Ron Hanks

Ron Hanks

There are 15 new lawmakers in the House; seven Republicans and eight Democrats. 

Everyone showed up on Wednesday morning, bright and eager to begin the 2021 session, scheduled for three days and then to recess until mid-February, with the hope that the pandemic has a chance to cool. 

But one brand-new lawmaker stayed just long enough to be sworn in, cast a vote for leadership and then vanish. That led to three days of "Where's Rep. Ron Hanks?"

The Penrose Republican missed every vote on all seven bills that went through the General Assembly in the first week, including being gone when some of those bills went through a committee he's assigned to: House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs. 

At first, it wasn't quite clear just where the first-term lawmaker was. One source said he was sick, another said he had a previous commitment and a third said, "I don't know."

It's beyond unusual for a first-term lawmaker to miss so many days early on, and Hanks has not returned phone calls or emails from the press about his whereabouts.

However, as it turns out, there's a good explanation. According to several sources, including Rick Castor, chair of the Fremont County GOP, Hanks has laryngitis. While he notified Minority Whip Rep. Rod Pelton, R-Cheyenne Wells, that he wasn't well on Wednesday, he didn't know he was supposed to check in each day to let people know he wasn't coming and to be excused, an easy slip-up for a first-term legislator to make . 

Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, is glad that Hanks is taking care of himself. If people have learned anything from COVID, it's that you don't come to work sick, McKean told Colorado Politics, and he confirmed that he knew Hanks was under the weather.

Michael Karlik contributed to this article.

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