Mike Kopp

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Mike Kopp
Member of the Colorado Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
January 4, 2007 – October 21, 2011
Preceded by Kiki Traylor
Succeeded by Tim Neville
Personal details
Born 1968 (age 48–49)
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shannon Kopp
Alma mater North Central University
University of Colorado, Boulder
Religion Protestantism

Mike Kopp (born c. 1969[1]) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who served as a member of the Colorado Senate, representing Senate District 22, which encompasses southern Jefferson County. He served from 2007 and as Senate Minority Leader from 2009 until his resignation in October 2011 after his wife died from cancer.[2] He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Colorado in 2014.


Born in South Dakota[3] (his father was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2008[4]), Kopp enlisted in the United States Army after graduating from high school. A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, Kopp trained to become a member of the United States Army Rangers,[5] graduating from Ranger School in 1990. Kopp also completed the Army Basic Leadership Course that same year.[6] While in the Army, Kopp was deployed to Honduras in support of Operation Just Cause,[5] as well as in the Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm.[7] He was honorably discharged in 1991 at the rank of Sergeant, having also received two Army Commendation Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Achievement Medal.[5]

While pursuing higher education, Kopp worked with fire-fighting crews for the National Park Service.[5] He graduated in 1995[6] with a bachelor's degree in ministry from North Central University in Minneapolis.[3] He also worked for two years as a clerk in the United States Border Patrol's Detention and Deportation Division.[5]

Following graduation, Kopp worked in the non-profit and ministry fields in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Prior to running for the Colorado senate, Kopp earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is Manager of Corporate Affairs for Intermountain Rural Electric Association. Kopp and his wife, Shannon, live in Golden, CO with their children: Meghan, Ethan, Allie and Soren.

Mike Kopp is currently the President and CEO of Colorado Concern, an alliance of top business executives with a mission of enhancing the Centennial State's business climate.

Legislative career[edit]

2006 election[edit]

In 2006, Kopp sought election to the state senate seat formerly held by term-limited Sen. Norma Anderson. Anderson had retired from her senate seat a year early, and Kiki Traylor had been appointed to the seat.[8] Kopp had sought the vacancy appointment, protesting that the vacancy committee met with insufficient notice and was composed of only five committee members.[9] Kopp faced Traylor and Justin Everett in a three-way Republican contest,[8] and won 52 percent of the vote at the Republican party assembly to qualify for the primary; Traylor and Everett petitioned onto the primary ballot.[9]

Kopp ran as a more conservative candidate than Traylor, criticizing her positions on spending and immigration.[10] During the race, a supporter of the Kopp campaign filed, and later withdrew, a campaign finance complaint against Traylor[11] regarding a donation from a teachers' union that Traylor refused to accept.[12] Kopp received endorsements from former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong and former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.[13] Kopp achieved a narrow victory, taking 45 percent of the vote over Traylor's 44 percent, with and Everett receiving 8 percent.[14] Citing tactics used by Kopp and his supporters, Traylor refused to endorse fellow Republican Kopp in the general election, even after a request from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.[15]

Despite the district's strong Republican registration advantage,[2] Kopp's right-leaning views and division among Republicans made the seat an attractive target for Colorado Democrats;[16] he faced Democrat Paul Noonan, a business consultant, in the general election.[17] Kopp won the senate seat with 53 percent of the popular vote.[2]

Incumbent Sen. Traylor resigned slightly before the end of her term, in late December 2006. Kopp was appointed by a Republican Party vacancy committee to fill the remainder of Traylor's term, and was sworn in as a state senator on January 4, 2007, a few days ahead of when he would have otherwise taken office.[18]

2007 legislative session[edit]

In the 2007 session of the General Assembly, Kopp served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Education Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee.[19]

During the session, Kopp, the only Gulf War veteran in the Colorado legislature,[20] introduced legislation to create a memorial for Colorado soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan near the state capitol.[21] Kopp also lead opposition to a Democratic resolution opposing the 2007 Iraq troop surge, introducing a competing resolution[22] and leading a rally in support of the surge in Iraq at the state capitol.[23]

Following the 2007 session, Kopp served on a school reform task force convened by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter,[24] and on the interim legislative Health Care Task Force.[25]

In November 2007, Senate Republicans elected Kopp minority caucus chair, following the resignation of Sen. Ron May[26]

2008 legislative session[edit]

In the 2008 session of the General Assembly, Kopp serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Education Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee.[27]

During the 2008 session, Kopp plans to sponsor bills to create a sales tax holiday for school supplies,[28] to require students to pass standardized tests as a requirement for graduating from high school,[29] to provide income tax credits for volunteer firefighters,[30] and to create wildfire training programs for fire district boards.[31] He was also the Senate sponsor of a measure to create an interim committee to study wildfire risks in the wildland-urban interface, calling it the "most pressing public-safety issue before the state."[32][33]

After the 2008 session, Kopp proposed an "omnibus bill" with incentives for volunteer fire departments to retain personnel,[34] and legislation to set "bookends" on the starting and ending dates for school years.[35] Responding to a deal between labor and business leaders to remove several statewide referenda from the 2008 general election ballot, Kopp and Rep. Amy Stephens announced plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit financial deals for the removal of initiatives from Colorado election ballots.[36][37]

2009 legislative session[edit]

