It’s been almost a month since we closed the Colorado General Assembly’s 70th session. Returning home to the community I love is something I always appreciate after spending four months in Denver for legislative work. The interim is still a busy time for me. From stakeholder meetings to touring the state, my colleagues and I already have the 71st session in mind.
There are so many things in our community that I look forward to doing this summer. I have been lucky to host two events in Pueblo in the past month, a town hall and a bill signing. I have also been busy in our community and around the state meeting with constituents, community leaders, and colleagues from the legislature. Keep reading for information on my travels around the state with the Capital Development Committee, the Transportation Legislative Review Committee, and my continuing work in the community.
I look forward to hearing from constituents from all walks of life this summer and fall. I hope to return to the Capitol in January, but before then, I will be hosting many events in the community. Be on the lookout for town halls and community coffees where you can meet with me and other passionate Puebloans to discuss our amazing part of the state and ways we can help it flourish.
The session is done, now what?
I recently hosted a town hall with Sen. Garcia at the El Pueblo History Museum and a constituent asked us what we do for the 8 months of the year that we aren’t at the Capitol. It is a great question, with part-time legislatures like ours it is good to know how your elected officials spend their time outside of lawmaking.
I am lucky enough to keep legislating as my full time job even during the interim. This allows to to be a member of two interim committees, the Capital Development Committee and the Transportation Legislative Review Committee. Both of these committees spend time traversing the diverse and beautiful parts of our state to start conversations with everyday Coloradans about the needs of their region. It is an incredible privilege to explore our amazing state and better understand how the problems of the western slope interact with the issues facing the eastern plains to create a state wide narrative that guides my work at the Capitol.
I also use the interim to begin planning my work for the next legislative session. From exploring issue areas and potential policy to holding stakeholder meetings to better understand problems and solutions, I get a leg up on the year ahead through extensive preparation. I also really enjoy this phase of legislation development, coming together with interested parties and working to create positive change reminds me of my community organizing days.
Lastly, I use the interim to connect to my district. Community conversations, chats at the grocery store, and volunteer work help me grow as a legislator and bring me joy. I also look forward to spending the next 8 months with my wife, dog, and family.
At the end of May, I held a town hall with Sen. Garcia where we discussed our work from the 2016 session. This “end of session wrap” allowed us to share our successes, our lessons from what we couldn’t pass, and have a candid conversation about what went on at the Capitol this year.
You can access my end of session report here.
I will be holding another town hall on June 24. I hope you will join me and the Colorado Department of Transportation to discuss Colorado’s transportation policy, needs, and plans.
Friday June 24, 2016
El Pueblo History Museum
301 N. Union Ave
Pueblo, CO 81003
Since sine die on May 11th, Gov. Hickenlooper has signed six of my bills into law. Of the 16 bills I introduced this year, 10 bills I am very proud of passed to become law. The above photos show the community it takes to make laws, we don’t do it alone. The bill signings pictures are from HB-1005, the rain barrel bill; HB-1100, homeless youth in-state tuition; HB-1289, incentives for successful completion of career development courses; HB-1290, an expansion of the transition jobs program; SB-146, a modernization of statute relating to sexually transmitted infections; and SB-150, an update and clarification of statute relating to civil unions.
Just yesterday SB-150 became law. It is incredible to have worked on the ground with my community for civil unions and marriage equality, all while admiring Sen. Pat Steadman’s fight at the Capitol. Who would have thought that 3 years later, we would be sponsoring an equality bill together? It’s been a long process over the years and this bill is simply the piece that codifies the incredible work that has been accomplished in Colorado, both in the grassroots and the grasstops.
Traveling the State with the Capital Development Committee
This year, I have enjoyed the privilege of shadowing the Capital Development Committee with Rep. Ed Vigil. After his distinguished career of serving southern Colorado he nominated me to assume his position on the committee after his retirement. I look forward to being a voting member on the committee that decides where and how the states funds for capital projects can be best spent.
Earlier this week I hopped into a van with the Senators and Representatives of the Capital Development Committee and explored many of the projects that were funded in the last year and some sites that we will be making decisions on in 2017. We traveled from Denver to Grand Junction to Rifle and back. Seeing the projects in person was so gratifying, it is great to see how the decisions made in the early morning meetings have translated to physical changes at facilities all over the state.