Sep 062005
Authors: Sara Crocker

Want to meet Angie Paccione?

Angie meets with the community once a month for breakfast from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Sept. 3 she will be in Loveland on the Jane Jefferson's Women's Group or you can meet her at McCoy's Morning Glory Restaurant, 1003 W. Horsetooth Dr., the first Saturday of each month.

Even though the Colorado legislature is in recess, the last thing on state Rep. Angie Paccione's mind is taking a break.

Paccione, D-Fort Collins, who has served as Dist. 53 representative in the Colorado House since 2002, is not one to slow down. She teaches a graduate-level education class about diversity and has been involved with CSU's School of Education for 10 years.

But Paccione may be embarking on bigger challenges, like running for Dist. 4 U.S. House seat, which is currently occupied by Republican Marilyn Musgrave .

"I believe she's out of touch," Paccione said. "We need better."

She said she is still on the fence about whether or not she ultimately will run against Musgrave.

"It would be easy to say 'Yeah, I'm going to run' without doing the homework," Paccione said.

She said that she does not want to jeopardize the relationship she has with the people of the city, adding that she plans to make a final decision in the next few weeks.

Even if she decides not to run, Paccione said she believes there is a change coming in Colorado, especially after last November's elections returned and gained many seats for Democrats.

And while Paccione notes the change, she said it is not based on party lines but on ideals of the community.

"I'm not so sure the change was a mandate for Democrats as it was a mandate for change," Paccione said of Democrats taking control of the state legislature in the last elections. "It's historic and truly remarkable. We want the quality of life to be preserved, protected and improved."

But before lofty dreams of politics, Paccione was a girl from New York who, by playing basketball, traveled the world and made her way through college at Stanford.

After leaving the sports world, Paccione pursued education and coaching, becoming the first female coach of a men's 5A basketball team in Colorado. Paccione insists that her basketball skills have also helped her off the court, in the political arena.

"I love that notion of testing mettle against mettle," Paccione said.

She compared sports and politics and said that she found in each you need a goal and a good strategy. But in politics, the victory is a little different.

"It's not about fame, it's really about doing the right thing," Paccione said. "I've tried to focus on what's right, not who's right."

And speaking of victories, Paccione's got high hopes for the Rams this season.

"I'll take any team that's coached by Sonny Lubick," she said.

Paccione's optimism for CSU this fall extends beyond the sports arena. She said she is pleased with how the school year has kicked off and glad that the riots of last fall did not become a tradition.

"Hopefully there won't be any tragedies and hopefully people will be responsible," the representative said.

And it seems much of her optimism is contagious.

"She's very vivacious," said Courtney Healey, president of Associated Students of CSU and senior political science major.

Healey said she has worked with Paccione in the past through ASCSU and has found Paccione, like other delegates, to be open and accessible to students.

"She strikes me as a very passionate individual who cares about the students and the community," Healey said.

Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, speaker of the house and Dist. 6 representative, echoed Healey in admiration of Paccione's work ethic.

"I think she's a rock star," Romanoff said. "If the legislature was filled with more people like Angie Paccione, we'd get a lot more work done."

At 45, Paccione said she looks forward to serving people and maintaining her jump shot into her 50th birthday.

And now that Bill Bradley, D-New Jersey, has left the U.S. Senate, there needs to be another basketball player in Congress, said Bill Timpson, a professor in the School of Education.

"Her energy is infectious," Timpson said. "It's like she was born to teach and born to run."

While on campus she is greeted by students and staff, her voice carries over the buzz of the Lory Student Center. Paccione said what she loves most about teaching and working with young people is to see them grow and join her as teachers and coaches.

She said: "That's my legacy."

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