16th 2008
Historiann for the U.S. Senate!

Posted under: American history, Berkshire Conference, local news, women's history

I’ve thought it over today, and I take back most of what I wrote about Caroline Kennedy’s bid for the special appointment to fill the Senate seat that will be vacated when Hillary Clinton is confirmed by the Senate to become Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.  Now that it looks like we’ll have a Senate seat in need of a special appointment here in Colorado, I’ve asked myself:  why should experience in politics count for anything?  After all, various politicians in Colorado have expressed a great deal of interest in serving as top administrators in higher education without terminal degrees or any experience whatsoever, why shouldn’t I, a humble History professor with no experience in politics, throw my hat in the ring?

So here’s a draft of the letter I will send to Governor Bill Ritter to lay out my qualifications to become the next Senator from Colorado (and, not incidentally, Colorado’s first woman U.S. Senator).  Please let me know what you think, and where you would recommend changes!

Dear Governor Ritter,

How have you been?  Did you have a nice summer?  How is your wife?  I have been extra good this year.

I am writing to you to express my strong interest in being appointed to fill the open seat in the U.S. Senate that will be vacant pending Senator Ken Salazar’s confirmation by his Senate colleagues to become the next Secretary of the Interior.  I meet all of the constitutional requirements to serve as a U.S. Senator, but more importantly, I believe that my 22 years in higher education have prepared me very well to serve the people of the state of Colorado in the U.S. Senate.  In addition to education, my other top issue will be the development of clean, green energy technologies and industries, because like you I believe that our state should be a leader on these issues.

I know you probably aren’t getting a lot of telephone calls from other professors about this job.  But Colorado has recently showed itself to be very open to politicians like former U.S. Senators and failed gubernatorial candidates serving as university presidents and chancellors, and it goes without saying that the people of our state would be equally well served by permitting people in higher education to enter politics at the top.  Since our retiring U.S. Senator Wayne Allard has indicated his interest in becoming the Chancellor of Baa Ram U., appointing me to the U.S. Senate would be an even trade, and it would permit politicians in Colorado and in the U.S. Senate to benefit from the experience and wisdom of the academy. 

As an early American historian who regularly teaches on the era of the American Revolution and the writing of the U.S. Constitution, I am well versed in the history and political philosophy of our nation.  (Now that Robert Byrd is geezing pretty badly, the Senate will need another “historian.”)  Furthermore, as a women’s historian, no possible candidate for this Senate seat would understand better the significance of my becoming our state’s first woman Senator.  I am a proven vote-getter, as I have regularly been elected to serve on my department’s Executive Committee, which works much like a combination of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Rules Committee.  Additionally, I’ve been elected this year to represent my department on the College Tenure and Promotion Committee, experience that would be applicable to service on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

I have a great deal of administrative experience for a regular faculty member, earned within my department as the Graduate Studies Chair for one year, and as a Program Committee co-Chair of the 2008 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, a triennial event with 1,100 people on the program and which drew more than 1,400 registered participants.  My experience in both of these positions demonstrates that I would be able to assemble a great team of advisers and a crackerjack administrative staff to assist me in Washington and with my re-election campaign.  Additionally, as a Baa Ram U. faculty member, I would have access to some of the finest minds working on environmental issues in the country.

Finally, I would bring some intangible advantages to the Senate and to the Colorado Democratic Party.  I am physically fit and a hiking enthusiast, as are all of my very photogenic family members, so my campaign website and brochures would offer plenty of the pictures that are de rigeur for Colorado politicians:  me and my family embracing each other on top of various peaks in scenic vistas.  While I am not a native Coloradoan–which I realize may be a vulnerability–I would submit that the non-native Coloradoans who have found employment and made happy lives for themselves here deserve quality representation in the U.S. Senate too.

As a faculty member at a state university, I have already demonstrated that I work hard for the people of Colorado.  I would be honored to serve them in the U.S. Senate.

Yours Very Sincerely,



25 Responses to “Historiann for the U.S. Senate!”

  1. ortho stice on 16 Dec 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    Historiann, you have my support — anyone who supports Kirsten has my support.

    Perhaps we can circulate a petition at the upcoming AHA that supports appointing you as the next Senator from the great state of Colorado.

  2. GayProf on 16 Dec 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    HistoriAnn for Senate! And, maybe later, Supreme Empress.

  3. historymaven on 16 Dec 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    Superb. Absolutely superb. The use of Sally: a stroke of genius. Rats! “Genius” just may disqualify you.

  4. Indyanna on 16 Dec 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    The Education Senator! It has a ring. You could introduce the “No Outcomes (sic) Assessment And Other Teach-to-the-Tool Instruments Act of 2009.” But how would you keep up with the blog, plus, that monograph needs to keep moving forward… There could be a great reception at the newly-renamed National Historiann Center just off of the Hill!

