Sen. Veiga to Retire, Move to Australia

From Politics West, fire up the vacancy committee:

Sen. Jennifer Veiga, the first openly gay lawmaker in the legislature, plans to resign at the end of this session and move to Australia with her partner.

“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s the right thing for us to do now.”

Veiga has been with her partner, Bronyn Russell, for 15 years next month. Russell is from Australia and wants to be closer to her mother, who had to move into assisted living a year ago, Veiga said.

Veiga, D-Denver, has served in the legislature since first being elected in 1996. She was House minority leader before becoming a senator, where she’s chairwoman of the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee…

Veiga in 2002 publicly announced she was gay after being told some Republicans planned to use it against her in her election campaign. She had never hid her sexuality before, but had not publicly talked about it either.

71 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Jambalaya says:

    That’s a surprise to me.  While I wish Veiga well, and I am happy for her service, it continues to bug me when legislators don’t serve out their full terms.  Vacancy elections are supposed to be rare, aren’t they?

  2. MiddleRoadDem says:

    Does anybody know?

  3. HD3Democrat says:

    Scott Wasserman one of the smartest guys around

    Rep. Kagan.  Bad form who cares.

    Former Rep. McGihon. Could be a Committee Chair in the Senate and is popular with the rank and file.

    Rep. Ferrandino

    Rep. Peniston. Lots of Adams County vacancy committee members

    Aaron Silverstein. Came close for the McGihon seat.

    Former Senator Polly Baca

    School Trustees Conrad and Kaplan

    Councilman Nevitt

    This vacancy could attract more candidates than the large field for the HD3 Vacancy.

    • Jambalaya says:

      what, did she get fired from her private position already?

      • HD3Democrat says:

        I doubt if Rep.McGihon would have stepped down had she known this vacancy was about to occur.

        I am not sure if all the names I listed live in the Senate District.  I am sure that there will be at least five serious candidates for this.  

        Does Cindy Lowery live in that Senate District?  If she does her hat will be in the ring.  

        • One Queer Dude says:

             Or did she quit because she lost the race for speaker?  

            So she thinks she’ll be more popular in the state senate.  I doubt it.  Just disingenuous.

            I hope she does run.

    • wade norris says:

      was a big headache.

      this looks much bigger.

    • MiddleRoadDem says:

      Scott Wasserman–young and not senatorial, and too labor oriented.

      Rep. Kagan–Yes, that would be bad form.

      Former Rep. McGihon–uh no. She’d really look like a loser after giving up House seat.

      Rep. Ferrandino–see other comments–he’d be awesome, but will he give up JBC?

      Rep. Peniston. Lots of Adams County vacancy committee members–I’d put my money on her, if she lives in the district, because Adams will stay together and Denver’s votes will split if we have multiple candidates.

      Aaron Silverstein–you’re kidding me?

      Former Senator Polly Baca–mmm, I don’t think she has clout any more.

      School Board members Conrad and Kaplan–Not heavy weight enough.  No legislative experience.

      Councilman Nevitt–Could be a strong candidate in Denver if Ferrandino doesn’t run.  Too labor oriented though.

    • Karate Kid says:

      Peniston would be the logical Adams County choice, since her district overlaps most of the Adams portion of the seat, but I’m pretty sure she lives in SD 23.

      Rep. Kagan doesn’t live anywhere near this district.

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      Don’t know about Wasserman

      Kagan is in Linda Newell’s SD

      McGihon lives in the district but just quit the legislature to take a different job partially in DC

      Ferrandino is the only current Rep in the Senate District and he told me when the rumor started a few weeks ago that Jen was leaving that he was not planning on running for it.

      I briefly planned on a run but thankfully have come to my senses.

      Peniston and Baca are outside the district.

      I think Nevitt is in the distirct but I can’t imagine someone giving up a $90k job for a $30k one

      Conrad is in the district (don’t know about Kaplan) and would be a strong candidate if she chose to do it. She is pursuing her Ph.D. at the moment so not sure where her mind is on the subject.

      I don’t think Silverstein is in the district but would have to check to be sure.

      People not mentioned:

      Anne Ragsdale, former Rep who lives in the Adams County party of the district

      Rachel Kienzler, former Vice-Chair of Denver Dems. Was interested in HD3 but the vacancy happened before she could establish 1-year residency. Her previous address was also in SD31 though.

      John Maslanik, former head of the Downtown Democratic Forum.

      • HD3Democrat says:

        Good call on Ann Ragsdale. She’s itching to get back into the game.  I do think Baca is in the district.  What about Mike Cerbo?  

      • MiddleRoadDem says:

        She ran against Veiga in the vacancy that gave it to Veiga.  Would probably still want it.

        Maslanik doesn’t have a Dem following.

