Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pace chosen as House Democratic leader; Todd, Levy, Hullinghorst will also be on leadership team

State House Democrats, fresh off an election that appears to have stripped them of their majority in the chamber, chose a Pueblo legislator as their new caucus leader.

Rep. Sal Pace, who was re-elected Nov. 2 to his second term, will be the Democrats' floor general. He defeated the current assistant majority leader, Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, in a vote held today.

The current speaker, Rep. Terrence Carroll, D-Denver, and majority leader, Rep. Paul Weissman, D-Louisville, are term-limited and will not return for the 68th General Assembly.

Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, will be assistant caucus leader, while Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, will be whip.

Rep. Dicky Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, will serve as deputy whip.

Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, D-Aurora, will be the Democrats' caucus chair in the next legislative session. Her assistant chair will be Rep. Su Ryden, D-Aurora.

The outcome of the election for a House seat in Jefferson County remained in doubt as of Thursday, as a margin of approximately 200 votes separated district 29 frontrunner Robert Ramirez from incumbent Democrat Debbie Benefield.

If Ramirez prevails, the GOP's claimed majority will be official.

Photos of Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, and Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, courtesy Wikimedia.

Suthers re-elected; Republicans oust Treasurer Kennedy, Secretary of State Buescher

Republicans ousted the state treasurer and secretary of state in Tuesday's election as attorney general John Suthers was re-elected, giving the GOP three of five statewide elected offices.

Democrats John Hickenlooper and Joe Garcia were elected governor and lieutenant governor.

Walker Stapleton, a real estate developer and investor, defeated incumbent Democratic treasurer Cary Kennedy in a close race, while GOP election lawyer Scott Gessler beat incumbent secretary of state Bernie Buescher.

Kennedy's work as treasurer has included achieving a positive return on the investment of the state's financial reserves during the recent recession, as well as implementing bipartisan legislation to finance improvements and repairs of public schools. She also posted online, for the first time, the state's investments and a statement of cash flows and helped put in place a searchable database of the state's revenues and expenditures.

Stapleton, a relative of former President George W. Bush, argued during his campaign that Colorado should not use federal stimulus dollars to balance its budget and said he would push the General Assembly to restore a spending cap.

Gessler, a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. Army reserve veteran, has been the Colorado Republican Party's go-to lawyer on election issues for several years. He has advocated for legislation that would require all voters to show a government-issued identification card at the polls and was involved in GOP efforts to secure a favorable re-districting of legislative and Congressional seats in 2001 and 2002.

Buescher, a former state representative from Grand Junction, was appointed secretary of state after Republican Mike Coffman was elected to Congress in Nov. 2008.

Suthers, a former U.S. attorney for the district of Colorado, beat Boulder county district attorney Stan Garnett despite reports that a man whom he had released from jail under a plea bargain had gone on to commit several murders.

Photo of treasurer-elect Walker Stapleton courtesy of Stapleton for Colorado.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hickenlooper wins landslide election as governor

Democratic Denver mayor John Hickenlooper rolled to an easy win in the governor's race Tuesday, beating former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and GOP businessman Dan Maes in a landslide.

Former Colorado State University-Pueblo president Joe Garcia won election as lieutenant governor on Hickenlooper's ticket.

Hickenlooper, a former geologist and restaurateur, ran a mostly positive campaign that emphasized bipartisanship and a commitment to strengthen the state's economy.

"We will implement a jobs plan that starts with economic development at the grass roots level, empowering local communities by starting with their vision of what works best and building on that vision to make Colorado a national center for innovation in every field from agriculture to energy and technology," he said at an election night celebration.

As Denver's leader, Hickenlooper, 58, was lauded as one of the top five big-city mayors in America by Time magazine. During his tenure he spearheaded efforts to lower the number of homeless people in Denver, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city, and secure public approval of tax assessments used to fund scientific and cultural facilities.

He was first elected as the Mile High City's chief executive in 2003 and won re-election in 2007.

Garcia, a former director of the state Department of Regulatory Agencies, has been president of CSU-Pueblo since 2006. Before taking that post he was president of Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs for five years.

A graduate of Harvard University's law school and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Garcia practiced law for ten years before embarking on a career in higher education.