For the 2009 legislative session, Kopp sponsored legislation to repeal the state tax on insurance premiums paid by employers to cover on-the-job injuries,[38] legislation to require a special election to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate,[39][40][41] and legislation to require that the state of Colorado purchase vehicles fueled by natural gas to save money.[42] On January 25, 2010, the Senator was awarded the 2009 Legislator of the Year award from the Colorado Youth Corps Association because of his work on forest health and job creation issues.[43]

2010 Legislative Session[edit]

For the 2010 legislative session, Senator Kopp sponsored the "Blue Print for a Leaner Government Act." This bill was designed to make the Colorado government more efficient through the use of two task forces. These bipartisan task forces were intended to investigate the executive branch department and agencies as well as the current regulatory system. After a period of analysis, the task forces would then present their findings, recommendations, and estimated cost savings in an attempt to provide a leaner and more effective government [44]


  1. ^ Francis, Jeff (28 September 2006). "Senate District 22". MileHighNews.com. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "State Senate District 22". COMaps. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Senator Mike Kopp". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ Bartels, Lynn (6 November 2008). "The Stump". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Meet Mike Kopp". Senator Mike Kopp, Senate District 22. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Mike Kopp - Colorado - State House District 22 candidate". RockyMountainNews.com. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  7. ^ "Senate embraces Kopp's bill to memorialize fallen Coloradans" (Press release). Colorado Senate News. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  8. ^ a b Frates, Chris; Mark P. Couch (30 July 2006). "Vote 2006". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  9. ^ a b Staff Reports (5 April 2006). "Blake: A 'promise' that wasn't". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  10. ^ Bartels, Lynn (10 August 2006). "Right wing flies high". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  11. ^ Frates, Chris (24 July 2006). "Finance complaint heats Jeffco GOP primary". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  12. ^ Washington, April M. (21 July 2006). "Traylor catches flak for check". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  13. ^ Staff Reports (10 August 2006). "GOP Sen. Traylor defeated; Tochtrop beats back Vigil". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  14. ^ Election Results - Summary Report
  15. ^ Bartels, Lynn (25 October 2006). "Outgoing GOP senator won't back primary foe". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-02-06. [dead link]
  16. ^ Ewegen, Bob (6 October 2006). "Democrats yearn for another hat trick". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  17. ^ Brown, Jennifer (8 November 2006). "State House: Capitol leans more in Dems' direction". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  18. ^ S:\PUBLIC\SEN\2007A\Jour\jour.001
  19. ^ "Senate Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  20. ^ Staff Reports (1 May 2007). "Roll Call, May 1". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-02-06. [dead link]
  21. ^ Staff Reports (20 April 2007). "Under the dome". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  22. ^ Clausing, Jeri (9 March 2007). "GOP ready to fight over resolution on Iraq". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  23. ^ Clausing, Jeri (15 March 2007). "War of words grips statehouse". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  24. ^ Paulson, Steven K. (5 December 2007). "Statewide school tests still getting mixed grades a decade later". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  25. ^ "Health Care Task Force". Colorado Legislative Council. Retrieved 2008-04-27. [dead link]
  26. ^ Associated Press (21 November 2007). "Littleton senator elected to head GOP state Senate Caucus". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  27. ^ "Senate Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  28. ^ Washington, April M. (28 September 2007). "Tax holiday". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  29. ^ Gonzalez, Erika (17 October 2006). "GOP offers get-tough education plan". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  30. ^ Sacccone, Mike (26 January 2008). "Two lawmakers push tax credit bill to help volunteer firefighters". Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-02-06. [dead link]
  31. ^ Hanel, Joe (20 January 2008). "Bills pursue tax breaks for fire mitigation". Durango Herald. Retrieved 2008-02-06. [dead link]
  32. ^ Ingold, John (17 April 2008). "Panel would assess wildfire risks". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  33. ^ Gathright, Alan (16 April 2008). "Alarm sounded: Prepare for long, dangerous summer". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  34. ^ Saccone, Mike (6 August 2008). "Lawmakers plan debate on statewide fire guidelines to combat wildfire threat". Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-08-09. [dead link]
  35. ^ Schrader, Ann (15 September 2008). "Longer summer sought in Jeffco". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  36. ^ Marcus, Peter (6 October 2008). "Union deal angers GOP". Denver Daily News. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  37. ^ Mook, Bob (14 November 2008). "Gov.'s relationship with business strained by oil and gas ranco". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  38. ^ "Kopp to tackle 'obsolete' tax on Colorado businesses" (Press release). Colorado Senate News. 31 December 2008. 
  39. ^ Bartels, Lynn (21 January 2009). "Lawmaker says citizens should choose Senator in case of vacancies". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  40. ^ Bartels, Lynn (21 January 2009). "Bill would let voters decide on vacant Senate seats". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  41. ^ Copp, Mike (1 February 2009). "KOPP: People should have voice in selection of senators". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  42. ^ Saccone, Mike (25 January 2009). "Vehicles fueled by natural gas proposed". Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-03-12. [dead link]
  43. ^ Colorado Youth Corps Association, "Annual Youth Cops Awards Ceremony", 2010.
  44. ^ Kopp, M. "Shinking Government Will Expand Economy", Columbine Courier, 2010. http://www.lcni5.com/cgi-bin/c2.cgi?038+article+Opinion+20100120132202038038002

External links[edit]