He denies it ever happened.

Last week, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders endorsed Sirota, as did state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, former Denver Public Schools board members James Mejia and Jeannie Kaplan and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Rosenthal’s campaign joked that he was endorsed by Bernie, too — “long-time and well known HD9 Democratic activist also named Bernie, namely Bernie Steinberg.”

Rosenthal’s campaign noted in a statement his endorsements were “from progressive leaders and activists who live in — or have led — in the area of House District 9.”

“My friends, neighbors, and constituents in southeast Denver know me well,” Rosenthal stated. “They know how I’ve been devoted to helping people, especially students who deserve more recognition for their success, refugees, LGBTQ and those struggling families who need assistance to get ahead.”

His other endorsements from Democrats within the district include: Dr. Faye Rison, Ron and Bobbi Morrow, John Stoffel, Mike and Elizabeth Bono, Roger Armstrong, Ted and Deborhah Dreith-Calloway, Dianne Tramutola-Lawson, Lee McDonnell, Kathy Steinberg, Larry and Cynthia Gallegos, David and Myra Rieger, Steve Bennett, Harry Bailis, Julie Friedemann, Kip Sleichter, Sam Valeriano, Ben and Selene Gochman, Gayle Stallings, Sarah Shirazi, Sandy Mandel, Londa Coddington, Dorie Furman, Peter Kandell and George Harding, Cecilia Mascarenas, AJ Shaikh and Eddie Valle, Scott Bates, Barry Cohen, Bert and Diane Hansen and Deborah Barnard among others, the campaign said.

He also has been endorsed by fellow legislative Democrats, including Sen. Angela Williams of Denver, Rep. James Coleman of Denver, Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver, Rep. Joann Ginal of Fort Collins, Rep. Edie Hooton of Boulder and Rep. Donald Valdez of La Jara, as well as Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 3, 20175min695

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, 20173min611

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, 20173min406
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, 20173min2332

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.