The Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s 10th Annual President’s Award Reception was a swell party

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Members of the water community in Colorado Water gathered yesterday evening to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and thank the legislators — Diane Hoppe and Lewis Entz — for pushing the bill through the Assembly.

The reception gives folks a chance to mingle, talk water of course, and poke a little fun at each other. Denver cooperated with a soft summer-like evening in April.

I never imagined that I would be standing here,” said Former State Representative Diane Hoppe after accepting the President’s Award for lifetime achievement in water education.

“We got the bill pretty expediently through the house,” she said, describing the legislation that set up the Foundation. However, in the Senate, Sara Duncan drafted an amendment that added a continuous appropriation to the bill. That amendment garnered a stormy welcome by some back at the House. Grinning just a bit, Hoppe said, “When we picked the people for the conference committee we knew we’d probably win.”

That launched the Foundation on it’s objective non-advocacy road.

“I can’t believe an honor like this,” said Former State Senator Lewis Entz.

“We had to have a little fun in the Senate,” he said. He told us of an instance where he brought in a fellow San Luis Valley resident, an alligator, to see the senate chambers. “The Senate President went berserk.”

He sponsored legislation, SB04-222, that authorized the creation of groundwater sub-districts in the San Luis Valley. “People in the valley just wanted to determine their own destiny,” said Entz. Legislating, “is the work of the people.”

“I’ll just keep going,” he added.

In his introduction for Diane Hoppe, Justice Greg Hobbs (filling in for an ill Rita Crumpton), said, “You had a way in the legislature of leading well,” conveying the message that, “we’ll listen to you and everybody else.”

Hobbs said that Lew Entz was, “the man that made it safe for a young lawyer to appear in the capital in a bolo tie.”

The venue for the shindig was the Carriage House at the Governor’s Residence in downtown Denver.

Former Commissioner of Agriculture Don Ament told me that he used to attend cabinet meetings at the Carriage House facility when Governor Owens was in charge. The acoustics were very poor and the sun would shine in the eyes of members on his side of the table. “We couldn’t hear and we couldn’t see,” he said. I wondered if Referendum A — which has the distinction of losing every Colorado county in 2003 — was cooked up there?

Senator Udall keynoted the evening.

“I’m an eternal optimist,” he said. “This is a good time to look ahead…Our most important resource, water, will unite us.”

“Diane and Lew are true and faithful public servants,” said Udall.

Emmett Jordan was also honored for his work designing and doing the layout for the Citizens Guides.

“The best thing is the way [they are] illustrated and laid out,” said Greg Hobbs.

It was a swell party.