Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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List of Tables, Maps, and Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

Coloradans (it is not Coloradoans) express decidedly negative attitudes toward the U.S. government. The citizen surveys conducted for this book reveal that most Coloradans think the “feds” are too big, too wasteful, and too intrusive. Yet Colorado would be economically devastated if federal...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

We thank hundreds of people who have shared their views with us about Colorado politics, public policies, and government. Sometimes these were brief encounters in cafes or general stores in Holly, San Luis, Salida, Creede, Crestone, Crawford, Durango, Aspen, or Meeker. At other times they were...

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1. The Character and Spirit of Colorado

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pp. 1-35

Its land area is larger than Portugal or South Korea, twice the size of England, and nearly seven times the size of Switzerland. It is the eighth-largest state in the United States. Colorado is said to be the number-one state in surface land area. If you flattened out all of...

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2. Coloradans and Their Political Beliefs

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pp. 36-76

Who are the people of Colorado? What are their political interests and beliefs? This chapter examines what demographics and poll data tell us about Coloradans. We also call upon scores of interviews we have had with political activists, media people, and state political leaders...

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3. A Brief Sociopolitical History of Colorado

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pp. 77-94

Among the first permanent residents of what is now Colorado were Native Americans living at Mesa Verde in the southwest corner of the state. Called Prehistoric Puebloans or Anasazi, they first occupied the area in the first century AD. Initially they lived in pit houses dug into...

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4. The Colorado Constitution and Its Politics

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pp. 95-121

Colorado, like every state, has a constitution. It represents, at least in theory, the basic agreement of the citizens about the shape of state government and the distribution of power between citizens and state government. The Colorado Constitution is a political compact that structures state...

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5. Political Parties and Elections in Colorado

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pp. 122-145

The Centennial State has long been characterized as a Republican state, yet Democrats have always competed successfully for a number of statewide and congressional offices, and especially for governor. Indeed, there have been more Democratic than Republican governors, and...

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6. Electing Colorado Legislators

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pp. 146-166

Former Democratic state representative Jerry Kopel of Denver was a veteran door-to-door campaigner. He invariably asked constituents if he could help them in any way. In one campaign, one woman told him, “Yeah, you can water my petunias.” Kopel said, “Sure,” went outside...

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7. Legislative Politics and Processes

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pp. 167-194

Colorado’s legislature is officially called the General Assembly, but it is commonly referred to as the state legislature. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Colorado was described by scholars as having one of the more influential state legislatures in the United States, particularly in relation...

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8. The Colorado Governorship

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pp. 195-234

Colorado governors get a big office with a view of the Rocky Mountains on the first floor of the majestic if cramped state capitol building at 200 East Colfax Avenue in Denver. The capitol was built of Colorado granite in 1886. As of 2013, governors get paid a meager $90,000 for overseeing...

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9. Judges and Justice in Colorado

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pp. 235-269

Many people have called the judiciary in American government the most removed from politics or the least political branch. Yet judges and courts at all levels of government play a vital role in determining who gets what, where, when, and how. Judges play a role in making public...

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10. Colorado in the Federal System

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pp. 270-294

When Zebulon Montgomery Pike was exploring eastern Colorado in the early 1800s, he built a small fortification, a breastwork of logs, for defense against hostile Native Americans or Spaniards. He located this minor military project on the north bank of the Arkansas River at the site...

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11. The Important Role of Local Government

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pp. 295-319

State government and state politics get the lion’s share of attention in state newspapers as well as in this book. Yet there are almost two thousand other governments in Colorado, and the number grows. In addition to the state government, and of course the large presence of the U.S. government...

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12. Colorado’s Assets and Liabilities

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pp. 320-361

Unlike the nation, Colorado essentially has no debt. But a variety of laws and state constitutional amendments almost guarantee a decline in Colorado’s ability to meet its higher education, transportation, and related economic development and environmental needs...

Notes

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pp. 363-384

Suggestions for Further Research

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pp. 385-386

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 387-393

Index

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pp. 395-419