Former state legislator Jerry Kopel, 83, died Saturday. Kopel, a Democrat, served in the Colorado legislature for 22 years.
Since leaving the legislature in 1992, Kopel had stayed involved in politics, serving as an informal adviser to many Colorado Democrats. On leaving the legislature, Kopel, also a lawyer, returned to journalism, writing columns for the weekly Colorado Statesman. An archive of some of his more than 700 Statesman columns is here. He was known as a legislative historian, and many of his columns looked at the legislative issues of the day through that lense.
Former Gov. Dick Lamm said Kopel helped show him the ropes when he launched his political career in 1966 with a run for the state House of Representatives.
Kopel took Lamm to the Gates Rubber plant early in the morning to meet employees coming to work.
“It was a 6 a.m. shift, but we were out there shaking hands, and this is not a natural instinct to stand and shake hands with all these guys. Jerry showed me how to do it,” Lamm said.
Kopel’s son, David Kopel, is research director at conservative free-market think tank The Independence Institute.
Plans for a memorial are underway. Details, when available, will be found at JerryKopel.com.