The Lawmaker Awards – Honoring Lawmakers for 16 Years

On November 3, 2011, 150 guests convened at the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion to honor Colorado Lawmakers who have supported women through sponsoring bills addressing women’s issues.

The first honorees this year were Senator Betty Boyd (D) and Representative Amy Stephens (R) for their sponsorship of SB 200, which established a state health insurance exchange. Once it is operational in 2014, the state health insurance exchange will provide individuals and small businesses comparative information and easier access to health insurance information. It will also help individuals find out if they are eligible for tax credits or public health insurance programs.  This is a major step forward in securing affordable health insurance.

Representative Brian DelGrosso (R) was honored for his sponsorship of HB 1014 which supports the availability of child care in our state.  The bill partially lifted a cap on tax credits for donations to local child care centers. The Child Care Contribution tax credit has been financially critical to hundreds of Colorado organizations providing child care.  This is a critical service not only for children but also for parents.

The rest of the awards program was dedicated to Denver Councilwoman Carla Madison, who died in April.  Donna Evans, President and CEO of the CWCC said of Carla, “I worked with her when I was at the Downtown Denver Partnership and experienced first hand her passion and commitment to people and communities. It is a true honor to recognize her today.”

We learned that Carla was first elected to City Council to represent District 8 – Northeast Denver in 2007.  Prior to that she had an eclectic career including being a physical therapist, hot air balloon company manager and special effects artist.

Caitlin Quander, Denver Women’s Commission chair and Ursla Null, the past DWC Chair contacted some of Carla Madison’s former colleagues to share their perspectives on her contribution.  Here are just some of their quotes:

Mayor Michael Hancock, “It was my honor to work side by side on council with my friend Carla Madison.  Her passion for life and her bold commitment to her district and the people of Denver was inspiring.  She had a quiet (but effective) style of leadership and a spirited commitment to making Denver a better place for everyone.  I will never forget her.”

City Council President Chris Nevitt, “Carla was a dear friend, a great colleague, and a wonderful public servant.  She had an uncanny ability to get a phenomenal amount done in a short period of time, to affect dramatic and potentially controversial change, and yet leave a smile on everyone’s face and no feathers ruffled or feelings hurt.  We could all do with a little more Carla Madison in our politics these days.”

Governor John Hickenlooper, “Carla’s humor and good will permeated everything she touched.  She could find a silver lining in almost anything.  Often, if I was having a bad day or even a bad week, I would seek her out for the tonic of her company.  I doubt I was the only one. There is and never was anyone like her.”

Donna Evans presented the award to Carla’s sister, Margaret Albrecht and made this final comment, “For breaking the mold of who can be an effective elected official we honor Councilwoman Carla Madison.”

This year’s event comes after a long line of Lawmaker events. Since 1995 the Denver Woman’s Commission has been honoring Colorado Lawmaker’s who have supported women. In 2000 the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the Denver Women’s Commission partnered to present the awards.  To see a list of previous award recipients beginning in 2000 click here.

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