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Rep. Hugh McKean's longtime partner sworn in to fill his House seat for remainder of term

Amy Parks sworn in
Posted at 8:35 PM, Nov 28, 2022

DENVER — Rep. Hugh McKean’s longtime partner, Amy Parks, was sworn in on Monday to fill the remainder of his term this year.

McKean, R-Loveland, passed away unexpectedly on October 30 from a heart attack.

“The only reason I did this is because I lost my best friend, and he wasn't able to finish out his term. So, I came here to be sworn in and came to finish his work,” Parks said.

The couple had met while working on political campaigns. She had even worked on his campaigns throughout the years.

Parks described the moment as bittersweet, saying she sees this as a way to honor McKean, make sure his constituents are taken care of and honor his legacy.

She will serve for 43 days before the new legislature is sworn. There will not be any votes for Parks to cast or any committee seats for her to fill over the next month, so the vacancy selection is mostly symbolic.

“I absolutely feel a responsibility to fulfill that and make sure these people are represented, even if it's a short time,” she said.

During this time, Parks said she is taking the opportunity to advocate for people to get early health screenings, hoping to prevent more unexpected deaths like McKean’s.

In the days before his death, McKean did check himself into the emergency room after experiencing a pain in his back. He was screened and released. While Parks said she trusts health care professionals, she said there is no harm in asking more questions if someone is concerned about their health.

“He went in and he got checked. And unfortunately for him, it was something that was missed,” Parks said. “Just be the advocate for yourself. If you still don't feel like something's right, you know, dig deeper, ask for more tests.”

Since then, someone else Parks went to get it checked after experiencing back pain, and a blockage was found. She hopes spending this time focusing on a message of preventative care will save even more lives.

Because McKean ran unopposed for his House seat in District 51, a vacancy committee determined who should fill McKean’s role for the 74th general assembly. Ron Weinberg was elected to represent the district for the next two years.

When the legislature does reconvene, Parks said she’d like to see focus put on lowering health care costs, something that was dear to McKean’s heart.

“I know a lot of times cost is a hurdle for people, and maybe that's an area we can continue working or we need to continue working,” she said.

As for the lawmakers themselves, she hopes whether they are Republicans or Democrats, they will foster some of McKean’s legacy this upcoming session and try to build relationships with one another to move beyond partisan politics for the benefit of the state.

“Build relationships, get to know people for who they are, not for what their policies say they are. Know their families,” Parks said. “There's so much to learn from the way he lived and the way he cared for people. There's so much we can all take from that.”