        Jill is very energetic and known, but is doing her PhD as stated, and in this set of people discussed, she’d be strong.

        No, Nevitt won’t give up a plum job.

        I hope Silverstein doesn’t live in the district.

        Sad about Ferrandino’s non-interest.

      • One Queer Dude says:

        IIRC there was some state rep from Adams who ran against her.

        • MiddleRoadDem says:

          ….and Adams was totally united.  There’s more physical territory of the district in Adams, but more vacancy people in Denver.  Again, if more than 1 Denver person runs, Adams County wins.

          • One Queer Dude says:

               Assuming nobody gets a majority on the first round, wouldn’t the weaker of the Denver candidates be eliminated during the second ballot?

            • RedGreenRedGreen says:

              though the vacancy officers will decide what kind of balloting they’ll do. Only under a plurality vote would Adco have the clear advantage. But remember, this is Westminster, not Brighton — there’s a lot of overlapping allegiances between the north Denver and Southwest Adco politicos, it’s not all drawn along county lines.

              • Thorntondem says:

                may consider it also. Dino is an attorney, community organizer and also operates a family business with his father in south Westminster. Dino’s mom was the first female Adams County Commissioner. Dino organized the effort against the Walmart on 72nd/Sheridan, ran AdCo Comm. Larry Pace’s successful campaign in 2002 and has been active in school district 50 issues. He and his family are well known and respected and if he seriously went after it would be one of several top tier in this Sen. district. Ann has state house experience and would definately be top tier as well. She most recently worked on Joan F. CD-2 campaign and probably reconnected with many of the vacancy members during that campaign.

                • HD3Democrat says:

                  Ann Ragsdale did a great job for Joan. Only problem was that Jared Polis clobbered Joan Fitz-Gerald in Ann’s backyard.  One reason the Democrats were in the minority in the State House  was because of disgraceful Legislators such as Ann Ragdale.  

                  Never heard of Dino Valenti but there are very few who would not be a whole lot better than Ann Ragsdale.  

                  • Thorntondem says:

                    advocating for or against Ann. Just simply agreeing with others that she would be one from Adams that could be interested. When I say top tier, I simply mean that her odds, if we had a big line on it would be fairly low and in the top tier I would guess. That’s all.

                    Dino’s families sandwich shop/bakery is called Valente’s and is located directly to the east of Joan’s old CD-2 campaign headquarters in south Westy, one block west of  72nd/Lowell. You should stop in and eat lunch when you are in the neighborhood. What is hilarious is Dino was a Will supporter. Joan’s people when they first opened the campaign office would stop by for lunch. When they found out that Dino supported Will in the primary they stopped eating and shopping there. 🙂

                    Yes. Jared did really well in Adams.

                  • Thorntondem says:

                    Butch Hicks- former Westminster City Councilmember, former State Democratic Party Treasurer, current Adams County Democratic Treasurer.

                    Ann Ragsdale-former State House Representative

                    Both announced that they were running for the Senate Vacancy tonight at the Adams County Executive Committee meeting.

    • sufimarie says:

      Silverstein is in Romer’s district, Kagan is in Newell’s so they are not able to try for this seat.

  4. parsingreality says:

    Beat my marriage by four years…..,

  5. Barron X says:


    I recall years ago when my Asian brother-in-law told me he was thwarted by racial quotas (maximums) from emigrating there.  

    Don’t know if that’s changed.


  6. repsjohnso says:

    Jennifer was a real pro, I’ll always cherish her friendship as members of same class to enter the House together…..she will be sorely missed.

    Sen. Steve Johnson

  7. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    It’s beautiful there and great weather.

  8. Pam Bennett says:

    Sen. Jennifer V. carried important legislation that has made many citizens of Colorado better.  In particular were bills that became Employment Non-Discrimination, Two parent adaption, and Public Accomodations.

  9. MADCO says:

    Who makes the chair assignments for committee?

  10. waltzeswithdog says:

    Pat Steadman, lobbyist and longtime Democratic precinct person in the district, as well as civil rights activist has indicated he is interested.  He would be a good replacement for Veiga and care about many of the things she cared about.  Pat is a partner in the firm that represents ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Equal Rights Colorado, and many other progressive groups.  He is a good fit, and his experience as a party volunteer for many years should serve him well in a vacancy selection process.  

  11. waltzeswithdog says:

    Ann Ragsdale – furniture.

  12. waltzeswithdog says:

    I found your post funny, and enjoyed the humour.  However, IMHO, protocol let’s people out themselves, if they want to do so.  It is much better to focus on someone’s political agenda who is seeking office, rather than their sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristic.  I realize I am saying this after making an unflattering post about a former legislator and inanimate objects, and promise to follow better form in the future myself.

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