Remembrances of Jim Monaghan

By
The Colorado Statesman

“It’s been an honor and a privilege knowing and working with Jim over the last 30+ years. His contribution has always been extremely valued and appreciated. While I never succeeded in turning him into a Republican, at least he saw the light on some issues. Jim — you will be missed, but never forgotten.”
— Phil Anschutz

“If you were a Democrat in this town and you were evaluating getting into public life or had a ballot issue, you wanted to know what Jim Monaghan thought. He would give it to you straight. Monaghan was a political genius, motivated by social justice. A fierce political competitor, he also had a keen sense of doing what was right for Colorado, not just the party.”
— Jim Lyons (from the 5/16/13 Denver Post)

“Jim Monaghan defined for many of us how to think strategically about political issues and events. His death is a loss for all of Colorado.”
— Gov. John Hickenlooper (from the 5/16/13 Denver Business Journal)

“Monaghan was the glue that held together the politicians who came of age under the Lamm administration. And he also mentored young strategists.”
— Mayor Wellington Webb (from the 5/16/13 Denver Post)

Monaghan’s talent was the ability to see things differently. He was never part of conventional wisdom, which is a value he brought to politics and Phil Anschutz.”
— Sen. Michael Bennet (from the 5/16/13 Denver Post)

“Jim was better than anyone I know at thinking outside the box. When a group of people was debating option A versus option B versus option C, Jim would say ‘Let’s consider options X, Y, Z.’ His strategic thinking skills were extraordinary.”
— David Miller

“Jim was politics through and through, and he gave government and politics a good name.”
— Sen. Tim Wirth

“Jim Monaghan was a political warrior who loved this great state of Colorado to his very core. Forty years ago he envisioned and executed the election of a new generation of Democrats that still defines the party today. I was in awe of Jim Monaghan before I ever met him and that continued after we became friends.”
— Dick Wadhams

“In a democracy such as ours, as Jim well knew, good politics is necessary to achieve good government. He gave much of his life for this principle and served many of us with skill, experience, and humor. He was rarely in the limelight, but he made a huge impact on the quality of government in the State of Colorado.”
— Sen. Gary Hart

“There is no doubt that Jim Monaghan was a political genius. A great many people who succeeded in politics in Colorado owe their achievements and success to him.”
— Steve Farber

“Monaghan taught me how to analyze a public policy issue, turn it on its side and look beyond the obvious.”
— Maria Garcia Berry (from the 5/16/13 Denver Post)

“Jim cared deeply about our state and country. He devoted much of his life to important public policies affecting the lives of many. He was an extraordinary thinker and strategist and always brought a unique perspective to any challenge. He will be missed by many.”
— Sec. Federico Peña

“Jim’s life was the perfect expression of Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena.’ At work, at play, with family, with friends — Jim never sat on the sidelines. In the nearly 40 years of our friendship, Jim was 100 percent engaged with life. He could be painfully honest when you asked for advice, but he gave you the best he had. And he had a heart of gold and the generous soul of a servant leader.”
— Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal

“I was a kid getting into politics when I first met Jim Monaghan in the early ‘70s. Following Jim in politics was like having a big brother. He was brilliant, confident, demanding and funny. Though he didn’t suffer fools lightly, underneath the toughness and sharp wit beat the heart of a man who just plain cared about people and knew he could help. These are the reasons why anyone with sense paid attention and followed his advice. The big guy with a huge intellect, big ideas and an even bigger heart will leave a giant void in our community. I’ll miss you, Jim.”
— Happy Haynes

“Jim and I were political adversaries 25 years ago but we developed a warm friendship as the years passed. Our political differences never interfered with our common interest in wanting to make Colorado a better place to live. Two days before he died, Jim gave me the benefit of his brilliant strategic thinking on how best to market our Anschutz Medical Campus. As usual, his advice was grounded in fact, insightful, delivered with passion, and sound. Whether Coloradans knew him or not, his passing is a substantial loss for everyone in our state.”
— Bruce Benson