DENVER — Republicans and Democrats alike are in mourning following the news Sunday night that former Colorado senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon died, apparently from a heart attack.
Gordon, a public defender turned Democratic lawmaker, spent 14 years under the gold dome and is being remembered by those who worked along side him as a tireless fighter for the underdog.
He’s devoted his political work since leaving office to fighting for campaign finance reform, founding a group called Clean Slate Now and pushing to get big money out of politics.
Gordon was also currently filed to run for Secretary of State in 2014 after doing so in 2010, although he wasn’t actually gearing up for a campaign.
“Colorado lost a great public servant today with the passing of former State Senator Ken Gordon,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio in a statement. “A champion for good government, Ken worked hard to ensure our democratic process was one of transparency and accountability.
“Whether it was during his tenure in the Colorado Public Defender’s Office or in the Colorado State Legislature, Ken has left a legacy of fighting for those that cannot fight for themselves.”
Gordon, who leaves behind two grown children and his long-time partner, Betty Lehman, drove himself to the hospital Sunday morning after not feeling well.
He suffered a heart attack and died later Sunday afternoon.
Gordon was 63.
Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels, who covered Gordon for 13 years, penned a nice tribute on the newspaper’s political blog Sunday night.
And many of Gordon’s friends and colleagues took to Twitter on Sunday night to pay tribute.
So shocked and saddened by the loss of my close friend and colleague, Senator Ken Gordon, a rebel with a cause. #patriot
— Andrew Romanoff (@andrewromanoff) December 23, 2013
— Terrance Carroll (@speakercarroll) December 23, 2013
— The Colorado GOP (@cologop) December 23, 2013
— SenatorBrophy (@SenatorBrophy) December 23, 2013
Ken Gordon was a great man who did great things for Colorado. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. #coleg
— Mark Ferrandino (@MarkFerrandino) December 23, 2013
— Tyler Chafee (@TylerChafee) December 23, 2013
Sen. Ken Gordon walked across CO to fund Higher Ed & Human Svs. I know you’ll keep walking with every underdog in spirit. Miss you. #coleg
— Jonathan Singer (@Singer4Colorado) December 23, 2013
Ken Gordon was intellectually honest & put principle above party. A sincere do-gooder who did a lot of good. RIP Ken, Colo. misses you.
— Dave Kopel (@davekopel) December 23, 2013