Richard D. Lamm, who as a Colorado state legislator led fights to pass the nation’s first abortion rights law in the years before Roe v. Wade and to block the 1976 Winter Olympics from being held in his state, and who went on to serve three terms as Colorado’s governor, died on Thursday July 29 2021 in Denver. He was 85.
RICHARD D. LAMM was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1957 and a law degree from the University of California in 1961.
He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and later worked as an accountant and tax clerk with the California Franchise Tax Board. Lamm become a certified public accountant, an attorney with the Colorado Antidiscrimination Commission, and an attorney in private practice.
From 1969 to 1974, Lamm was associate professor of law at the University of Denver. He was a member of the Colorado House of Representaives from 1966 to 1974 and served as assistant minority leader from 1971 to 1974. As a freshman legislator, he drafted and succeeded in passing the nation's first liberalized abortion law. He was an early leader of the environmental movement.
Reacting to the high cost of campaigning, he walked the state in his campaign for governor, and he was elected in 1974, and reelected in 1979 and 1983. He is the longest-serving governor in Colorado's history.
While Governor, he authored or co-authored five books. Governor Lamm chaired the Western Governors' Association. He also campaigned against Denver’s hosting the 1976 Olympics even though the city had been awarded the Games.
In 1992, he lost to Ben Nighthorse Campbell in a Democratic primary race for a seat in the Senate, which Mr. Campbell won in the general election. In 1996, he sought the presidential nomination of the Reform Party but lost to the Texas tycoon Ross Perot.
After leaving politics, Mr. Lamm was executive director of the University of Denver’s Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues.
He married Dottie Vennard in 1963. She was a columnist for The Denver Post. In addition to his wife, Mr. Lamm is survived by their two children, Scott and Heather Lamm; two brothers, Tom and Terry; and four grandchildren. He lived in Denver, where he spent his entire adult life, and died in a hospital there.more » « less