Tuesday, March 24, 2009


OUR NEW WEBSITE IS: Colorado Senate Democratic Majority

Thursday, January 29, 2009


(DENVER) On the Capitol steps this afternoon, backed by business leaders and workers, the legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth recommended a comprehensive package of job-creation bills. When enacted, these proposals will create tens of thousands of jobs.
The proposed legislation will focus on five key areas:
1. Transportation: Create Thousands of Jobs Repairing Our Crumbling Roads and Bridges;
2. New Businesses: Offer Tax Incentives to Companies that Move to Colorado and Create Jobs;
3. Credit: Increase the Availability of Loans to Small Business to Help Create Jobs;
4. New Energy Economy: Expand New Energy and Clean Technology Jobs, and;
5. Rural Job Creation: Create Rural Medical Jobs and Promote Job Training.
The announcement was led by Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village), Chair of the Select Committee, who said, "While Colorado has fared better than most other states, we know we are not immune. Just this week we heard the latest job numbers. Even though Colorado's unemployment rate is still lower than the national average, it does not make up for the fact that almost 47,000 Coloradans have lost their jobs in the past year. The Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth started looking at how to address these challenges and we are proud of these nine bills. Let's get more Coloradans to work."

Rep. Joe Rice (D- Littleton), Co-Chair of the Committee said, “We all feel these tough times, whether we are here working to balance the budget in the Capitol, or tightening our belts at home with our families, or facing budget cuts at work. We brought together the best ideas from many different leaders, from all different sectors and perspectives, and put the very best of those ideas into legislation that will get Colorado working again. We are here today to proudly announce that we have begun to meet our goal: with this job creation package, we begin to put Colorado back to work, and to put our economy back on the right track.

“In this Job Creation package, we have focused in five distinct areas: Transportation, creating thousands of jobs repairing our crumbling roads and bridges; New Businesses, offering tax incentives to large companies that move to Colorado and create jobs; Credit: increasing the availability of loans to small business to help create jobs; The New Energy Economy: expanding new energy and clean technology jobs; and Non-Denver Regions: developing rural jobs and job training.”
Other speakers at the mid-day event at the Capitol included Tom Clarke, Executive Vice President, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation/Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; Tony Gagliardi, Colorado Director, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); and Don Childears, President and CEO, Colorado Bankers Association.
The Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth includes Senator Gail Schwartz, Chair, (D-Snowmass), Rep. Joe Rice (D-Littleton), Senator Jennifer Veiga (D-Denver), Rep. Judy Solano (D-Adams), Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), Rep. Buffie McFadyen (D-Pueblo), Senator Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield), Rep. Larry Liston (R-El Paso), Senator Mark Scheffel (R-Parker), and Rep. David Balmer (R-Centennial).
Business Advisors to the Select Committee include: Gail Lindley, Denver Bookbinding Co, Inc.; Neil Hall, Building Construction Trades Council; Craig Cox, Interwest Energy Alliance; Jim Hertel , Colorado Managed Care Newsletter; Mark Mehalko, AECOM; Felix Lopez, Trinidad State Junior College; Chuck Ward, Qwest Communications; Patricia Barela-Rivera, Consultant; Rob Perlman, Steamboat Ski Resort; and Michael DeBerry, Chevron.


DENVER – Senator Mary Hodge ( D- Brighton) has been honored by the Colorado Corn Growers Association as the 2009 Dave Dunivan Amicas-Friend of Agriculture Award recipient.

Each year, Colorado Corn Growers Association and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee recognize and individual who demonstrates outstanding commitment and service to Colorado Agriculture.

“ I am honored to receive this recognition, “ said Senator Hodge. “ Agriculture is such an important part of Colorado’s economy and our state history. Across Colorado, in every corner of the state, Colorado farmers work hard to help feed our families and provide jobs in our communities. I am thankful for their support of my legislative efforts.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


President Barack Obama sworn-in
DENVER— Today Senate President Peter C. Groff (D-Denver) attended the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, President Barack Obama, in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Rev. Regina Groff.

“I am proud to have stood at the foot of the U.S. Capitol to witness the swearing-in of the country’s first African-American president,” said Sen. Groff. “The bridge has been built and our children will be able to look back on this day as one of the most important days in American history. President Obama said we have tough challenges ahead, and we know that all too well, but with his leadership and vision he will meet these challenges.”

Today, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address as the 44th President of the United States minutes after taking the oath on the same bible President Abraham Lincoln used. “We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

President Groff delivers emotional speech on MLK's birthday

On the floor of the Senate this morning, President Peter Groff delivered a personal and emotional speech on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.


