Birthday boy Romanoff makes a political wish

The Colorado Statesman

On the way to his 47th birthday celebration at Bicentennial Park in Aurora on Aug. 24, one of Andrew Romanoff’s friends asked him whether he was ever going to have a birthday party where he didn’t actually charge guests. “I thought about that for a moment and I said, ‘No.’ So next year it’ll be $48,” teased the already announced Democratic candidate for CD 6 in 2014.

And clearly the political implications were understood by the couple hundred (at least) people who came to wish Andrew the best that day. An elected official or candidate for many years in his relatively short life, Romanoff has always made his birthday parties a trademark campaign fundraiser. Hence the $47 requested donation on this particular occasion.

As a candidate for the upcoming race against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, one of his biggest concerns is with the way Congress is funded.

CD 6 Democratic candidate Andrew Romanoff is surrounded by Norma Cannalte, Joanne Posner Mayer and Anita at his birthday party Aug. 24.

“Right now, as you know, too many candidates get too much of their dollars from too many special interest groups that have too much power in both parties,” Romanoff said. “I’m a Democrat but I can’t tell you that my party is any better on this issue. Truth is, both parties have become too easily seduced by the special interests that line their pockets.

Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff greets his friends and supporters at his 47th birthday party/campaign rally for his CD 6 race in 2014.

“Our campaign is different, a lot different,” he told supporters.

“Different actually from every other competitive congressional race in the country because it is powered by people, people like you. Many of you have already invested in this campaign, some of you invested $47 today, I appreciate that, and I hope you’ll continue to contribute your time and your talent and your treasure. Because if a campaign like ours can win a race like this without a dime of special interest money, our victory in itself will send a shock wave to a town that needs one,” Romanoff added.

A couple of political pooches stopped by the party. One of the poodles showed a definite prefer- ence for Andrew Romanoff, although the fashion statement on its t-shirt was a little passé — Romanoff ran for U.S. Senate in 2010.

“And when we win, another candidate will take the same path and when he wins or she wins, another candidate will follow suit. And gradually, I think we can build enough ripples to sweep down, in Bobby Kennedy’s words, the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Denver’s manager of environmental health and former city councilman Doug Linkhart and Mercedes Aponte arrive at the birthday celebration for Andrew Romanoff.

Echoing the words a few minutes earlier by Patricia Barela Rivera, the former director of the Small Business Administration for Colorado who introduced him, Romanoff emphasized that the 6th Congressional District in Colorado is now the most competitive in the country.

Marv Meyers enjoys his piece of birthday cake at Romanoff’s 47th birthday party.
Photos by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

“It is the best chance we have not just to move from red to blue, not just to replace the paralysis, pettiness and partisanship we’ve seen with more promise and progress and principle, it’s also a chance, as Patricia said, to bring a voice for everybody to Congress. Voices that have been drowned out,” the candidate stated.

Romanoff said he is running for Congress because too many folks in the district have limited opportunities. Two thirds of the students in Aurora public schools, for instance, are eligible for free or reduced lunch and 200,000 kids in Colorado live below the poverty line. “Some 16 million kids all across the United States will go to sleep tonight without enough to eat, or without knowing where their next meal will come from, or whether they’ll have a school to go to when they get up in the morning.

“This is fundamentally unacceptable to me and I know to you, in the richest nation of the world... When I think about those kids and all their families I hope to represent, I know that their names are not on the ballot but in many ways their lives are on the line,” Romanoff said.

Without mentioning the incumbent by name, Romanoff made it clear that differences exist between the two on such issues as health care, education, and jobs “which provide equal pay for equal work.”

Romanoff said he longs for “a world in which we no longer have to spoil our skies or foul our oceans or spill our blood just to power our state.

“And let me just underline this point because it represents a real difference between my opponent and me. On climate change, the science is in, the evidence is overwhelming. This is a clear and present danger and we ought to do everything we possibly can to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel and accelerate our transition to clean, renewable energy,” Romanoff said in a rising voice.

“Yes, yes, yes!” cheered his supporters.

“This is a time of challenge and controversy and we need more good men and good women all across the state in both political parties, across the country, to join us in this cause,” the former state House speaker said.

Romanoff said that he is already looking ahead to one party where he won’t charge people to attend, and he extended an early invite to everyone there. “It’s a party that we’re going to have on November 4th, 2014. I don’t want to get ahead of myself here but I started writing a speech,” the candidate teased.

“It starts like this. ‘A few moments ago I received a call from the incumbent congressman in this district conceding the race...’

“In fact, there are a few other steps between now and then, about 437 steps, 437 days, to be exact, if you’re counting — and I am — between now and November 4th, 2014. We have a lot of work to do between now and then... So if you want to help bring this message to more people, you can start right now. Not just by contributing — although I hope you will — but also by knocking on doors,” Romanoff urged supporters.

“We’ve got packets ready to go, we’re going to start canvasing again today, we’ve been doing this for about a month. Our hope is to crisscross the whole district between now and the end of this year and then start all over again next year. It’s a big district, it stretches all the way from Brighton and Thornton to Aurora and Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village and Highlands Ranch. So we’ve got a lot of ground to cover between now and November 2014 and I can’t think of a reason not to get started,” he concluded.

See the Aug. 30 print edition for full photo coverage.