Special to The Colorado Statesman
Regis Groff not only brought great class and dignity to the Colorado General Assembly but he was able to lift us from what often seemed like the day-to-day grind of our work and enable us to see that being an elected official was both a special opportunity and a unique responsibility. I served in the House and he was in the Senate and I remember often going over to the Senate Chambers when he was to speak on an issue because I knew that whatever he said would be uplifting.
The Colorado Statesman
It’s August 26, and I’ve driven to the ranch of Helen Shoemaker and her husband, former State Representative Bob Shoemaker in a beautiful valley north of Cañon City to visit. Sunday, August 31 was Helen’s 90th birthday and Bob, her husband of 67 years, will be 90 next June.
“I want to tell this next generation that the philosophers were right; that St. Francis, Buddha, Muhammad, Maimonides – all spoke the truth when they said the way to serve yourself is to serve others. And that Aristotle was right, before them, when he said that the only way to assure your happiness is to give.”
U.S. District Judge John L. Kane
SMITH: THE U.S. HAS AN OBLIGATION TO HELP
Governor Rick Perry orders 1,000 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border. President Obama urges the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to focus on their “shared responsibility” for the influx of migrant children from their countries. But where are Governor Perry’s troops going to go and what are they going to do? And what responsibility does President Obama think we have for this crisis?
SMITH: NO MORE DEATHS
Although our political leaders are completely paralyzed in terms of immigration reform, there are important local efforts taking place. Here are several examples that I recently observed in the states of Arizona and Sonora, Mex.
SMITH: UNDERLYING ISSUE OF A ‘FORGOTTEN MILITARY’ IS UNCHANGED
When former Senator majority leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole says that it’s time for VA Secretary Erik Shinseki to go, we better listen because Dole, a war hero, wounded veteran, great public servant and frequent user of VA services has more credibility on this issue than any American. Having introduced Shinseki at his confirmation in 2009, this must be a very painful experience for him.
SMITH: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WALLY!
I wanted to invite you and Julie to his 80th birthday party. There will be lots of people there you know… It will be a SURPRISE,” wrote Sharon, Wally Stealey’s wife of 57 years.
Well, it was a surprise, a wonderful one. For me, as well as for Wally, the legendary lobbyist from Pueblo who has made his mark on the Colorado political scene for so many years.
SMITH: HE WAS THE POWER TO RECKON WITH IN THE HOUSE
When we took the majority in the 1974 elections because of the Watergate scandal, there never was any doubt but that Ruben Valdez would be our leader and Colorado’s first Hispanic Speaker of the House. He had a quiet charisma, a sense of determination, an innate sense of politics and a calm self-assurance. I was honored to have had the opportunity to nominate him.
SMITH: ‘INVEST IN SOMETHING GREATER THAN YOURSELF’
Now that preparations are beginning for Governor John Hickenlooper’s June trip to Mexico, it’s worth looking at the importance of building relationships there — relationships with your business partners if you’re a company but also relationships with other countries or regions if you’re a state like Colorado. Colorado has worked hard on this with Mexico, its second largest export market, and has had strong leadership from the Governor. There are three little-known Colorado non-profits, however, that have been critical to this relationship for more than two decades.
SMITH: COLORADANS COULD PLAY ROLE IN HIS PROSECUTION
The Colorado Statesman
On Saturday, Feb. 22, Mexican officials with help from various U.S. law enforcement agencies captured the notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. In what seems like a tremendous coup, it took place without a shot being fired. Even though there are questions like — “Was this too easy?” or “Will the decapitation of drug cartels only lead to more violence as underlings fight to take the place of the captured leader?” or “Is this just the Mexican government deciding not to continue protecting Chapo?” — I believe that it’s an important accomplishment.