Sixty years ago this week: Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Byron Johnson, CD-2, addressed Monday’s Democratic Party Forum in Denver, saying he was optimistic about the prospect of world peace after years of rising tensions around the world.
Johnson called himself a “roving member” of the United Nations Economic and Social Council staff and said his optimism was based on “a growing understanding among UN member nations that cooperation is necessary to avoid war “.
“More prosperous nations are less likely to endanger the peace of the world,” Johnson said. “The economic and social union of groups of nations can reduce areas of disagreement and thereby promote peace.”
But Johnson pointed to the stark disparity between rich Western countries and the millions in Africa, Asia and South America who “are starving, not just for food, but for education, resource development, transport and facilities communication
Johnson told fellow Democrats that federal foreign aid spending should be channeled toward education, infrastructure and food production so that in the coming decades “people can be helped to help themselves.” .
The previous year Russia had given $1 million to the economic and social development of underdeveloped nations, but India, “despite its own problems, gave more than $2 million to help others and thirteen nations gave more than Russia,” Johnson said.
Thirty-five years ago: Rumors were mounting that Colorado House Speaker Bev Bledsoe, R-Hugo, had decided to hang up her political hat and not run for re-election. When approached for comment by The Colorado Statesman, Bledsoe immediately dispelled that notion.
“As far as I know, I’m running in 1988,” he said. “I will definitely make up my mind in February or sometime.
Bledsoe, a 15-year veteran of the Colorado House, said he had received several calls from different media outlets about his plans for the upcoming election cycle.
“I’m a little surprised,” Bledsoe said. “It’s still a little early to talk about this. It’s only been nine months since the last election.”
Bledsoe also quashed rumors that longtime friend Cody Pearson was considering a run for his House seat.
“I don’t think Cody’s interested,” Bledsoe said. “He’s my campaign manager. He would have been a good legislator, but I think he’s seen enough of the legislature as a campaign manager.”
Twenty five years ago: Gov. Roy Romer signed into law Manitou Springs Rep. Marcy Morrison’s “Neurobiological Mental Illness Coverage” bill (HB 97-1192), which required insurance companies to treat six mental illnesses the same as other medical problems .
Under the new statute, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, effective bipolar disorder, panic disorder, major depressive disorder, and specific obsessive-compulsive disorders were now required to be under the same health insurance guidelines as other medical problems such as bone fractures, cancer and other “standard diseases”. “
“The reason,” said Morrison, “if these six major psychiatric problems are based on biological dysfunction of the human brain, not emotional trauma, as such, they can and are effectively controlled with medication and monitoring.”
Laurie Flynn, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, sent a congratulatory letter to Morrison saying she was just her kind of ally.
“You have used your legislative acumen to advance legislation that most of your colleagues would have thought impossible to defend effectively,” Flynn wrote.
Rachael Wright is the author of the Captain Savva Mystery series, holds a degree in Political Science and History from Colorado Mesa University and is a contributor to Colorado Politics and The Gazette.