Ken Gordon: Statesman, Gentleman, Friend
One of the greatest parts of my job is the opportunity I get to meet people who strive to make a genuine difference in our community and indeed make it happen.
Ken Gordon was one of those special people that I had the honor to work with on Colorado Inside Out and other political programs through the years. Ken Gordon passed away Sunday night at the age of 63.
Covering political issues and leaders offers the chance to see politicians for who they really are. When the cameras are off, it’s easy to see how they really think.
Ken Gordon was authentic, good-hearted and deeply understood that more positive change happens when people who disagree still treat each other with respect, and he was like that both on and off the record.
Click here to see his most recent appearance on Colorado Inside Out.
Ken began his career as a state legislator in 1992 and served as Colorado State Senate Majority Leader in the mid 2000’s. Ken was part of that “old school” generation of leaders that was able to be true to his political beliefs but also earn the respect of those on the other side of the aisle.
When his passing was announced, comments from both Democrats and Republicans poured in throughout social media sites. Ken earned every single one of the kind words mentioned about him with the way he went about serving the Colorado community, both as a politician and later on in his life as a civilian.
His most recent endeavor was tackling the issue of special interest money in politics. He was the energy behind CleanSlateNow.org, which supports candidates who refuse to accept PAC campaign donations. His organization is non-partisan and exemplified what Ken was about. He wasn’t about one party’s strategic plan; he was about what he felt would serve the community best.
As a lawmaker, Ken tackled many topics near and dear to his heart, including closing the gun show background check loophole after the Columbine shootings, animal cruelty laws and was a pivotal part of the bi-partisan campaign for Referendum C.
But I think for me, beyond his countless political achievements, the most memorable part of Ken’s legacy will be how he could approach disagreement with respect and work towards a solution.
On the Colorado Inside Out panel, Ken had the opportunity many times to disagree with other panelists. He often would be on the exact opposite side of second amendment issues with David Kopel. But Ken would often begin his remarks with, “I respect you, but I do not respect your argument.”
On even the most contentious issues, Ken always kept arguments professional and respectful. He also had a dry sense of humor that added to the many qualities that made him a great panelist. He was that perfect combination of passion, service, respect and wry humor.
I think if Ken would have been able to leave behind some wise words to live by after he was gone, he would encourage everyone to use your passion to find a way to help your community, and along the journey, remember that even those who disagree with you deserve respect and civility.
Colorado was a better state with Ken Gordon here and we’ll be wise to heed the example of how he lived.
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About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.