House votes 62-1 to censure Douglas Bruce
Associated Press Writer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
DENVER (AP) ” The Colorado House voted 62-1 on Thursday to censure Rep. Douglas Bruce for kicking a newspaper photographer, saying Bruce “failed to uphold the honor and dignity” of the chamber.
It was the first censure in the history of the Legislature. The resolution said Bruce’s action reflected poorly on the state and criticized him for refusing to apologize.
Bruce, a Colorado Springs Republican, kicked Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano for snapping his photo during the traditional session-opening prayer on Jan. 14. Bruce was sworn in as a midterm replacement hours later.
Bruce said he did nothing wrong and describes his action as a “nudge” and not a kick.
The lone vote against censure was by Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, who said Bruce deserved to be punished but that censure was too strong. Bruce was not permitted to vote.
Bruce stood in front of his colleagues toward the side of the chamber as the censure was read, his lips pursed and his arms folded.
He then delivered a rambling speech, again blaming the photographer and comparing himself to Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Stewart played a freshman congressman who punches out a photographer and becomes a hero after launching a filibuster and collapsing on the floor.
Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, responded: “Representative Bruce, you’re not Jimmy Stewart, this is not a 1939 movie. This is today. Your actions were wrong.”
White said Bruce should admit his mistake and apologize.
Bruce had a seven-page letter distributed to his colleagues explaining his refusal to apologize and calling House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, his “executioner.” The House voted 56-7 not to have it reprinted in the official record, saying it didn’t accurately represent what happened.
In the letter, Bruce noted it was the Legislature’s first-ever censure and asked, “Does this single tapping justly rise to those historic levels? No.”
He said an appropriate response would have ranged from no action to private warning from Romanoff.
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