News anchor struggles to distinguish African-American state lawmakers

No one said making history — or covering it — would be easy. At the top the list for Colorado media types: Learning to tell apart the lawmakers heading the state’s upper and lower legislative bodies.

Senate President Peter Groff, left, and House Speaker Terrance Carroll (Photo/AP courtesy Colorado House Democrats)

Senate President Peter Groff, left, and House Speaker Terrance Carroll (Photo/AP courtesy Colorado House Democrats)

Conducting live, on-camera interviews with state legislators in the House chambers after Gov. Bill Ritter’s State of the State address Thursday, 9News anchor Mark Koebrich introduced Senate President Peter Groff as “Terrance Carroll,” the House speaker who stood behind Groff. Political reporter Adam Schrager stepped in and quickly corrected Koebrich, who proceeded to interview Groff with aplomb before turning his attention to Carroll. Groff and Carroll — the state’s only African-American legislators — together made history Wednesday when they convened the Colorado General Assembly, the first in the nation to be headed by two African-Americans.

It’s not hard to see how Koebrich, who doesn’t usually prowl the granite hallways of the Capitol, mixed up the two northeast Denver Democrats. Carroll represents Groff’s old state House district, and both hold law degrees from the University of Denver College of Law. But the 45-year-old Groff is six years older than Carroll, not to mention taller, and wears glasses — and is a different person.

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Ernest Luning

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