  5. Susan on 16 Dec 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    If I lived in Colorado, I would vote for you. And if you were in the Senate, I’d think it a good thing. I’d even contribute to your next campaign :)

  6. Erica on 16 Dec 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    I’d vote for you. (If I lived in Colorado.) (And if this was an election instead of an appointment.) But only on the condition that you make me some sort of sustainability adviser!

  7. Notorious Ph.D. on 16 Dec 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    Well, you’ve got my vote. But you’ve left out the important bit: what you’re offering the governor as a quid pro quo (other than the ability to translate “quid pro quo”). Remember: the senate seat is f**king gold, and he’s not going to let it go for f**king nothing. I’d open the bidding high, and scare off the competition from the get-go.

  8. grant on 16 Dec 2008 at 3:14 pm #


  9. Sisyphus on 16 Dec 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    You can gun for Senator all you want — I’m still holding out for prez of the UC system.

  10. Historiann on 16 Dec 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    Thanks to all of you for your outpouring of support for my Senate bid. But–and forgive me for asking–are ANY one of you voters in Colorado? Because actual voters are f**king gold, and I’m not going to get re-elected without f**king votes, dig?

    historymaven–thanks for getting the Sally Brown letter to S. Claus reference. (I don’t actually look like Sally Brown, although my hair was once blonde and frizzed up like that in high school in the 1980s.)

    Erica, of course you’d be my sustainability adviser. And, Indyanna: my tenure as Senator from the Centennial State will mean only ponies and sugar candy for all teachers and professors. Assessment and its promulgators (who are themselves mysteriously never subject to “assessment”) will be sent to Guantanamo Bay, at least until President Obama closes Gitmo, and then they’ll be sent to the Supermax prison in Florence, CO.

  11. Indyanna on 16 Dec 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    That’s a tough-love (TM) program for the techno-pop pedagogy set that I could really support. Soon as school’s out, therefore, I’m moving to Breckenridge through the next election cycle, to organize what is it, Park County, Summit?,… whatever. I can’t help with the interim appointment question, but I think the big guy will see the merits. Meanwhile, assessments or no assessments, I’m in grading hell tonight. They have to be in electronically in thirteen hours, otherwise you have to walk them up the Allegheny Plateau, handwritten and in carbon paper triplicate, with apologies to the Provost!

  12. mary on 16 Dec 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    You have the vote of this Coloradoan, so long as you pass a law outlawing undergraduate abuse of GTAs. Well, you have my vote even if you don’t do that.

  13. Bing McGhandi on 16 Dec 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    OK, first we’re going to need to get you a massive wardrobe and critique your cleavage. That’s how it works, right?

    Ducking the incoming shoe,


  14. blue epiphany on 17 Dec 2008 at 6:13 am #

    Thank you – this post and the comments made me laugh out loud. Partly because I’m a potty mouth, and unexpected profanity cracks me up.

  15. nicolec on 17 Dec 2008 at 6:27 am #

    Well Historiann, I’ve got a Colorado vote and if you’ve got enough money to buy it…oh wait, you’re a professor- you don’t have enough money to bribe anyone ha,ha,ha. All kidding aside, I’d love, love, love to see how the folks in Washington would deal with your complete honesty- ah, if only.

  16. Greenconsciousness on 17 Dec 2008 at 10:14 am #

    Hey — Allegre is asking everyone to sign the petition to tell the Gov of New York not to appoint Carolyn Kennedy to Hillary’s senate seat. To our shame there are only 500 signatures on it right now. This is pathetic. Publicize the petition on your blogs. Everyone being too scared of the Kennedys is a bad sign. All that shows is your name so get courage.

  17. Historiann on 17 Dec 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks for letting us know, Greenconsciousness. I don’t know if I should sign the petition, now that I’ve launched my own stealth campaign to win a special appointment to the U.S. Senate myself, I don’t think I should take a stand for or against anyone re: the Clinton replacement. I’ve got to think about collegiality in the future, and I’m sure that whomever fills Clinton’s seat, she and I will need to work together. (And you may know too that the women senators all have pleged never to campaign against one another.)

  18. Fratguy on 17 Dec 2008 at 11:58 am #

    I see you did not need to redact what should have been the ending of the letter “…perhaps it would be easier on you and your staff if I just made the campaign contribution in cash, how about 10s and 20s?”

  19. Historiann on 17 Dec 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    Fratguy, when Patrick Fitzgerald shows up with his goons, I guess we can just say, “Mr. Prosecutor, I think you’l be needing two pairs of handcuffs.”

  20. Christmas cookie exchange and senate appointment update : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 24 Dec 2008 at 11:57 am #

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  24. Who ever would have predicted? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 13 Dec 2009 at 12:01 pm #

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