Miller Hudson

Phil Washington — The Accidental Transit Manager

The Colorado Statesman

Forty years ago a 17-year-old African American youth residing in the tough Altgeld Gardens public housing project on Chicago’s Southside decided his best escape was to enlist in the United States Army. (Nearly a decade later, another young man, named Barack Obama, would arrive there as a community organizer.) Twenty-four years into his career Phil Washington had risen through the Army enlisted ranks to Command Sergeant Major, stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.

How does the world see race?

The Colorado Statesman

The 67th annual Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder campus kicked off with a provocative keynote address by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist (2004) Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald. In a century when our first African-American president has called for a vigorous national dialogue on race and his African-American Attorney General, Eric Holder, has suggested we are all too cowardly to engage in an honest discussion of race, Pitts stands out as a voice that regularly addresses racial issues.

Hudson: Exchange running amuck?

Contributing Columnist

The Legislative Health Benefit Exchange Implementation Review Committee convened last week with a new leader serving as its Chair, Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango.

Five Democrats and five Republicans from both chambers have met sporadically over the past few years to monitor the progress of the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. As it designed, constructed and launched an Obamacare Insurance Exchange for Colorado residents, the review committee asked few probing questions, permitting Executive Director Patty Fontneau to proceed pretty much as she saw fit.

Diminished felony DUI bill moves forward

The Colorado Statesman

A somewhat diminished DUI felony bill (HB-1043), sponsored by Lori Saine, R-Weld, and Beth McCann, D-Denver, passed unanimously out of the House Finance Committee this week. Colorado is one of only four states where DUIs remain a misdemeanor no matter how many times an offender has been detained. It nearly defies belief, but there are apparently many Colorado drivers with 20 or more DUI arrests. For more than a decade bipartisan sponsors have attempted to impose mandatory prison sentences on these scofflaws.

Hudson: Winter Park Express maiden voyage reignites history


It was a crisp Colorado morning at Union Station last Saturday. A waning moon offered a sliver of light in the still dark at 6:15 AM. Even at the early hour, Denver’s Mayor, Michael Hancock, and both of Colorado’s U. S. Senators, Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner turned out to stand in front of an Amtrak train composed of two diesel engines and eight passenger cars waiting to whisk 450 passengers to Winter Park for the first time since 2006.

Pinnacol celebrates workers comp centennial: A history

The Colorado Statesman

Before last week’s celebration of Colorado’s worker compensation 100 year anniversary, it is doubtful that one in four legislators could have guessed the age of the program. It seems more likely that three out of four would have guessed it was some kind of New Deal legislation from the 1930s or ‘40s. In fact, it was a product of the Progressive movement, first established by Maryland in 1902. President Theodore Roosevelt created a federal version with the consent of Congress in 1906.

‘Big data’ solutions to prepare for next disaster

Contributing Columnist

Democratic State Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Westminster and Republican Senator Ellen Roberts of Durango have submitted legislation (House Bill 1129) that speaks to one of the fundamental responsibilities of government — public safety. Even the most virulently anti-government zealots will usually acknowledge that policing, fire prevention and disaster recovery are appropriate functions of government that cannot be effectively left to individuals. There are economic efficiencies in consolidating these responsibilities that spread risk and protect against catastrophic losses.

Dems’ ‘Groupthink’ politics case study

Contributing Columnist

No matter how cynical you get, it’s never enough to keep up,” the comic Lily Tomlin once observed about politics.

I had originally intended to open this column with a quip something like the following: “Colorado Democrats pulled a stunt at their reorganization meeting over the weekend in a manner that would make Vladimir Putin blush.” That comparison, however, became inappropriate following the brutal assassination of Putin critic Boris Nemtsov.


Sen. Bill Cadman’s House of Cards

Contributing Columnist

If you’ve been watching “House of Cards” on Netflix, you might be misled to believe legislative politics requires sophisticated strategic planning. Alas, this is rarely the case. In most instances, our solons make it up as they move along — playing their cards pretty much when and as they are dealt. If that strikes you as shortsighted, you wouldn’t be wrong. NFL coaches earn millions of dollars for developing winning game plans.


State chairs: highly qualified to herd ungrateful cats

Contributing Columnist

Four years ago both the Colorado Republican and Democratic Parties elected unusually young chairmen. Historically, both parties often turned to senior donors or business heavyweights for whom this recognition was, in part, a reward for long service and/or a readiness to pull out their own checkbooks in support of party candidates.