Sen. Pat Steadman: A Champion of Economic Justice

Sen. Pat Steadman: A Champion of Economic Justice

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy is proud to bestow this year’s Champions of Economic Justice Awards on two people who have devoted their lives to helping low-income individuals and families: David Butler, Esq. and Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver. Both of these accomplished individuals will be honored at CCLP’s 3rd Annual Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, Oct. 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the History Colorado Center in Denver.

Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, has dedicated his life to helping low-income Coloradans and securing the civil rights of historically marginalized populations.

A long-time resident of Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Steadman grew up in Westminster, Colorado, and graduated from Regis University in 1987 before graduating from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1991.

Following law school, Steadman found a passion for politics and public service when he led the charge to have Amendment 2 (an anti-LGBTQ ballot initiative that Colorado voters approved in 1992) struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. His work on Romer v. Evans established the first legal precedent protecting the LGBTQ community, an accomplishment Steadman credits with inspiring him to pursue a career in politics and public service.

Following his work on Amendment 2, Steadman briefly worked on labor issues on behalf of a local union representing public employees. His passion for politics and the legislative process, however, soon compelled him to join a lobbying firm in 1994. As a lobbyist, Steadman quickly made a name for himself as an influential champion of progressive causes and an expert on Colorado’s budgetary and legislative processes.

In 2009, Steadman was appointed to fill the vacant seat for Colorado’s Senate District 31 after Sen. Jennifer Veiga resigned. In 2011, he was selected to serve on the powerful Joint Budget Committee and chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Steadman continued to stand up for those who have historically lacked representation. He has continued his crusade to ensure equality before the law for the LGBTQ community, fought hard for reducing mandatory minimums and sentences for non-violent crimes, supported Medicaid expansion in Colorado, worked to ensure additional protections for victims of domestic violence and much more. He has been described by colleagues and outside observers alike as a relentless policymaker who always seems to be at the forefront of the important issues facing Colorado.

CCLP recognizes Sen. Steadman for championing and advancing the causes we fight for every day. His work on criminal justice reform set the stage for our work on a statewide “ban-the-box” bill during the most recent legislative session.

His position on the Joint Budget Committee ensured the passage CCLP’s bill in 2015 that has helped Coloradans receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) become more financially secure by allowing them to keep child-support payments made by non-custodial parents.

During the last legislative session, he supported our efforts to fund affordable housing units for low-income individuals. He also was a lead sponsor this past session on successful legislation to ensure the state’s most vulnerable residents will be able to get official documents needed to obtain a state-issued ID card.

Unfortunately, Sen. Steadman is term-limited and unable to run for re-election in 2016. His expertise of the legislative and budgetary processes in Colorado, ability to gain bipartisan support and his passion for advancing the well-being and civil rights of all Coloradans will surely be missed by CCLP and other advocacy organizations and Colorado. But his role in fighting for these issues will undoubtedly continue.

We are fortunate to have advocates like Sen. Steadman and David Butler to fight for the economic security and civil rights of low-income Coloradans.

Registration for the Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, which also features a keynote speech from Andy Stern of Columbia University, is available online.


-Kristopher Grant