Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My pick for US Senate

The political news in Colorado has been non-stop since the election. First there was the daily speculation as to which Coloradan(s) might get a cabinet post, then when Senator Ken Salazar was named Secretary of the Interior, the speculation shifted to which Coloradan will fill the Senate seat. At the same time there was speculation as to whom the Governor would appoint to the unexpired term of the Secretary of State (the sitting Secretary, Mike Coffman was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and will resign as Secretary in early January).

For political junkies it has turned what is normally down time after an election to one as interesting as the pre-election period.

I expect that Governor Ritter will select Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper as the next U.S. Senator from Colorado. Speculation goes on however and there are other likely candidates, but I just have a sense that it is the Mayor’s if he wants it – and he does.

I think John will be fine and it will be a good pick, but not my pick. I would like the Governor to select the other John, - John Salazar. He is my pick for a number of reasons, but one very personal.

John is a good man who genuinely cares about other people.

When John was first running for the U.S. House, my father fell very ill and was in the hospital. It was in October just a couple of weeks before the election. When John found out about my dad, he took precious time out of his busy campaign to visit my dad in the hospital. He and his wife Mary Lou spent an hour with my father. No press, no photo op, just two very decent people helping to cheer my dad up and showing how much they care for others.

I will never forget that. It meant so much to my dad (who has since passed away) and to me and our family.

So is that sort of caring behavior and attitude a qualification for being a Senator? In my book it is. On top of all the other qualities and experience John has.

As I said, I am sure the Governor will select John Hickenlooper and it will be a fine pick. As would my friend Representative Ed Perlmutter, another fine person and good public servant. But my sentimental pick is still John Salazar.

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