Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pommer Says End to State Funding of Public Colleges Must be Considered

A leading Democratic voice on budget matters at the Capitol says that one GOP legislator's proposal to end all state funding for Colorado's higher education institutions must be considered.

Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, was quoted in a Rocky Mountain News article as saying that the proposal by Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, might be a necessary step because the state has not been able to adequately fund the universities.

"We have three research institutions - Colorado, Colorado State and (Colorado) Mines - and frankly . . . every year, we erode the quality of those institutions," Pommer said. "If you have a house and can't maintain it, why not just move instead of letting it deteriorate?"

Marostica's idea, which is similar to one floated earlier in the decade when the GOP ran the General Assembly, is in the aftermath of an announcement that the state's budget must be cut by nearly one billion dollars this year.

Gov. Bill Ritter announced Dec. 19 that state agencies must find $790 billion in cuts by Jan. 9.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Education News Colorado Has Session Preview Up

Education News Colorado has its session preview for 2009 up on the web. These guys understand education policy and they are, as usual, right on top of the issues that will be taken up by the General Assembly starting Jan. 9.

"Politico" Says Groff May Be Dark-Horse in Race for Salazar Seat

A national political blog says senate president Peter Groff, D-Denver, may be under consideration by Gov. Bill Ritter to replace U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar.

Groff has been mentioned on most of the speculative lists of candidates, but isn’t considered a top-tier contender to win the appointment.

Groff has a strong resume. He quickly moved up the ranks in the state legislature after being elected to the state House in 2000. Before that, he served as an adviser to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. One Democratic operative in Colorado called him the “best public speaker” of all the prospective candidates in either party.

And by making an outside-the-box selection, Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colo.) would get some national attention as he prepares to face his own tough reelection campaign in two years.

The negatives: Groff hasn’t been tested politically, as he represents a solidly Democratic legislative district in Denver. He has an eight-year voting record that Republicans could scrutinize in a general election. And he would have to demonstrate he can raise the millions necessary for a statewide race in 2010.

Ritter's spokesman has said the governor will make an appointment before the new Congress convenes on Jan. 6.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cary Kennedy Won't Be Salazar's Replacement in DC

State treasurer Cary Kennedy announced today that she does not want to be considered as a replacement for Sen. Ken Salazar.

Kennedy, who was elected as the state's chief financial officer in 2006, had been mentioned along with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver; House speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver; U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden; Denver mayor John Hickenlooper; and U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa.

Kennedy's announcement cited family considerations.

“Senator Salazar has been an extraordinary public servant for the citizens of Colorado, and the nation will be well served by his knowledge and expertise,” Kennedy said. “I am honored and humbled to have been considered for the appointment to Senator Salazar’s seat. But right now, with young kids, my focus and my energy is with my family. Kids are young only once, and it is a gift to raise them.”

Kennedy has two young children, Kadin, 11, and Kyra, 9.

Sen. Salazar has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama as secretary of interior.