Jerry Kopel dies

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.

From today’s Denver Post:

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

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.


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