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June 29, 2017
I finally made it home to Denver after studying at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government for three weeks as part of a program for Senior Executives in state and local government. I am forever grateful to the Gates Family Foundation for giving me this opportunity because I never would have imagined when growing up in the neighborhoods of Northglenn and Arvada that I would have the honor to study there.
The course was much more than I expected it to be. It left me feeling more inspired and motivated than ever to fight for Coloradans and our quality of life.
The past legislative session concluded in a whirlwind of work and major accomplishments. It is being called the most productive legislative session in recent years and I am so proud that we were able to work together to bring results for the people of Colorado. But we still have much more to do.
We are at a crossroads in our country and we need leadership that is not beholden to special interests in politics. The most important title in democracy is not the President, U.S. Senator, nor the Speaker of the House. The most important title is WE THE PEOPLE.
It is so important for politicians to have the courage to lead and take on the tough issues, and be willing to put our people before their own self-interest. It saddens and even angers me to see what is happening in Washington, D.C. right now, especially when it comes to access to health care.
When I held a health care town hall in Denver a couple of months back, I heard from constituents who were worried about their coverage being taken away. These are people struggling with lifelong diagnoses or folks who know that without it they could be just one accident away from financial ruin. The American people deserve better than the health care bill that will be voted on by the U.S. Senate. If you haven't already done so, please call your U.S. Senators today and ask them to vote no on this terrible piece of legislation.
Beyond protecting health care, we have a lot more to do to preserve Colorado's quality of life. As a 6th generation Coloradan, I've seen how much our state has changed due to growth. I can't blame people for wanting to come to Colorado to work here and raise a family - in my opinion, it is the best place in the world to be. While growth has led to many benefits, such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need our leaders to act without fear to take on the challenges that come with this growth. Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, finding work-life balance for more Colorado families, or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must do more to address these issues.
I only have about a year and a half left to serve as the Speaker of the House, and it has been the honor of my life, to be the first Latina and the youngest woman in the history of our state to be in this position. That's why I feel it is more important than ever for me and my colleagues to hear from you about what your hopes and dreams are for our state and our country. We need to know what concerns you, what keeps you awake at night, and how we can work together to move our state in the right direction.
Please reply to me at this email or find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or if there are meetings or events in your community that you would like me to attend, don't hesitate to ask! I look forward to hearing from you soon.
May 18, 2017
The 2017 legislative just concluded in a whirlwind of work and major accomplishments. This is being called the most productive legislative session in recent years and I am so proud that we were able to work together to bring results for the people of Colorado.
We passed a budget that avoided the catastrophe that was predicted this year, and honored our pledge to take no Coloradan for granted and leave no Coloradan behind. I applaud our House Joint Budget Committee members Rep. Millie Hamner and Rep. Dave Young for stretching our budget dollars as far as they could go.
We passed the long-debated hospital provider fee fix – an accounting change which will prevent several rural hospitals from closing and will save programs and services at hospitals all around the state. We’ve been trying to fix the glitch in the hospital provider fee for three years, and finally we have succeeded. With the money freed up under the revenue cap established by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), we’re adding $1.8 billion in much-needed funds for our crumbling transportation system, we’re increasing our investment in our public school system and designating money specifically to help struggling rural schools, we’re cutting taxes on Colorado businesses and we’re protecting a tax break for seniors. I applaud Majority Leader KC Becker and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman for their leadership on this bipartisan compromise.
We finally reached a compromise agreement on construction defects reform, an issue that has been contentious in the Capitol for many years. I thank Rep. Alec Garnett for leading the long and arduous negotiations on an issue so important to the Denver metro area. This was a priority of mine and I’m hopeful that we will soon see an increase in condo starts here in Denver and around the state to help make home ownership a viable option for more Coloradans.
We passed an education funding package that addresses the running controversy over funding for schools regardless of type – whether it’s a traditional or charter school. Many thanks go to Rep. Brittany Pettersen for bringing forward solutions to increase equity for all Colorado students while also protecting local decision making and expanding transparency and accountability. We still have work to do, but by putting kids first – regardless of what type of school they attend – this is a step in the right direction to ensure that every boy and girl in Colorado has the opportunity to live up to his or her full potential. Click here to see what I had to say during the floor debate.
