A new era begins for New Era Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

More than 200 young politicos — and their supporters — showed up at a Capitol Hill bar on Jan. 11 at New Era Colorado’s annual celebration of the Legislature’s opening day. Lawmakers, campaign operatives and candidates rubbed shoulders with young activists and raised toasts to an ambitious legislative agenda unveiled earlier that day down the street at the Capitol.

New Era Colorado executive director and one of the organization’s founders Steve Fenberg tells a large crowd at a Capitol Hill bar that the group plans to register tens of thousands of voters this year at a happy hour timed to coincide with the Legislature’s opening day on Jan. 11 in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

New Era executive director Steve Fenberg, who founded the organization in 2006 when he was a CU student, welcomed revelers and vowed the organization would register tens of thousands of young voters in the run-up to this year’s election.

Legislative aide Lisa Straehley, House Democrats’ media director Ian Silverii, New Era Colorado’s development coordinator Sarah Stadler, and House Democrats communications director Dean Toda celebrate opening day at the Legislature at the New Era Colorado happy hour on Jan. 11 at Capitol Hill watering hole Prohibition in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“Part of what you saw today is that there is a really aggressive effort from our party going forward to make aggressive changes,” said state Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver. He pointed to two bills that died last year that are back again this session: one sponsored by state Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, establishing civil unions for same-sex couples and another introduced by Johnston and state Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, to grant a tuition break for undocumented Colorado students at state colleges and universities.

Political operatives Dave Sabados, Kevin Paquette and Josh Miller work the crowd at New Era Colorado’s opening day happy hour on Jan. 11 at Prohibition in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

The boisterous crowd filled Prohibition, a sleek watering hole that replaced a dive bar a few blocks from the Capitol last spring.

Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and state Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, visit at New Era Colorado’s opening day celebration on Jan. 11 in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Johnston praised New Era’s work and charged the crowd with delivering young voters to the polls this year.
“What I believe this session is about, and what I believe New Era is about,” he said, “is that if the voice of young people in this state is heard, if we both go out again to register another 30 or 50,000 people, like we did in the last cycle, and if 90 percent of those people turn out to vote, what you will see is a Colorado that actually lives up to the values and the aspirations that you hold.”

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Legislative aide Aaron Silverstein and his son Jeremy take in the crowd at New Era Colorado’s opening day happy hour.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
Dr. May Young and her husband, state Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, join legislative candidate Tracy Kraft-Tharp at the New Era session-launch party.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman