Morgan Smith

SMITH: INSPIRATION FOR THE AGES

My brief, but memorable, experience seeing JFK

The Colorado Statesman

It’s November 22, 2013 and I’m staring at an odd shaped black and white photograph, a photograph I haven’t looked at in years and wasn’t aware I still had. It’s four feet long and 10 inches high and says, “President John F. Kennedy reviews his guard of honor, the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort. Bragg, NC, October 12, 1961.” A long panorama, it depicts the whole 82nd in formation on the runway at Pope Field. In the foreground parallel to the viewing stand where the big brass are gathered is a white convertible — maybe a Chevrolet but I can’t really tell. I can see the helmets of two soldiers.

SMITH: A MAN WORTH KNOWING

Carl Hilliard (and his sense of humor) will be missed

The Colorado Statesman

It hurts to read of the passing of Carl Hilliard. He was a fine reporter — always fair, thorough and objective. He also had a great sense of humor. I was the subject of one of his jokes many years ago.

SMITH: LOOKING FOR RELIEF FROM DYSFUNCTIONALITY

There are lessons to be learned from Obamacare

The Colorado Statesman

Whether Obamacare sinks or swims, there are some important lessons to be learned here.

First, Management by Walking Around still works. Although this is difficult for a Cabinet Secretary like Kathleen Sebelius to do and much more so for a president, it’s impossible not to sense that they’re disconnected from the actual day-to-day workings of government. Governing is not just giving orders or waiting to be told about things; it’s asking questions, being curious, listening, getting information from a variety of sources.

SMITH: AN EXAMPLE OF POLITICAL COURAGE

Mike Strang — Legislator, cowboy and friend

The Colorado Statesman

What do you think about that House district I carved out for you?” Mike Strang asked. It was the spring of 1972 and he was in the Aspen hospital, recovering from surgery.

SMITH: PEOPLE KNEW HIM AND LIKED HIM

Likable ‘Johnny Van’ was focused on Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

John Vanderhoof or “Johnny Van” was Governor of Colorado for only one legislative session — 1974 — but he brought to the table some important new ideas. The problem was that although he was to be his party’s candidate for Governor, he had little support from his Republican colleagues in the House where I served.

SMITH: THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE FACES NEAR THE FENCES

What some see as border security, others see as border hysteria in Mexico

The Colorado Statesman

“Stop with the propaganda, your only making yourself look like a dumbf—k.the whole WORLD has seen multiple videos of drug gangs with machine guns and drugs crossing the border,” writes Karl Snyder on 8-28-13.

In a few days Congress will be back in session and the question of immigration reform will be front and center. The danger is that people who think like this Snyder person will dominate the debate and that the key question once again will be border security and an excessive hysteria about Mexico.

SMITH: FORMER LEGISLATOR LOVED THE CAMARADERIE AND FRIENDSHIP

Don Friedman always told the truth, despite the political consequences

The Colorado Statesman

"Morgan, I want to come out to Adams County and testify for Eldon Cooper,” the man on the phone said. It was someone I’d never met, State Representative Don Friedman, a Republican from Denver. Eldon had moved during the 1972 re-apportionment process, and the Secretary of State had ruled that he no longer met the necessary residency requirements and therefore couldn’t be on the ballot. We had filed suit in Adams County to reverse his ruling.

SMITH: SHARED MEMORIES FROM LAMM’S CABINET

Frank Traylor, truly ahead of his times

The Colorado Statesman

“This is a very amorphous undisciplined mass,” announced Frank Traylor of the Republican Party on August 22, 1982 in a Cabinet meeting of then-Governor Dick Lamm. Frank was a member of the Cabinet then, but as a Republican, he had previously served four years (1974-78) in the Colorado House of Representatives. In fact, he was part of a political dynasty, the likes of which we’ll never see again.

SMITH: THE MANY SIDES OF OUR NEIGHBOR TO THE SOUTH

Colorado involvement is helping Mexico

Contributing Columnist

President Obama’s recent trip to Mexico is good news for Colorado. Exports to Mexico are up. Its manufacturing sector is increasingly strong and will continue to attract U.S. companies that had previously off shored operations to China. Mexico is finally focusing on the corruption in its educational system and the need to make more competitive its telecom and oil sectors. Drug-related violence appears to be down, although it’s hard to have confidence in the Mexican reporting system.

SMITH: ADAMS COUNTY POL WAS A SOFTIE AT HEART

Eldon Cooper was a tough, hard driving legislator

Contributing Columnist

“I just shook hands with a good man,” a patient named George says, pointing to Eldon Cooper. It was May, 2012 and we were at the Colorado State Veteran’s Home in Aurora. Even though Eldon was in a wheelchair then, he would visit once or twice every week, bringing friendship to older veterans, many of whom were totally alone. His second visit that day was to Ed Gatewood, 92 years old. When Eldon said something about how you can die at any minute, Ed responded by saying, “You’re too ornery to go early.”