August 1st marks the admission of Colorado to the Union in 1876 as the Centennial State. It's a state holiday there, and an occasion for me to praise my native state.
My ancestors moved to Denver in the 1890s, seeking the dry, sunny climate and the economic opportunities of a growing region. I'm happy that a 4th and 5th generation, my daughter and twin grandsons, now live there now.
Colorado has a beautiful setting, with towering mountains, crystal clear streams, cool nights even after warm days, and mostly clean air. I learned recently, however, that the claim of "300 days of sunshine" a year is a longstanding exaggeration. [There are only about 250 days with more than an hour of sunshine, and only 115 that are fully sunny.] Its residents are among the healthiest in the country, and they keep that way with skiing, hiking, and numerous bike trails.
I am proud of the fact that Colorado was the third state to give women the right to vote -- in 1892. But as proof that good things can happen for not so good reasons, I learned only a few years ago that female suffrage was enacted to reduce the voting power of unmarried miners.
I was not proud of the fact that Colorado elected a governor who welcomed support of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, but have since learned that the Klan was part of a coalition of reform groups that considered the incumbents corrupt.
In recent decades, Colorado has had clean and competitive politics. I hope it stays that way.