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VoteVets endorses Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer in Senate District 34 primary

Author: Ernest Luning - November 20, 2017 - Updated: November 22, 2017

Alan Kennedy-ShafferColorado Army National Guard Capt. Alan Kennedy-Shaffer (Photo courtesy VoteVets)

The national progressive organization VoteVets has endorsed Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a candidate in Denver’s Senate District 34 and a captain and judge advocate in the Colorado Army National Guard, as part of its Emerging Leaders program.

Kennedy-Shaffer is one of four Democrats in the running for the seat held by term-limited Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, a Denver Democrat. The others in the race are Julie Gonzales, Jonah Weiss and Jennifer Calderone. State Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who faces term limits in his House seat, has said he’s also considering a run in the heavily Democratic Senate district.

Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets PAC and an Iraq War veteran, said the organization and its 500,000 supporters were thrilled to see veterans like Kennedy-Shaffer stepping forward in the public arena.

“In these turbulent political times, our veterans, communities and country need leaders like you who will continue to serve the nation and put the country first,” Soltz said in an endorsement letter addressed to Kennedy-Shaffer.

“VoteVets is supporting champions for progressive values who will stand with veterans and service members and hold our public officials accountable,” Kennedy-Shaffer said in a statement, adding that he was humbled and honored by the endorsement.

Kennedy-Shaffer has been in the news this year for representing clients who have sued the Trump administration over the president’s travel ban and a rule change that allows employers to deny birth control coverage through their employees’ insurance plans. He also subpoenaed  U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner to answer questions about the arrest of five disability advocates who were staging a sit-in protest at the Republican senator’s Denver office.

Recently named acting commander of the 891st Trial Defense Team, Kennedy-Shaffer has been awarded the  Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal. He moved to Denver in 2016 to pursue a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.


CORRECTION: Kennedy-Shaffer moved to Denver in 2016, not in 2015, as this story originally said.

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. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.