During election season, you never know who’s going to knock on your door. If you’re a Democrat in Southeast Denver, though, it may well be Ken Gordon.
Gordon is one of the few people in Colorado whose resume includes both of the following jobs: “House Minority Leader” and “Senate Majority Leader”. If you see him at your door, he will ask you to vote for Andrew Romanoff in the Aug. 10 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
“I honestly believe Washington is run by money and that the only way to change that is to elect people who don’t take PAC money. I never took PAC money and Andrew doesn’t take PAC money,” said Gordon, who served in the Colorado Legislature from 1993 until 2008. Gordon ran for Secretary of State in 2008, losing to Bernie Buescher in the Democratic primary. He is now an adjunct law professor at the University of Denver.
Gordon defended Romanoff’s “Greed” ad, which attacks Bennet for helping Phil Anschutz “loot” Regal Cinemas. Anschutz walked away with around $700 million while Bennet was paid nearly $12 million for his work restructuring the entertainment company. Romanoff has been widely attacked for the ads, but Gordon says the problem is that what Anschutz and Bennet did is legal.
“The problem is not that what they (Anschutz and Bennet) did is illegal,” Gordon said. “The problem is that it is legal. We have a huge problem in this country when the brightest people we have go to Wall Street because that is the one place they can make obscene amounts of money without creating anything. Anschutz and Bennet did not make a movie. They did not build a movie theater. All they did was shuffle some papers around. What did Phil Anschutz do that was worth $700 million? What did Michael Bennet do that was worth $11 million?”
Bennet told The Denver Post, “We saved a company and thousands of jobs.”
Gordon said the United States needs its smartest people to become teachers, or to build companies that create products that people want. “We need these people in the clean energy sector creating products that are needed. If we aren’t careful, we are going to see our economy shrink as people can make more money shuffling paper than they can by creating actual goods and services. Meanwhile, China’s economy is growing because it is based on actually producing things.”
Gordon said the money made by Anschutz and Bennet from Regal Cinemas points right back to the problem of PAC money influencing elections. “Banks and financial institutions spend huge amounts of money on lobbying. Money is the root problem in Washington, and that is why I am helping Romanoff. We have to reduce the importance of money in Washington.”
Gordon told The Colorado Independent that he began working as a volunteer for Romanoff last year. He says he has made more than 2,000 calls for Romanoff and has knocked on doors in at least six precincts. Each precinct has about 500 voters. Altogether, he estimated he has volunteered about 1,500 hours so far for Romanoff.
Asked if he thinks Romanoff has a chance, he replied, “I do think he has a chance; our voters are more enthusiastic.” He added that it looks like things are starting to move Romanoff’s direction. He also said he thinks either Democrat in the race would beat either Republican – Jane Norton or Ken Buck – in the general election. “Both of our candidates are stronger than either of theirs,” he said.
“I first met Andrew in 1994,” he said. “I know him pretty well. He would be a great senator. His ability to get bills passed in the Legislature was remarkable. He has the ability to bring people from both parties together on important issues. He got (then governor) Bill Owens to support Referendum C. He was able to get legislation passed even when he was in the minority. He just has the ability to get people to agree with him.”