Former Colorado Gov. Richard “Dick” Lamm passed away Thursday night at the age of 85, his wife said in a statement. He was one of the longest serving governors in the history of the state.
Lamm would have turned 86 next week, but was surrounded by friends and family when he died of complications from a pulmonary embolism, according to his wife and the 1998 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Dottie Lamm. He had two children.
“I am very saddened to hear of the passing of former Prime Minister Dick Lamm and send my condolences to Dottie and his entire family,” Governor Jared Polis said in a statement on Friday. ‘I thank Governor Lamm for his service to the State of Colorado, as well as Governor and for his years of teaching. Gov. Lamm tackled difficult issues, and he never shyed away from civic political discourse and adopted cooperation. ”
The former Democratic governor, who was born in Wisconsin before moving to Denver in 1962, served three terms from 1975 to 1987. He was also a state representative from 1966 to 1974.
During his time in the state legislature, he sponsored and helped the the country’s first abortion law in 1967, making it easier for women to have abortions due to health issues or in cases of rape or incest (this occurs six years before Roe v. Wade). He also gave co-support the state’s first public records law.
In the early 1970s, Lamm campaigned for a successful referendum on put an end to Colorado hosting the 1976 Winter Olympics after the state awarded them, and he also campaigned in 2018 against bringing the games to Colorado, citing environmental and fiscal concerns.
Lamm ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992 for the Democratic nomination in Colorado, but lost. After complaints about the Democratic and Republican parties, he sought in vain a candidate for a higher office than the president of the Reform Party in 1996.
Before taking office, Lamm served in the U.S. Army, was a lawyer, and became a certified public accountant, and after leaving office, he graduated from the University of Denver’s Institute for Public Policy Studies.
Lamm later became a staunch critic of immigration and was an adviser to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which views the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group because of its ties to white supremacists.
A short speech by Lamm from 2003, entitled ‘I Have a Plan to Destroy America’, went viral among immigration advocates. In it he claims that multiculturalism, bilingualism and ‘the cult of diversity’ are destroying the country. Three years later, Lamm claimed in a speech that black and Latino people do not have the drive and ambition of Asians and Jews.
And in his book “Two Wands, One Nation” he dreamed of having a magic wand to “wave over the ghettos and barrios of America and instill in the inhabitants Japanese or Jewish values, respect for doctrine and ambition,” The Denver Post reported in 2006.
Fellow Democrats condemned his remarks that year, with then-Senator Ken Salazar, a Latino, saying Lamm “belittles people” and stereotypes them. Former U.S. Senator Gary Hart said Lamm’s remarks “favor sophisticated types of racial profiling and racial characterization.”
Details about services are finalized.
This is an evolving story and will be updated.