Nice Awards From Boulder County Dems, University Professors

The annual Boulder County Democratic Party Truman Dinner is always a wonderful event, as we get the chance to socialize and get fired up for the political contests that lie ahead. But this year's Truman Dinner (Aug. 24 at the Plaza Hotel in Longmont) was a special one for me, as the BCDP honored me with their "Give 'Em Hell Harry" award for outstanding service to the Democratic Party.

Truman Dinner award

Kathy Gebhardt (right) and Rich Gebhardt (center), last year's "Give 'Em Hell Harry" award winners, offered kind words of introduction for me at the Truman Dinner.

While this award was given to me as an individual, I couldn't help but notice how many people were in the crowd who have helped make my accomplishments possible. On Aug. 24, I let the crowd know that so much of what I try to do is filtered through the question of "What kind of state, what kind of nation do you want to live in?" As a proud member of the BCDP, it heartens me to know that so many people in Boulder County seek some of the same solutions to our challenges of the future that I do.

At the Truman Dinner, I spoke about our need to not only create jobs, but also to make sure we have a strong system of education in place so we have intelligent and skilled members of our work force. Other topics on tap that evening included social equity and justice, a healthy environment, affordable college tuition, public safety and others. Since no single person can bring about the results we need when facing our key challenges, it takes a gigantic team effort like what the BCDP puts forth every year to achieve progress, and our other Truman Dinner award winners exemplify the commitment to progress, day-in and day-out.

My congratulations go out to Richard Garcia, winner of the Tom Mayer Award for Community Service, and Rebecca Browning, winner of the Jack Major Award for Outstanding Volunteer. Both Richard and Rebecca have been active in the party and their communities for years, and they'll continue to be involved long after earning their well-deserved recognition. 

After the awards ceremony and dinner, we all settled back for the keynote speech from Martin O'Malley, the Governor of Maryland since 2006. O'Malley spoke of some of Maryland's impressive achievements in recent years, including building a top-ranked public education system, reducing crime, increasing entrepreneurship and innovation, protecting the environment, and passing "Dream Act" and civil unions legislation. He challenged attendees to set the same type of forward-looking goals and to stay determined, since the path to true accomplishment is rarely without opposition or obstacles.

Or, as I concluded in my acceptance speech, "There's no better time to 'give 'em hell' than right now!"


In June of 2012, I was the co-recipient of the "Friend of Higher Education Award" from the American Association of University Professors, Colorado Conference, with my friend and colleague Sen. Bob Bacon of Ft. Collins. The award is given to legislators whose "legislative work and public service has significantly advanced civic understanding and public support of higher education in the State of Colorado." This was another special award since higher education is so important to me and our society. I've supported our colleges and universities for decades, and I'll continue to keep working in any way I can to make sure our state supports the best system possible. 


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