I am also very proud of another accomplishment in the education arena: we worked together to enhance the quality and availability of computer science education in Colorado schools. These fields are providing the jobs of the future, and Colorado students deserve the chance to succeed.
We also accomplished a lot on criminal justice reform, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Pete Lee and many others. His work to transform the culture of the Division of Youth Corrections and to ensure our system works to rehabilitate people and prevent crime will bring true progress to Colorado. We were also successful in creating an interim committee to work on criminal justice reform – I look forward to seeing what legislative solutions come out of that task force.
My biggest disappointment of the year was that three Republican Senators voted against bringing a bipartisan transportation ballot measure to the people of Colorado. I worked with President Kevin Grantham and Coloradans, businesses, and leaders from across the state to create a package that would have transformed our transportation system in Colorado. We have a $9 billion backlog in transportation needs, and anyone who spends time stuck in traffic on I-25 or I-70 knows the need is real. It is a shame that just one vote stood in the way of this bill coming before the full Senate and prevented this breakthrough measure from coming to the ballot, so the people of Colorado could make their own decision. I will keep working on this issue and remain optimistic.
There are many other wins and losses from the session, but I am very proud that we remained committed to my promise on opening day: that we will work for a Colorado where no one is taken for granted and no one is left behind.
Jewish Colorado Legislative Appreciation Award
I couldn't be more honored or humbled to receive the Jewish Colorado Legislative Appreciation Award. Sincere thanks to Jewish Colorado for all that you do to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.- Israel relationship. Congratulations to Chad Asarch for receiving the Community Leadership Award!
November 11, 2016
I'm writing to let you know that yesterday my colleagues voted to elect me Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. I am humbled and honored by this responsibility and want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way-- especially my parents, who taught me that with hard work and determination I could be anything I wanted to be. They were right.
This week has been a hard one for our country, but we have faced hardship before and overcome. We may feel alone, but it is important now more than ever, that people stay involved with the political process.
Now that the election is over, it is time to govern. The people of Colorado have always been able to work together and stand tall in the face of adversity. I learned a long time ago that ugly politics does nothing to advance the issues that matter most to people and the struggles they deal with everyday. That's why I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to advance our transportation needs, quality schools, and making sure we don't leave any Coloradan behind in a changing economy.
We will not stop fighting for those at the margins, and uphold the rights of everyone in our state and our nation, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. I pledge to you that I will stand firm against divisive policies that will destroy communities.
I hope I can count on your help and support.
At the family ranch with my nephews and my dog, Coco.
2016 Legislative Accomplishments
June of 2016
The 2016 legislative session has ended! I wanted to highlight some key bills that I sponsored this year. My colleagues and I worked hard at the State Capitol to level the playing field for all Coloradans. We focused on continuing Colorado’s economic recovery by introducing legislation that will strengthen the middle class, prioritize hard working small businesses over special interests and ensure access to high quality education at every level. I am committed to fighting for legislation that moves Colorado forward and benefits our community.
In this very tight budget year, the legislature passed a budget that avoided the major cuts originally feared. Here’s an overview of what this year’s budget accomplished:
Here are some of the key bills I sponsored this session:
HB 1063 – Mental Health Professional Disclosure for School Safety – Now A Law!
HB 1289 – Incentives to Complete Career Development Courses – Now A Law!
HB 1302 – Align Colorado Law with the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act – Now A Law!
HB 1332 – Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicle Income Tax Credits – Now A Law!
HB 1404 – Regulate Fantasy Contests – Now A Law!
HB 1465 – Modifications to the Low-income Housing Tax Credit – Now A Law!
HB 1467 – First-time Home Buyer Savings Account Tax Deduction – Now A Law!
SB 193 – Free Safe2Tell Materials and Training – Now A Law!
HB 1073 – Electrical Industry Safety and Training Act – Now A Law!
HB 1182 – Commodity Metals Theft Task Force Sunset – Now A Law!
SB 029 – Insurance Companies Comply with Model Acts – Now A Law!
HB 1291 – Modern Technology Education In Public Schools – died in the Senate
HB 1435 – Taxpayer Accountability Act – died in the Senate
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