Gunnison’s Curry loses bid for speaker’s gavel in House

Rep. Kathleen Curry

The Western Slope will have to wait at least two more years, but likely longer, before it is home to a speaker of the House.

House Democrats on Thursday chose state Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, as their next speaker of the House, dashing hopes that Gunnison Rep. Kathleen Curry would rise to the top of “the people’s chamber.”

She said she was disappointed with the vote but understood their reservations.

“The caucus has spoken, and I respect that. … I think Terrance Carroll will be a good speaker,” Curry said.

Curry became a candidate for the post after the frontrunner for the position, Rep. Bernie Buescher, was ousted by Collbran Republican Laura Bradford.

Thursday’s vote came after Curry and her supporters had asked the House Democratic caucus to entrust the speaker’s gavel to a moderate.

“We need to learn from the election,” Curry said.

She said the key to Democrats maintaining their majorities is to pursue a middle path with a moderate in charge.

The vote followed a speech from Buescher, the man many had assumed would replace outgoing Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, in which he warned the caucus not to forget about rural areas of the state.

“I’m not going to be involved in those discussions, but find that steady hand that will help you maintain this majority in a sustainable way that helps you do good policy that helps the people of this state,” Buescher said.

Russ George, R-Rifle, was the last Western Slope state representative to hold the speaker’s gavel. George, who now serves as Gov. Bill Ritter’s transportation director, held the post during the 1999 and 2000 legislative sessions.


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