Roy Romer Is
Alive and Well and Living in California
by Helen Williams
from the book:
Deputy Campaign Manager, 1994 Gubernatorial Race
This is one of those stories I will never forget – it just shows how good and
genuine the Governor was. Alan Salazar was campaign manager, Mike Stratton was
the general consultant, and we had the opportunity to observe the nearest thing
to political perfection we’d ever seen.
In the 1994 campaign I staffed Romer and, after a rally at the University of
Colorado, walked the governor to the car so he could avoid being harassed by
people afterwards. I dutifully escorted him out of the University Memorial
Center and was promptly shadowed by a person. As Romer took a cell call before
getting into his car, the person stepped forward to ask a question, at which
time I tried to intervene, saying, "May I help you? The governor has to get to
his next appointment.”
Romer, without my knowing it, ended his call, stepped away from the car, and
warmly greeted the person. The constituent asked if Romer had time for a
question and Romer said he did. The person then drew out a driver's license and
said, "Governor, do you see the little box in the corner of the driver's license
that indicates ‘female’ or ‘male’?”
Romer said, "Yes."
The person (of indeterminate gender) then said, "Well, Governor, what box do you
check if you are not sure whether you are male or female?"
Romer, the innocent boy from Holly now grown into a 60-plus year old man serving
as governor, furrowed his brow. I was wondering how in the hell this seasoned
politician was going to answer a question he'd never conceivably been briefed
on. Romer thought for a minute and said, "Listen, friend, one of the things my
administration has done is to make it easier for people to get driver's licenses
at shopping malls and other places close to where they live, you know?" The
person nodded. "And you can go to these kiosks we've set up in malls and the
driver's licenses can be turned around in only a few hours, you know?" The
person nodded. "You can make address changes and update your driver's license
whenever you need to." The person nodded. "Well," Romer went on, "Here's what
you do...you just check whatever box you feel like at the time, and if that
changes, just head on back to the kiosk.."
Satisfied that he'd handled a difficult question with a practical solution,
Romer smiled, shook the person’s hand and got in his car.