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Politics and Government

Lois Court, Democratic state senator, to resign because of rare autoimmune disorder

Lois Court has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder

State Sen, Lois Court, D-Denver, talks to reporters about the introduction of the red flag gun bill on Feb. 14, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Lois Court, a Democratic state senator from Denver who has spent more than a decade at the Colorado Capitol working on issues like tax reform, says she will resign on Jan. 16.

Court, who was not planning to seek reelection this year when her current four-year term ends, cited health issues as her reason. A statement released by majority Senate Democrats said Court has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve the people of Colorado and I am deeply saddened that this chapter of my life is at a close,” Court said in a written statement on Monday announcing her resignation. “But I am excited by the work my colleagues are undertaking and will continue to cheer them on and be an active citizen of Senate District 31.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GBS symptoms include muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. In the most serious cases, muscle weakness can affect breathing.

Most people recover fully, but some have permanent nerve damage, according to the CDC.

Court was hospitalized Dec. 31 after experiencing muscle weakness and partial paralysis, Monday’s statement from the Senate Democratic caucus said.

Court represents parts of Denver and Arapahoe counties. She was elected to the state House in 2008 and to the Senate in 2016. She has advocated for gun control and changes in state fiscal policy and was a leading proponent of the Colorado End of Life Options Act.

“No one has a clearer compass on the issues she cares about,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement wishing Court a speedy recovery.

State Sen. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat, speaks to reporters as Colorado lawmakers unveil their proposal to eliminate the state’s TABOR cap on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Court also worked on issues like gun control and traffic safety during her statehouse tenure.

A Democratic party vacancy committee will choose a replacement for Court.

State Rep. Chris Hansen, a Denver Democrat who was already running in 2020 to replace Court, says he will seek the vacancy appointment.

Whomever is picked for the job will be the 21st lawmaker in the current 100-member Colorado legislature to have entered a post at the Capitol through the vacancy committee process rather than a vote in the primary or general election. 

At least three state lawmakers will have been appointed to a statehouse seat by a vacancy committee in the past year along. Democratic Rep. Mary Young was selected to replace former Rep. Rochelle Galindo over the summer and Republican Richard Holtorf was recently picked to fill the seat of former Rep. Kimmi Lewis.

Galindo resigned. Lewis, who had cancer, died in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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