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Ernest LuningErnest LuningApril 8, 20185min505

STEP BY STEP ... When Democratic gubernatorial candidate Donna Lynne, Colorado's lieutenant governor and chief operating officer, announced plans to walk the entire 26-mile length of Colfax Avenue on April 8, the stratagem echoed a pair of signature campaign exploits that propelled a couple of Colorado’s most successful politicians in decades past, as well as some statewide journeys that didn't lead to laurels. 


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 11, 201813min726

I'LL SEE YOUR BERNIE AND RAISE A JOYCE FOSTER ... The battle of the bold-faced names is on in the House District 9 Democratic primary, where three-term incumbent state Rep. Paul Rosenthal is facing two candidates seeking to dislodge him from the southeast Denver seat. Less than a week had passed since Bernie Sanders — yes, that Bernie Sanders — endorsed Rosenthal challenger Emily Sirota when Rosenthal rolled out a Bernie endorsement of his own from Bernie Steinberg — yes, that Bernie Steinberg — to counter it.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 22, 20185min1217

A bipartisan organization pushing ballot measures to change the way Colorado draws its legislative and congressional boundaries announced the support Monday of a number of groups representing rural, minority, business and civic reform interests. Fair Districts Colorado, a group chaired by Kent Thiry, the CEO of kidney dialysis giant DaVita Inc., said it now has the backing of Progressive 15 and Action 22, associations representing 37 counties in northeastern and southeastern Colorado, respectively; the African Leadership Group, an advocacy organization for African immigrants; Clean Slate Now, a group devoted to campaign finance reform; and Colorado Concern, an association of some of the state's top business executives.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 3, 201810min674

The battle is heating up over how Colorado draws its legislative and congressional boundaries. After failing to knock out a pair of proposed redistricting and reapportionment ballot measures in court, a rough coalition of mostly liberal and good-government groups filed competing ballot measures in late December and is vowing to take the choice before voters this fall — potentially a case of, if you can't beat 'em in court, join 'em on the ballot.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 29, 20173min674

When Henry Strauss turned 90 recently, there was no shortage of top Colorado politicos happy to raise a glass to the businessman, philanthropist, politico and friend.

His bio as board chairman of an international adoption network tells you much of what you need to know to appreciate Strauss:

Henry Strauss has had a distinguished career in business and government. He is the founder and chairman of Strauss Enterprises a property investment and Management Company. He served as Regional Administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Carter and as Chairman of the Colorado Real Estate Commission under Governor Lamm. In addition he has had extensive international business experience serving on the District Export-Import Council and on the Board of the World Trade Center. We are fortunate to have his insight to organizational operations as part of our team!

About 200 people attended a dinner to honor Strauss at The Palms restaurant in Denver, attendees tell Colorado Politics. U.S. Jared Polis draped Strauss with an American flag that had flown above the U.S. Capitol that day. He called Strauss a friend.

The crowd included Lamm, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada and other members of the state’s political class.

Strauss is a Colorado-brown benefactor to the state. He got his degree in pharmacy from the University of Colorado in 1951 and was one of the first major importers of Chinese herbal medicines, as well as real estate investment and development.

He has been a generous donor to CU, but Strauss also served on the Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation Board of Trustees from 1988 to 2010.

He is the namesake of the Guldman-Strauss Endowed Scholarship for Metro State students studying integrative therapeutic practices who have a financial need.

The school notes Strauss “has a strong interest in the integration of all the medicines of mankind. He was one of the early progenitors of the integrative medicine program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He contributed many of the Auraria library books which are used by students taking these courses. Also he started with twenty books and built the Florence Strauss Indigenous Medicine Collection now known as the Strauss-Wisneski Collection.”

The collection now includes more than 2,400 volumes on alternative and indigenous medicine from all over the world, the school says.

Strauss, a Democrat, didn’t have much luck on the ballot, however. He lost to Tom Tancredo in 1998 in the 6th Congressional District and came up short in the 1974 state treasurer’s race. Strauss has been a behind-the-scenes opinion leader in the party for decades, friends said.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 7, 20174min865

Behind every millionaire who aims to leave his mark on politics is a skilled political operative with the seasoning and savvy needed to make things happen. Hence, dialysis giant DaVita’s CEO, Kent Thiry, who is newly minted chairman of the nonpartisan redistricting reform coalition Fair Districts Colorado, can lean on Alan Philp.

The veteran Republican utility player — who among his many callings has been regional political director for the Republican National Committee and for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; deputy chief of staff to former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, and policy director to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — has been around the block a time or two.

Philp, a longtime consultant, was in on the ground floor of Fair Districts when it started in 2015 and, in an emailed update to prospective supporters and donors last week, said, “We are moving into a new phase of this project.” The letter elaborates:

Our measures are working through the Title Board, and in January or February we expect to start the expensive process of collecting signatures.  Davita CEO Kent Thiry recently came on board as Chairman of the effort.

The reform proposal Fair Districts aims to petition onto the statewide ballot …

… will make Colorado a model for reform nationally:  a balanced commission that includes independents, a supermajority requirement to pass maps, transparency, nonpartisan staff drawn maps, neutral criteria for map-drawing (including drawing competitive districts, where possible).  If you want to see the text of the measures (I would read #67 and #69), see our press releases, learn more, or link to articles about the effort, please go to www.fairdistrictscolorado.org.

There’s also the ask, of course:

Please contribute and/or help identify potential contributors.  We can accept unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations, etc.  This will be a multi-million dollar effort.  To date, we’ve been able to operate on a very modest budget, since most of our team members are unpaid.  But now legal costs will mount, as we work through Title Board and court challenges.  Our team needs to raise $200,000 in the next 45 days.

(Contributions can be made online via the aforementioned website or by a check in the mail to: Fair Districts Colorado, P.O. Box 19730, Denver, CO 80219.)

And while Philp hails from the Republican side of the fence, Fair Districts points to its bipartisan headliners: not just the Republican Owens but Democratic former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, as well. There’s also Republican former Colorado Speaker of the House Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch as well as former Democratic Speaker Pro Tem Kathleen Curry of Gunnison.

Herding cats? Whatever the challenges in building and maintaining the coalition, Philp is no doubt familiar with the terrain.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 6, 201711min750
If you’re among the many Coloradans glad to no longer be enveloped by a cloud of cigarette smoke when entering a restaurant or bar, you can thank Dan Grossman. And if you are among the minority of Coloradans who still smoke and now feel left out in the cold — literally, when it’s winter — […]

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