Thursday, November 6, 2008

Penry to Lead Senate Republicans

The leader of the Senate's Republicans in 2009 will present a big contrast to its current leader, at least in terms of age.

Sen. Josh Penry of Grand Junction, who is in his early 30s, will replace the retiring Andy McElhany of Colorado Springs, who is well into his 60s.

The election of Penry as the new senate minority leader occurred at a senate GOP caucus meeting today, where Republicans also elected Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray as assistant minority leader, re-elected Sen. Mike Kopp of Littleton as caucus chair, and selected veteran Sen. Nancy Spence of Centennial as GOP whip.

Penry took note of the difficult economic situation likely to face the General Assembly when it convenes in January after his selection as the new senate minority leader.

"A lot of heavy lifting awaits the General Assembly in January, and the public expects both parties to come together and get to work on issues like the economy, transportation and the budget," Penry said.

He also said he would reach out to Democrats and Gov. Bill Ritter.

"Especially after such an acrimonious campaign season, Coloradans are fed up with petty politics and endless squabbling," Penry said. "They'd like us to be adults, do our jobs and make government work."

But other members of the new GOP leadership team in the senate pointed out that the party must remain true to its principles.

"We are the last line of defense for taxpayers and business owners," Spence said.

Republican senators also chose Sen.-elect Al White of Hayden to fill a slot on the joint budget committee.