Thank you Madam President Pro Tempore. Members, we generally do this on the actual holiday which always falls on a Monday so I have time to actually prepare some remarks. This year I had even wondered, since we're going to the inaugaration, whether we should even do this, and recognized that because of the accomplishments of this country made on November 4. But, Speaker Carroll and I decided that it would be best to do this on his birthday. This is something we hadn't done in recent history. The body use to do that when the debate was going on over the holiday itself. Then, I struggled whether or not I should make comments and then Senator Schultheis reminded me that we are doing this today.

As you think about this, America is blessed in the fact that we have these great historical intersections. Moments in this country's history that mark historic and abrupt changes, direction, and hope. Not necessarily in a political sense, but in that quintessential American journey that we are on.

Tuesday, at noon, as prescribed by the Constitution, Amendment 20, there will be a peaceful transition. One that is looked upon throughout the rest of the world as something so unique about the greatest democracy that has ever been created. At noon, at the steps of the building built by slaves, a person of African descent will raise his hand and swear to the oath of the Presidency of the United States. A historic intersection again will occur.

At that moment, when I am sitting there with my wife, I'll probably think about 12 people. The same 12 people that I thought about on election night; the same 12 people that I thought about on August 28 when then Senator Obama accepted the nomination of my party for the Presidency of the United States. That moment in June when he stood center stage in Minneapolis to claim that nomination. I'll think of my great-grand parents some of whom were one generation out of slavery, one of whom was an actual slave. And, I will think about their parents who were at the foot of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee under the overseer's whip on my father's side and on my mother's side who toiled under America's peculiar institution on the red clay of Georgia. I will think about how far we have come in the bridge that was built for me to stand in this body on this red carpet at the foot of our majestic Rocky Mountains and see how far America has come. So, I will think about them.

I will think about my children who didn't necessarily understand the significance of what was happening on November 4, but knew that it was critical to their parents. I'll remember when we walked in that night and it was either West Virginia or Kentucky that reported first. And, my daughter just happened to walk in at that time. I was watching MSNBC or CNN and they said John McCain had won. It must have been West Virginia and this tear came down my daughter's cheek and I looked at her and I said, "What's wrong?" She threw her head back and tears just began to roll and she said "Barack Obama lost." It was one of those parental moments where you are thinking, "How do I explain this?". She is now well-versed in the Electoral College. "No, not quite, but there are some other things that will go on." I will think about them and the bridge that was built for them on that night.

Selfishly, I will think about me, born April 21, 1963. Three days before I was born, on the south-side of Chicago in the same district represented a little bit later by a state senator named Barack Obama -- that night, three days before there was a speech by Martin Luther King that was pulled together by scraps of papers that were smuggled in to the Birmingham jail and then out of the Birmingham jail. That letter talked about the role of the civil rights movement in the faith community. Particularly, his brothers and sisters in that community who had not necessarily done what they were suppose to do. Then, I will think about how in June of 1963, Medgar Evers was slain in his driveway in Mississippi. I will think about, in 1963, how in August of that year, right after the slaying of Medgar Evers, John Kennedy said, "We need to move aggressively on civil rights legislation so I am sending a bill up Pennsylvania Avenue." That became the Civil Rights bill of 1963 that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I'll think about the hundred thousand people that gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear about the dream that he had for America. I will think about how not three weeks later, four little girls attending Sunday school, dressed up in their Sunday finest, in the bathroom that was leading up to a stairwell where a bomb had been placed the previous evening by members of the Ku Klux Klan. I will think about how that bomb exploded. And, how those four girls were killed because of the hate that was in America.

I'll think about the bridge that has been built in just my lifetime. I'll think about Dr. King, who probably didn't think that, when he died that, in forty some odd years, a person of African descent would become President. We often think about him as this dream maker who talked about what America could be. But, now we ought to see him as a bridge builder for all of us; for my great grandparents, for my children, for me, for his grandchild who was born last year.

What an unbelievable country that we live in. I don't know the scripture and I'm going to cheat because I'm not a theologian. There is a scripture in the Book of Numbers that talks about when Kaleb and Moses were talking about the land that they were going to go into and I think it's Numbers 13:30. This talked about how the people were silent and the fact that they were told by Kaleb, "We should go and take up the possession for the land for certainly we could do it." There are lots of different translations of the Bible. I wonder if one version of Numbers where it says, "certainly we can do it" will some day be translated as, "Yes we can."

On Tuesday at noon, that bridge that so many of us have hoped for, that so many of us have talked about from this spot, will be built. Many of us, half of us in this room, maybe didn't vote for him, but at one point and time I suspect all of us thought, "Wow, what an unbelievable country we live in. What an unbelievable country to come through the chasm of racism that we have had." We have built the bridge. What an unbelievable country that we live in where the only two African Americans in this body-- not because of our color -- but because of what our members, our colleagues, saw in us, that we could run this chamber, just two of us. I go to meetings nationally and they say how many African Americans are there in the body and I say two. They say like two on your row or two that share an office and I say no just two. But, Colorado did that and the bridge that we built for our children who will one day walk through and look at these pictures and say, "Wow,

look at that." And then go up to the Presidential area where the gallery is on the third floor and say, "Wow, look at that." What a tremendous, unbelievable country that we live in. What an unbelievable state that we serve.

