Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/colorado-politics-and-policy-governing-purple-state[12/7/2015 3:56:17 PM] Home Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple StateColorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple StateSubmitted by nwharton on 8-3-2013 08:06 PMAuthor: Thomas E. Cronin and Robert D. Loevy Publishing: Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2013. 420 pages. Maps, charts, index, notes, selected bibliography. 6 x 9. $40.00 paperback. Reviewer: Gov. Richard D. Lamm How do you write a biography of a state? How do you capture the geography, demography, sociology, politics and political structure, and history and spirit of a state of five and a half million diverse people? Can one book capture what makes Colorado Colorado? The genius of Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State is knowing how to capture the essence of multiple interacting subjects, recognizing what is important and what can be excluded, and understanding how to balance multiple subjects to capture the essence of a state, its people, and its institutions. The authors have to be historians, political scientists, and, above all, poets who achieve the maximum of meaning with the minimum of words. It takes a sense for the essential and an eye for the absurd and unusual. As of few years ago, there was one lawyer for every 284 Coloradans.(41) If you flattened out all of Colorados mountains and foothills . there would be more land area than either Alaska or Texas (also flattened out).(1) Until I read this book, I thought such a project would take several books. But the authors do a magnificent job in capturing Colorado in one very readable volume. Most Coloradans love their state, but few know its the institutions and history that make Colorado unique. We can try and excuse people their civil illiteracy because the modern age is frenzied and complicated, but that is a lame excuse. Literate Coloradans should know the material in this book, and Cronin and Loevy make the Colorado story eminently readable. What a story it is! The Rocky Mountains are our most prominent feature, and 95 percent of our citizens can see the mountains. Water is our scarcest resource and the book captures our battle with Mother Nature and with each other. Eastern Range battles Western Slope, agriculture battles development, and environmentalists battle the builders, while the devastating inevitability of a major drought hangs over Colorado like a Sword of Damocles. Often considered to be a rural state, Colorado is among the most urban states with 82 percent of its population living in its cities. A typical Coloradan is 35.5 years old, lives in the Denver suburbs, is employed, and owns a home. Median income in Colorado has fluctuated between $55,000 and $61,000 in recent years.(35) It is a state awash with change as young people and minorities make up the majority of the newcomers. But I was particularly fascinated with the authors accurate description of the changing social climate of Colorado: Moralism and individualism appear locked in a continuing struggle, one side winning on certain issues and the other winning on yet different issues.(31) EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.
Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/colorado-politics-and-policy-governing-purple-state[12/7/2015 3:56:17 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us As the title suggests, much of this book deals with Colorado politics, political institutions, and the machinery of Colorados political system. A whole chapter focuses on Colorados constitution. Other topics include a wide variety of subjects, such as political parties and elections, environmentalism, Creationists versus Evolutionists, and judges and justice in Colorado. You can simultaneously hide your face in shame and puff out your chest when reading the chapter Colorados Assets and Liabilities. This is an ideal textbook, but I would urge a far wider readership. People should know the material in this book. It is not esoteric or of marginal relevance. This material is the blood, bones, and DNA of a fascinating state. Reviewer Info: Richard Douglas Lamm was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on August 3, 1935. Lamm grew up in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Educated as an attorney and an accountant, he moved to Colorado in the early 1960s, serving in the legislature from 1966 to 1974 as a Democrat. He supported no-fault insurance, decriminalization of certain abortions, zero population growth, and protection of the environment. He led the successful fight to defeat the proposal to hold the 1976 Winter Olympics in Colorado. In 1974 he won the governors office and served for three terms (1975). Governor Lamm is the author of various books, including Pioneers and Politicians: Colorados Governors in Profile (with Duane A. Smith).