Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Ken Gordon, lawyer, politician and crusading Coloradan, passes away

I have had the pleasure of writing about Ken Gordon when he was a public defender; when he was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate; when he was a candidate for Colorado Secretary of State and then as founder of, an organization devoted to getting "Big Money out of politics." I've also had the pleasure of listening to his very thoughtful opinions when he filled a panelist's chair on Colorado Inside Out. And I was looking forward to covering Ken Gordon again, when he made a second run for Secretary of State in 2014.

Joe Neguse, a University of Colorado regent, has already declared in that race; Angie Giron, the Pueblo lawmaker who lost her Colorado Senate seat in September in a recall election, is rumored to be looking at it, too. But Gordon would not only have brought his common-sense ideas on the office to the race, he would have also initiated a real discussion on campaign finance reform.

But that topic may be off the table now: Ken Gordon passed away yesterday, apparently of a heart attack, after characteristically driving himself to the hospital.

Here's a statement from Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio on the passing of Ken Gordon:

Colorado lost a great public servant today with the passing of former State Senator Ken Gordon. A champion for good government, Ken worked hard to ensure our democratic process was one of transparency and accountability.

Whether it was during his tenure in the Colorado Public Defender's Office or in the Colorado State Legislature, Ken has left a legacy of fighting for those that cannot fight for themselves. Our thoughts are with Ken's loved ones and family, including his children, his grandchildren, and Betty, his partner of many years.

Ken Gordon was a take-charge guy, one who wanted to steer Colorado in the right direction.

He'll be missed.

More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "After Aurora theater shooting, Ken Gordon takes aim at political contributions from gun lobby."

Have a tip? Send it to [email protected]

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun