When Colorado’s lawmakers come back to work in January, many will say hello to a lot of new colleagues, and goodbye to some old ones.
After nine years in the legislature, Democratic state Sen. Daniel Kagan announced Wednesday evening that he plans to step down Jan. 11, 2019. Kagan, who would have been up for re-election in 2020, told CPR News he wants to ease up on his work schedule and that his decision had nothing to do with what he dubbed “toiletgate.”
During the 2018 legislative session, a workplace harassment investigation found it likely that Kagan used a women’s restroom inside the state capitol three times in 2017. Kagan maintains he used the unmarked facility, which is reserved for staff and senators, only once and by accident.
“I would never make an important decision like this,” Kagan said of his resignation, “based on a tempest in a teapot like that.”
Kagan is a lawyer by training and criminal justice reform was a main focus of his at the capitol. He doesn’t yet know what he’ll do after he steps down in January. He mentioned he wants to work part time and is considering teaching college courses, practicing law or driving for Uber — “that would be fun, if not lucrative,” Kagan quipped.
“I wanted to ease up the workload and pressure, and didn’t want to work at less than 100 percent, because my constituents don’t deserve that,” he said.
Kagan has represented a competitive suburban district in Arapahoe County since 2009, first as a state representative and then as a senator beginning in 2017. The man who holds his old House seat now, Democratic Rep. Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village, is expected to fill his seat through an appointment from a vacancy committee. Based on the timing of Kagan’s resignation, Colorado’s term limit laws would allow Bridges to serve out the rest of Kagan’s term, and then run for re-election twice.
“I look forward to continue serving the constituents who put their trust in me and elected me by an overwhelming margin, along with new friends and neighbors from the community where I grew up,” Bridges said.
Republican Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, who lost her re-election bid, filed the complaint against Kagan. The investigation was complete in June and Martinez Humenik released the report to the public in September.
“I asked for a public apology to all involved, not a resignation,” Martinez Humenik said. “We are still waiting on his apology.”
Democrats will replace two other outgoing senators before the 2019 legislative session begins. John Kefalas from Fort Collins and Matt Jones from Longmont both won commissioner races in their respective counties in November.