January 8th, 2009
06:25 AM ET
14 years ago

Colorado political leaders make American history

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/07/colorado.legislature/art.colorado.cnn.jpg caption="Peter Groff, left, and Terrance Carroll are the new leaders of Colorado's legislature."]
DENVER, Colorado (CNN) - In Washington, all eyes are on President-elect Barack Obama, but 1,700 miles away, in Colorado, another historic swearing-in has taken place.

For the first time in American history, African-Americans lead both chambers of a state legislature.

"I'm honored and humbled that my colleagues chose us to lead the Senate and the House. And it's more humbling when you look and this is a state with 4 percent African-American population," said new Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, who joins Senate President Peter Groff in the state Capitol.

"And it leads you to believe and impresses upon you that they were more concerned with our character and our ability to lead as opposed to the color of our skin," he added.

Carroll said he's mindful of history.

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Filed under: Colorado
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Laverne

    Thank you God. It is time there is some diversity in leadership positions across America on every level. God Bless America, it has been a long time coming!

    January 8, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. raagos


    January 8, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. John in Ohio

    Bobby Rush should learn from this. It's not your skin color, it's your ability and your character that count.

    January 8, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    America, America, God has truly shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. The more perfect union is manifesting itself all around us. The dream is becoming real.

    January 8, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    WHO CARES??? When are we going to stop this kind of racial "news"..... it's a form of racism after all....

    January 8, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. AmericaGotItRightThisTime

    That's great! I'm glad that the government is starting to represent the diversity of America. As an African-American I am so proud!

    January 8, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. ga.

    we want leaders who are intelligent and fair minded, who cares what color their skin is, it's time for america to unite, let it begin with with this generation.

    January 8, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Blackman

    Is that why Burris must be seated?

    January 8, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. Matt

    @ Laverne

    Diversity for diversity's sake is the flip-side of the racism coin and really no different than sameness for sameness' sake.

    Start ignoring color so we can move on.

    January 8, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. obama-mama

    Republicans are evil. These two clueless token clowns. This is just the republicans way of getting back on track in 2012....Dumb like a fox....

    January 8, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. lisa

    The world does get better and a man's deeds is the only thing that matters. Someday someone will have to explain why this made the news. I really believe it. And, this makes me proud to be American.

    January 8, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Blu

    Electing politicians based of the color of their skin is as racist as not electing them based of the color of their skin.
    We should be more concerned with their credentials and their position on the issues than on their race!

    January 8, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Mike in NYC

    Only 4% of CO's population is black, and both houses are led by blacks? People will still say that race wasn't the deciding factor here, just "competence." Sure, there were no competent Whites to hold these positions…. (Or Hispanics, who are almost 20% of the population.)

    The era of ethnic apportionment has begun. It all goes downhill from here.

    January 8, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Amazing to Me!!!

    It's amazing to me how many people say "well, who cares?" or "this is racial news" or "this is a form of racism". ARE YOU SERIOUS??? It's blatantly obvious that people of the majority don't understand the situations and accomplishments occuring with people of the minority.

    From the words of W.E.B. Dubois, minorities have this thing called "Double consciousness." It is an awareness of one's self as well as an awareness of how others perceive that person. When you are apart of the majority (i.e. white people), your consciousness does not understand or even appreciate the perception of others. So they are stuck in this superiority complex and therefore conjure up negative comments such as the ones in this article.

    The sad thing is that the majority sometimes don't intend to be demeaning; it's just part of their conditioning in society. Yes we should focus on ability and character and not skin color, but we should also celebrate accomplishments that defeat all odds of hinderance. I mean the whole purpose of this article was to celebrate an achievement based on ability and character.

    January 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. bob

    Thank you Colorado!

    January 8, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Traci, Chicago IL

    For those of you complaining about the 'mentioning of race' – these are FIRSTS, so they should be celebrated. Maybe if this happens ENOUGH, race won't be an issue anymore. Get a clue.

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Lisa P

    Mike in NYC, I'm sure there are plenty of whites, and blacks, and Hispanics, and Asians, and Native Americans, and women, and [fill in the blank]s who are qualified for these jobs; it's just that of all the people who were in the right place at the right time (Colorado Legislature, beginning of new session 2009) these two men have been selected by their peers as the most qualified. And they both happen to be black. Get over it.

    January 8, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. vincent - phoenix

    Mike in NYC... they were ELECTED, you flaming moron.


    judging a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin MLK's dream realized. Congratulations again. The people of Colorado should be extremely proud of this.

    John in Ohio,,, you are absolutely right. Bobby Rush SHOULD learn from this. A few too many of his generation of African Americans (on the front lines of the civil rights movement) have NOT been able to see the progress that they, themselves contributed to, and that not EVERY challenge is because of race.

    January 8, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Mrs. A.

    Some of these people are just bitter.

    January 8, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Nathan Bedford Forrest

    To ..... Mike in NYC ..... KMA

    Colorado appears to be turning the corner on racial politics but you are a clear indication that America is NOT a post-racial country across the board and the problems are not just in the "deep South".

    It will take America until about 2040 before that happens. Why 2040? That's when the children ... born under two terms of a President Obama will be yound adults. They, and children born after them, will have grown up in a world where the head man in charge was a black man.

    They won't find it unusual; they won't think it safe to automatically denegrade or conspire against the minority. They will give that guy in the hoodie at the ATM the same respect as they give the white guy .... who knows, he might be their new boss on Monday.

    January 8, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Laverne

    @ Matt: You can't ignore color when there clearly is NO or LIMITED COLOR in most high positions. The point is every ethic group should have representation as long as they are qualified for the job including more hispanics, Asians, native Americans, etc. Issues have to be seen through more than group of eyes. Others do bring something to the table. I say no more ignoring the real issues that America face including when it comes to race. We have to deal with it and THEN move on.

    January 8, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. MW in MD

    TO BLU:

    So are you saying that the white majority voted for these two because they were Black? Please! Did it ever occur to you that they just might have the credentials for the job?

    January 8, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. Proud American

    Republican are such hateful, racist, Losers. The republicans can't and will never believe that People of color are qualified for anything. Listen you sitting President is White and the dumbest human I have ever seen in my life. The intelligent, sane citizens voted for these men and I'm sure it wasn't at gun point. Republicans stop being so stupid. what a bunch of Idiot Losers.

    January 8, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. demwit

    Colorodo's Apartheid??

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Mike in NYC

    @Traci, Chicago IL:

    "Enough" will never be enough. Even if minorities are represented proportionately, it won’t be enough. There will always be those “historical imbalances” to be “addressed.” And “compensated” for.

    Race will always be an issue. Now and forever.

    January 8, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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