Celebrating Public Service
Recently, I witnessed a grand and glorious celebration of public service put on for the retiring Denver City Councilmembers. It reminded me of some of the great lyrics from one of my favorite Beatles tunes, “Hello, Goodbye” - “You say goodbye and I say hello. I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
It is the ebb and flow of municipal governance that we see dedicated men and women come and go. This past spring we had a variety of cities conduct elections. I will sadly say goodbye to some old friends - old not in age, but in length of municipal leadership and friendship.
My own Denver councilmember, and friend longer than I can remember, Charlie Brown, rides off into the sunset. He stated that for those newly elected, “You are no longer sitting in the stands; you are now in the arena as the main attraction.” How true that is.
Jeanne Faatz, who I reminded often over many years that she was “promoted" from the statehouse to Denver City Council, is leaving a distinguished career because of city term limits.
Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher leaves public office after 44 years - yes, 44 years! - of public life. He served in the General Assembly and Denver City Council before his current stint in the elected role of auditor. A classic individual in every sense of the word, whose love of the great Bard, William Shakespeare, has been his calling card in public life.
I say goodbye.
I say hello.
The other day, I visited our “America The Beautiful City,” the great City of Colorado Springs. I spent time with newly minted Mayor and long-time friend, John Suthers. What a distinguished career John already has had as a district attorney, U.S. attorney, Department of Corrections executive director, and Colorado attorney general. He is a gentle giant who cares deeply about the rule of law. I told him the best is yet to come as a mayor, and he will be a terrific mayor for a wonderful city.
I also had the opportunity to meet two new members of the Colorado Springs City Council, Tom Strand and Bill Murray (I hope to catch Larry Bagley at another opportunity). Tom and Bill have had outstanding military careers, and we thank them both for their service. Now they embark on the noblest of causes, public service. There is no higher calling in my humble judgement than to serve as an elected leader at the municipal level.
Finally, though not an elected official, I want to acknowledge my friend and one of the state’s greatest jurists, Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs. He retires from the bench in August. His shoes will be impossible to fill. He is a poet of extraordinary accomplishment; I can always listen to or read one of his poems about our great Colorado and be comforted. The state already has a designated poet laureate, but I would like to nominate Justice Hobbs to a new position, citizen laureate. He will be called upon to teach people – especially young people - the value of good citizenship and how to be good stewards of our beloved state. Wouldn’t that be grand!
I would like to hear from you on the value and importance of public service and how you celebrate and value it in your city or town.
See you in Breckenridge!