Daily Sentinel puff piece on Penry reported GOP praise but no comments from Democratic lawmakers

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

A November 17 article in The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction reported Republican lawmakers' praise for state Sen. Josh Penry (R-Fruita) and quoted a former local Democratic Party official as saying that Penry is "held in high regard by both Republicans and Democrats." The article, however, did not include any comments from Penry's Democratic colleagues in the legislature.

In a November 17 article profiling state Sen. Josh Penry (R-Fruita), The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction quoted several Republican lawmakers and provided a comment by a former local Democratic Party official, who also is one of Penry's former college professors, that Penry is "held in high regard by both Republicans and Democrats." However, the article failed to include comments about Penry from any Democrats in the legislature.

The Daily Sentinel article, by Mike Saccone, reported, "When the General Assembly convenes next year ... first-term senator Josh Penry will find himself in the spotlight." The article included compliments about Penry from Senate Minority Leader Andrew McElhany (R-Colorado Springs) and state Rep. Rob Witwer (R-Golden):

"He's a very talented young man," McElhany said.

McElhany, who is entering his final session as a senator, said Penry's policy prowess could make him a strong candidate not only for future leadership roles in the Senate but also in the state's executive branch.

"I think he could be pretty much whatever he wants to be," McElhany said.

[...]

Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, said the key to Penry's success has been his ability to use a variety of tools to finesse and, at times, force legislation through the process.

[...]

"I think the sky's the limit for Josh," Witwer said. "He's that good."

The Daily Sentinel also reported the comments of John Redifer, Penry's former professor at Grand Junction's Mesa State College and "former head of the Mesa County Democratic Party," who said that Penry could "tak[e] on a statewide elected position given enough time":

"I think he's got a lot of potential," he said. "He's held in high regard by both Republicans and Democrats."

Despite reporting Redifer's remark that Penry is "held in high regard by ... Democrats," the article provided no comments from Democratic lawmakers.

From Mike Saccone's article "Penry profile to rise at Capitol," in the November 17 edition of The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction:

When the General Assembly convenes next year to debate some of the largest policy questions confronting the state, such as transportation funding or public employee unions, first-term senator Josh Penry will find himself in the spotlight.

On issues including the repeal of a controversial executive order for collective bargaining by state employees, tapping revenues from the embattled Roan Plateau, and implementing statewide graduation requirements, the Grand Junction senator has unveiled bills sure to push him to the fore of Colorado public policy next year.

Senate Minority Leader Andrew McElhany, R-Colorado Springs, said it does not surprise him that his colleague will take the lead on so many issues at the state Capitol.

"He's a very talented young man," McElhany said.

McElhany, who is entering his final session as a senator, said Penry's policy prowess could make him a strong candidate not only for future leadership roles in the Senate but also in the state's executive branch.

"I think he could be pretty much whatever he wants to be," McElhany said.

Penry most visibly established himself as a Senate leader last year during a contentious debate over a pro-union bill moving through the chamber in early February.

During that debate, Penry, Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, and colleagues moved a laundry list of amendments to modify or kill the controversial legislation over the course of eight hours.

Though the Senate passed the bill, Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed it.

Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, said the key to Penry's success has been his ability to use a variety of tools to finesse and, at times, force legislation through the process.

"You know the saying, 'If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?' " Witwer said. "Josh is kind of the opposite of that. He's got a lot of tools in his toolbox. He can deal with an issue with a variety of different approaches, and he's equally skilled at all those approaches."

Witwer said Penry's filibuster of the 2007 union bill was a "sledgehammer." He said Penry's ability to negotiate a compromise on legislation to expand the size and representation on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was more of a "scalpel."

"I think the sky's the limit for Josh," Witwer said. "He's that good."

John Redifer, a political science professor at Mesa State College, said Penry's leadership on statewide issues can only benefit Mesa County and the Western Slope.

[...]

Redifer, who was one of Penry's professors at Mesa State and a former head of the Mesa County Democratic Party, said he could see the first-term senator taking on a statewide elected position given enough time.

"I think he's got a lot of potential," he said. "He's held in high regard by both Republicans and Democrats."

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.