So, thank you all very much and on Tuesday think of those 12 people when Barack Obama says that he will "uphold the Constitution of the United States of America so help him God." Thank you all very much.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Senator Gibbs Missed State of the State...But He Had a Good Reason


From Matt McClain
Rocky Mountain News

DENVER— This morning, as Colorado’s General Assembly gathered to hear Governor Bill Ritter’s State of the State address, one lawmaker was conspicuously absent. State Senator Dan Gibbs (D-Summit County), was working to save homes as part of a team of firefighters on Neva fire in Boulder County.

As the Governor presented his annual address, Senator Gibbs was activated at about 10 p.m. to help fight the raging fire as part of the Wildland Firefighting team’s mutual aid agreement with Boulder County. He worked through the morning hours on the front lines of the fire.

In spite of his absence, Senator Gibbs was remembered in the House Chambers as Gov. Ritter acknowledged the thousands of Colorado families affected by the fire in his State of the State address.

Senator Dan Gibbs (D-Summit County) co-sponsored legislation in the 2008 session to establish a Wildfire Interim Committee, which he chaired. This Committee created the four bills which were introduced in the Senate on the first day of the session.

The text of Governor’s address follows:

“Even as I speak, wildfires fed by extreme winds burn in Boulder County threatening homes and other property. The airwaves are full of Coloradans volunterring or offering shelter to the evacuated. And instead of being here in this Chamber this morning, Senator Dan Gibbs is on the front lines fighting that fire. Ironically yesterday, Senate Bill 1 was read across the desk. This bill deals with a host of significant recommendations on your Interim Committee on wildfires and its Senate sponsor is Dan Gibbs. We pray for the safety of Senator Gibbs and all of the firefighters as they battle that blaze and that wind.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

President Peter Groff and Speaker Terrance Carroll on CNN

President Peter Groff and Speaker Terrance Carroll spoke with CNN on the opening day of the session.

Colorado political leaders make American history
Story Highlights
Two African-Americans elected to top Colorado legislature spots

Both men -- Terrance Carroll and Peter Groff -- are Democrats

They consider themselves part of a new generation of black leaders

Ku Klux Klan once had heavy influence on Colorado politics

By Jim Spellman
CNN All-Platform Journalist

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- In Washington, all eyes are on President-elect Barack Obama, but 1,700 miles away, in Colorado, another historic swearing-in has taken place.

For the first time in American history, African-Americans lead both chambers of a state legislature.

"I'm honored and humbled that my colleagues chose us to lead the Senate and the House. And it's more humbling when you look and this is a state with 4 percent African-American population," said new Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, who joins Senate President Peter Groff in the state Capitol.

"And it leads you to believe and impresses upon you that they were more concerned with our character and our ability to lead as opposed to the color of our skin," he added. Watch Colorado's legislative leaders reflect on their roles »

Carroll said he's mindful of history.

"And where we come from and whose shoulders we stand on. Although we live in an environment where you can have a Senate President Groff or a Speaker Carroll, we know there's still a lot of work to be done in this country in terms race relations, but I think we've made some huge steps forward in recent times," he said.

"The wonderful thing about today is this won't have to happen again, at least in Colorado. So, those generations that come behind us won't have to shatter that glass ceiling. We've already done that."

Carroll, 39 ,was elected to the state House in 2003 representing northeast Denver. Born in Washington, D.C., to a single mother, he is an ordained minister and practicing lawyer. He was sworn in as speaker of the House on Wednesday.

Groff, 45, also represents Denver. He is a college lecturer and host of a radio talk show on the XM Satellite Network. A Chicago native, he has been a state senator since 2003 and was elected president of the state Senate in 2005.

Both men are Democrats who supported then-candidate Barack Obama, and they consider themselves part of a new generation of black leaders who have been called "post-racial."

"We come from a generation where we're more concerned about policy first rather than trying to prove something to past generations," Groff said. "Colorado has a rich history of kind of stepping out on faith and stepping out on independence and saying were going to elect or put into position the best person to do the job."

Maybe so, but it wasn't always that way. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had tremendous influence in the state, according to Robert Alan Goldberg, a history professor at the University of Utah and author of "Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado."

"Politicians were summoned to Klan meetings where they pledged loyalty to the Invisible Empire," Goldberg said "On Election Day, Klansmen and women put 'pink sheets' under voters' doors. The sheet designated who the Klan supported."

Goldberg says that in the 1920s, about 35,000 Coloradoans joined the Klan. He finds the election of Groff and Carroll very encouraging.

"What a pleasant surprise," he said. "Perhaps we can overcome the difficult history of bigotry that scars this nation."

All AboutColorado • Racial Issues

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