BLog: Political Notebook February 17, 2009

Posted by Mike Saccone
on Monday, Feb. 16 at 9:27 a.m.

Having a family is great. But as the recent decision by former state Sen. Mark Hillman, R-Burlington, to not run for any elected position in 2010 shows, it can provide a (happy) speed bump for even the brightest and most ambitious of pols.

From the letter Hillman sent out to his friends and supporters: “Much has changed since I last ran in 2006 — my wife and I have ‘settled down’ in my hometown of Burlington and a six-month-old boy has drastically changed our priorities. Campaigning for statewide or federal office is very demanding and our party deserves candidates who are willing to make that campaign a top priority.”

After all, your kids only grow up once.

House Speaker Pro Tem Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, mentioned the importance of family during the Democrats’ leadership elections last year, telling her colleagues that her two sons came first.

In an interview with Political Notebook in December 2007, Curry said this of balancing family and politics: “I’m going to continue, but I’ve had times where I really gave it a second thought, where I really didn’t think that I could make the two work.”

Then-Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Golden — who did not run for re-election in 2008 to have more time with his family — told us much the same: “There was a time this summer I had to sit down and ask myself, ‘Is it possible to do all these things well?’ No matter how I sliced it, it was clear I can’t be the dad I want to be and also be running for election all the time.”

Hence, it’s important to consider a possible candidate’s family status when looking ahead to possible 2010 match-ups, including a rerun from 2006 gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman or even Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.

Not every politician that cites “family values” is groping for political gain or trying to hide another reason for not running in an election or resigning from office. Hillman’s announcement this weekend simply underlines that fact.

•  Perhaps as a final caveat, we should note that many public officials do manage to continue on with their political careers when they have young children, such as state Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.


By The Manipulator

Feb. 16 at 10:35 a.m.

Mike: These are personal decisions that should not be manipulated by the media.

It is interesting to see you try to manipulate people like Josh away from running for another office.

By Political Notebook

Feb. 16 at 10:50 a.m.

My point was not to convince anyone to not run. I was simply highlighting that family — and being with one’s children — is a factor political observers often overlook when prognosticating future electoral match ups.


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