Record Number of Colorado State Lawmakers Leaving Office

Monday, 07 May 2012 01:50 PM

By Greg McDonald

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An historic exodus is about to take place in Colorado, as term limits, new district boundaries, and dreams of higher office catch up with state lawmakers.

According to The Denver Post, 33 of the Colorado Legislature’s 100 members will depart for good when the 2012 session ends Wednesday, setting a new record. But even more are expected to leave after the November election because some incumbents are likely to be defeated by newcomers.

“I think the people of Colorado lose when there’s that much turnover,” Republican Sen. Nancy Spence, who is term-limited, told the Post. “You lose institutional memory, which is so important.”

Likewise, lobbyist Mike Beasley said the turnover would hurt because so many new lawmakers will have to play catch-up.

“An unbelievable number of people are leaving, and it will have an impact on how this place operates for years to come,” he told the Post.

The previous record of departing legislators was set in 1998, when 32 left or were pushed out at the same time. Most of those — 27 — were term-limit victims. This year, term limits account for 14 departures.

In addition to term limits, a big factor this year was reapportionment, which in some cases forced incumbents into the same newly drawn legislative district. For Republican incumbents, it was particularly hard. Four sets of GOP members had to face off in the same district,” according to the Post.

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