Jerry Kopel

Ho hum. I told you so.

My weekly Statesman column on May 23, 2003 pointed out that NO U.S. Senator in the history of Colorado had ever served a third term running at the age of 71 or older. Campbell will be 71 on April 13th.

Only four persons have served three terms as U.S. Senator. No one served four terms, and only one had served five terms. The latter was Henry Teller, Republican, Silver-Republican and finally a Democrat. Teller never had to worry about walking door to door or attending caucuses. From 1876 through 1912, U.S. Senators were "elected" by their state legislatures.

Teller was born in 1830. Along with Jerome Chafee, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by the Colorado legislature in 1876. Chafee got the short straw (four years) and Teller received six years. Near the end of his first term, Teller became Secretary of the Interior, but in 1885 he was "re-elected" to the Senate and again in 1891 for his third term at age 61.

At the Republican convention of 1896, Teller pushed hard for bimetallism (gold AND silver standard). He was rejected and led the Colorado delegation out of the convention and helped form the Silver Republican Party. His fourth term began in 1897 and his fifth term ended in 1909 at the age of 79.

The four senators who served all or part of three terms were Alva Adams, Ed Johnson, Eugene Millikin and Gordon Allott. Alva Adams served parts of three terms, 1925-26, 1933-38, 1939-41 when he died at age 66. Edwin Johnson served in the U.S. Senate from 1937 to 1955, when he returned to Colorado to run for and win a third term as governor at age 71.

Eugene Millikin finished Alva Adams' third term, and then was elected twice as senator for terms running to 1957. He left at age 66. Gordon Allott served three terms from 1955 to 1973. He was defeated for a fourth term at age 66 by Floyd Haskell. Peter Dominick served two terms from 1963 to 1975. He was defeated running for a third term at age 59 by Gary Hart. (If Hart did run for a third term in 2004, he would be age 67 when elected.)

There have only been 32 persons elected or appointed to the U.S. Senate by Colorado in the past 127 years, all (of course) male.

Some only served a few days or a year.

Not counting Teller and Campbell, since they were bi-political (both Democrat and Republican) there have been another 18 Republicans and 12 Democrats, but the first Democrat appointed to the U.S. Senate was Tom Patterson and that was not until 1900.

Looking at Democrats and Republicans elected by the voters (and counting Campbell for each party) the parties are tied: Eleven Democrats and eleven Republicans. November, 2004 will of course break the tie.

* * *

In May 1985 the legislature passed SJR 14 by Sen. Harold McCormick (R) and Rep. Chuck Berry (R) to allow the erection of a monument on the capitol grounds honoring victims of the Holocaust. It would be designed and erected by the Holocaust Awareness Institute of the Center for Judaic Studies at Denver University. All the executive branch had to do was pick out a suitable site. SJR 14 passed 100 to nothing. And nothing happened during the last year of Gov. Richard Lamm's term or the three terms of Governor Roy Romer.

Former State Sen. Sandy Hume (R), who was very interested in following through on the resolution, met with Gov. Bill Owens before Owens' speech at the Governor's Holocaust Remembrance Program in April 1999. Rep. Owens had been one of the co-sponsors of the 1985 resolution, as well as Sen. Hume.

Gov. Owens added a 15 second comment to his five minute speech, telling the audience that "he would build a Holocaust Memorial on the state capitol grounds during his administration."

Well, there are still 33 months left in Gov. Owens' term, but I think building a structure (as promised) is not going to happen. I would suggest an alternative that would still be a "memorial."

By executive order, establish a separate category for supervision of and collection of remembrances by the few survivors of the Holocaust still living in Colorado. If necessary for preservation purposes only, store them in the State Archives. A good example of what might otherwise be lost to history is the story of David Silver that appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of the Intermountain Jewish News.

As written, Mr. Silver is "one of the very few Jews to have survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He also survived Treblinka and Dachau and a stint as a slave laborer." The Mizel Museum likely contains similar documents, but the State Archives and Historical Society were created by statute and are part of state government. These remembrances can be the memorial.

(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)

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