To the Losers Go the Spoils?

November 18 2004, 6:00 AM
For the first time in 44 years, the Democrats will be the majority party in the state legislature. In the Senate, their margin is a single seat. So why is incoming Senate majority leader Ken Gordon thinking about appointing Republicans to vice-chair important legislative committees?
"It's pretty close to the most asinine thing I've ever heard of," said Democrat Wally Stealey of Pueblo, a former Capitol lobbyist. "Playing footsie with the other side guarantees (Democrats) won't have the majority in two years." ... Stealey and some other Democrats said Gordon's plan would betray the party faithful who walked precincts and donated money to help Democrats regain control of the Senate. "We didn't put the resources into trying to get (them elected) ... to have them concede power," said Steve Adams, president of the Colorado AFL-CIO.
Gordon is staying mum for the moment, but an ally was able to offer some insight into the new majority leader's thinking.
Rutt Bridges, a millionaire who donated significant amounts of money to Democrats in the election, said solving tough problems will take bipartisan cooperation. "The elections are over. It's time to run the state and it's time to govern," he said. "It's time to get down to the business of the people, all the people, Republicans and Democrats alike."