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Klauder: Buckingham Library

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         Ray Kogovsek Papers

Raymond P. Kogovsek, born in Pueblo, Colorado, August 19, 1941, was educated at the University of Southern Colorado, Adams State College and the University of Denver.  He began working in the Pueblo County Clerk's Office in 1964.  In 1968 he was elected to the Colorado General Assembly, House of Representatives and then to the Colorado State Senate in 1970, where he served as Senate Minority Leader from 1973 to 1978.


Ray Kogovsek moved into national politics with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, representing Colorado's Third District.  The Third District, at 54,000 square miles, was the ninth largest Congressional District in the United States and was larger than twenty states.  Containing more than one-half of Colorado, the district covers thirty-one culturally and geographically multi-faceted counties. The district ran from the western edges of the High Plains in Pueblo and Las Animas counties to Utah.  As the Third District moved west across Colorado it passes through some of the State's poorest counties and some of the most sparsely populated mountain counties before reaching Durango and the Four Corners Area.  From Southwestern Colorado, the Third District then proceeded north all the way to Wyoming, encompassing Grand Junction, the oil shale country and Northwestern Colorado.


In the U.S. House of Representatives, Ray Kogovsek was elected Rocky Mountain Zone Whip in 1980 and the secretary-treasurer of the 96th Members Caucus in 1980.  He was a member of the Education and Labor Committee, Subcommittees on Postsecondary Education and Employment Opportunity and the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Subcommittees on Water and Power Resources, Public Lands and National  Parks, Mining, Forestry Management and Bonneville Power Authority.


His legislative career in the U.S. House dealt with wide-spread issues mirrored by the diversity of the interests he represented. RARE II, the federal mandate that all Forest Service and Bureau of  Land Management administered lands be evaluated to determine their  potential future uses or designation as Wilderness, came forth during Kogovsek's term in the U.S. House. Representing counties containing large amounts of federal land, like Hinsdale County which is 96% federal land, the re-designation of land from conservation use to preservation as Wilderness, and its removal from traditional uses was of great importance. Feeling that unlimited discussion about land designation would not relieve the public tension of preservation versus economic productivity, Rep. Kogovsek in concert with Rep. Jim Johnson of Colorado took the bull by the horns and introduced legislation in September, 1979, to designate Wilderness Areas in Colorado.  Senators Hart and Armstrong then introduced legislation and Colorado's officials compromised on the Colorado National Forest Wilderness Act of 1980.  A thorny problem to solve, which remains not finally solved, Ray Kogovsek made a follow-up legislative effort which became the Colorado National Forest Wilderness Act of 1984.


Congressman Kogovsek's terms in office paralleled a number of important events in Colorado.  He worked with the never ending water issue in Colorado and at the national level, reforming the Reclamation Act of 1902.  His term spanned the late 1970s boom and bust of oil shale and its crushing economic effect on Northwestern Colorado.  Like the Wilderness Issue, he dealt with Strategic Minerals Legislation and Federal Coal Leasing.  The number of issues is wide ranging. Ray Kogovsek served Colorado's Third District for three terms, 1978-1984.  In the Spring of 1984 he announced that he would not seek re-election.


During his terms in office Rep. Kogovsek was assisted by his staff in Colorado and Washington, D.C.  His papers have been organized to preserve the files of his staff.  This manner of organization is not without glaring weaknesses, however, for the files of different staff members regularly and repeatedly overlapped.  The Kogovsek Papers included biographical sketches, voting record, and his third district legislative profile; the Public Relations and Washington Office files of Vera Lou Durigon and Christine A. Mulick; Computer Letters And Correspondence; Interior Issues - Mike Lopez, Legislative Assistant; Education And Labor Issues - Patrick Brown, Staff Assistant; Grants And Issues - Leslie Walker Gabrilska, Staff Assistant; Legislation And Issues - Allison Cortner/Chip Coppola, Staff Assistants; Legislation And Issues - Paul N. Brown, Administrative Assistant; U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Conferences 1979-84; Colorado District Offices; Maps, General Publications; Scrapbooks, Photographs And Memorabilia.