DENVER – A vacancy committee on Thursday appointed state Rep. Chris Hansen to serve as the District 31 senator, replacing Lois Court, the Denver Democrat who resigned this week after she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Hansen, also a Denver Democrat who was in his second term in the House, had already declared to run for the seat in November after Court said she would not seek re-election. Hansen had been the House District 6 representative – the same district which Court previously represented before she was elected to the Senate in 2016.
Court was hospitalized Dec. 31 with muscle weakness and partial paralysis and was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder afterward. The National Institutes of Health said about 70% of people fully recover from Guillain-Barré syndrome.
About three-quarters of the votes cast by the vacancy committee Thursday went toward Hansen, our news partners at The Denver Post reported.
A vacancy committee is expected to meet in February to fill Hansen’s House seat, and House Democrats are expected to fill Hansen’s seat on the Joint Budget Committee next week.
“Lois Court will be deeply missed in the Colorado Senate. Lois’s fearless devotion to her beliefs and her active participation in our democracy has served as a shining example for all Colorado lawmakers, and Chris Hansen will have big shoes to fill as the new state Senator for District 31,” Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll said in a statement. “I wish Lois nothing but the best as she works through her recovery, and I suspect that she will continue to be a strong advocate for her community and for Coloradans everywhere.”
Senate Democrats picked Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, to fill Court’s role as Senate president pro tempore on Friday morning.
A vacancy committee will also have to fill the seat of Rep. Susan Beckman, R-Littleton, who resigned Friday morning to take a job with the Trump administration.
About one-fifth of the current lawmakers at the state Capitol have been appointed through vacancy committees.