Janet Buckner Archives - Colorado Politics
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Gabrielle BryantGabrielle BryantJanuary 11, 20183min6050

As the legislative session started Wednesday you could feel the excitement and anxiety in both chambers. Priorities were laid out for the next 119 days, including working to improve Colorado’s roads, addressing a projected shortfall in state employees’ pension system, expanding rural broadband accessibility, tackling energy, solving the state’s opioid crisis and ensuring men and women who work at the Capitol feel protected and feel heard amid looming allegations of sexual misconduct.

Simultaneously, the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, known as the “Historic Eight,” the largest number of black legislators to serve in Colorado at once, is also working on policy more specifically aimed at the advancement of people of color. The contingent is prioritizing education, small business creation, housing affordability and the criminal justice system.

Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora
Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, discusses issues that disproportionately affect Coloradans of color. (Photo by Gabrielle Bryant/Colorado Politics)

“This legislative session will be pivotal to Colorado’s future as we believe what we do in the general assembly will have impacts on this year’s election,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, the vice chairman of the caucus. “It’s important that the issues plaguing African-Americans across our state are not ignored and that our vote is not taken for granted.”

While they make up 8 percent of the legislature, black Coloradans are a mere 4.5 percent of the population, and voter turnout for this demographic has been consistently low in recent elections.

Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who chairs the BDLC, said the group has hired a staff member to aid them in introducing policy and to “keep an eye out for legislation that might appear to be inequitable to our communities of color.”

Specific legislation details are expected to be rolled out in the in the coming days, as lawmakers formally introduce bills.

The BDLC’s annual legislative preview will take place on Jan. 22 on the third floor of the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

Besides Melton and Williams. the caucus includes Sens. Rhonda Fields of Aurora and Reps. James Coleman of Denver, Leslie Herod of Denver, Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs, Janet Buckner of Aurora and Dominique Jackson of Denver.

(Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect that Jovan Melton is from Aurora.)


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 1, 20176min5350

State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, a Democratic candidate for Congress, and Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, both of Lakewood, were married on Saturday, July 1, in a ceremony in the carriage house and garden at the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion in Denver in front of hundreds of friends and family members. The bride is the daughter of Brent and Stacy Pettersen of Englewood. The groom is the son of Ed and Terry Silverii of East Brunswick, New Jersey.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningMay 25, 201727min2371

By one measure, state Rep. Justin Everett, a House Republican serving his third term in the Colorado General Assembly, and state Reps. Chris Hansen and Chris Kennedy, a pair of Democrats in their first terms, stand as far apart as any lawmakers at the Capitol, based on the votes they cast in the just-completed 2017 regular session. Considering all the bills that made it to final, third-reading votes in the session — 490 in the House and 459 in the Senate — between them, these three legislators cast the most ‘no’ votes and the most ‘yes’ votes, respectively, according to an analysis prepared by bill-tracking service Colorado Capitol Watch.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningApril 27, 201731min208

Arapahoe County Democrats say they’re working to resolve racial tensions within the party after a years-old remark about “too many blacks” running for office in the county resurfaced recently on social media and in a newspaper article, reigniting a long-simmering controversy. The conflict stems from a candidate training session conducted by party officials in Aurora nearly three years ago when comments — there’s sharp disagreement whether the handful of words were overly blunt, too clumsy, poorly chosen, insensitive or downright racist — left some uncomfortable and others offended, while still others contend the words were misinterpreted beyond recognition. But it’s what happened next that stoked rancor that persists years later, and that’s what party officials say they are determined to mend.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 10, 20175min114
Instead of alms for the needy, some Colorado lawmakers want to give them a shot at a retirement plan — through a new fund that would be set up by the state. House Bill 1290, recently introduced in the House by state Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D- Lakewood, and Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, sets up the “Colorado Secure Savings Plan” and establishes a […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 15, 20173min83
Andy Kerr didn’t sound like a guy who was about to get whipped. The Senate Republican majority, year after year, tells Democrats that employers shouldn’t be mandated by law to give employees up to 18 hours a year to attend school functions. The employer isn’t required to pay for the leave. A seventh-grade geography teacher by […]

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