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Lawyer/Lawmaker Kicks up Controversy

Monday was Douglas Bruce's first day on the job as a state representative in Colorado. As the former lawyer stood with his new colleagues on the House floor for morning prayer, clasping a family Bible in his hand, a Rocky Mountain News photographer snapped this photo. "Don't do that again," Bruce snapped back, as he delivered a sharp kick to the photographer's bent knee, knocking the photographer off balance and tipping one of his cameras. Later, Bruce refused to apologize, saying the kick was more of a "nudge or a tap or a prod" and that he was "just trying to get him to stop disrupting the procedures, period."

Notoriety is nothing new to Bruce, an anti-tax crusader who was chosen last month by El Paso County Republicans to fill an unexpired term. Even before showing up at the Statehouse, he had come under fire for delaying his oath of office until Monday in order to take advantage of a term-limits timing loophole that would allow him to serve eight years instead of six. Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple said the photographer had every right to take the picture and called Bruce's action "outrageous." Even Bruce's fellow Republicans declined to defend him and joined in forming a special legislative committee to investigate the incident.

On Bruce's Web site, he says that he is a graduate of the University of Southern California law school who became a deputy district attorney at age 23. Later, his site says, "Bruce stopped practicing law because the law and the courts need major reforms from the outside." Before becoming a legislator, Bruce had been an El Paso county commissioner, where his hometown newspaper reports he had regular run-ins with fellow Republicans and county officials -- to the extent that the county attorney once called him a "sociopath."

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 16, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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