Friday, November 9, 2012

Parties elect new House caucus leaders after Dems re-take chamber majority

Democrats have re-gained the House majority they lost in 2010.

Tuesday's election will bring five new Democrats to the chamber, erasing a thin 33-32 Republican majority.

"As Democrats, we are going to take any idea - Democratic, Republican, Independent - that will move Colorado forward," a statement posted by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, on the website of the Colorado House Majority Project said. "It was clear on Tuesday night that the people of Colorado rejected the politics of gridlock and hyperpartisanship that brought the business of the people to a halt in this last year."

Ferrandino was chosen by his colleagues Thursday as the new House speaker. He replaces Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.

Ferrandino, 35, was appointed to the legislature in 2007. He has since been re-elected three times. A former staffer for the federal Office of Management and Budget, Ferrandino holds a masters degree in public policy analysis.

He became minority leader in November 2011 after his predecessor, Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, resigned that position to focus on a Congressional campaign.

The House majority leader during the 69th General Assembly will be Rep. Dicky Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. Hullinghorst was first elected in 2008. She previously served as minority whip during the 2011-2012 session and has been a member of the House appropriations and finance committees.

Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, will be the assistant majority leader when the legislative session opens in January. Pabon, who was first elected in 2010, holds engineering and law degrees. 

McNulty, who will commence his last term in the House in January, did not choose to seek a leadership position in his caucus.  Neither did Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, the majority leader during the 68th General Assembly.

Instead, Rep. Mark Waller of Colorado Springs will lead Republicans during the 2013 legislative session.

Waller, who has served in the U.S. Air Force judge advocate general corps, will start his third term at the Capitol in Denver.

Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada will be the assistant minority leader. Reps. Kathleen Conti of Littleton, and Kevin Priola of Henderson were chosen Wednesday as the other members of the GOP leadership team.

The new members of the state House of Representatives, who will be sworn in on Jan. 9, 2013, are Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs; Mike Foote, D-Lafayette; Leroy Garcia, Jr., D-Pueblo; Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins; Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada; Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton; Jenise May, D-Aurora; Mike McLachlan, D-Durango; Diane Mitsch-Bush, D-Steamboat Springs; Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City; Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood; Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver; Joseph Salazar, D-Thornton; Dave Young, D-Greeley; Perry Buck, R-Windsor; Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth; Justin Everett, R-Littleton; Stephen Humphrey, R-Windsor; Lois Landgraf, R-Colorado Springs; Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, R-Las Animas; Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs; Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale; Lori Saine, R-Eaton; Jim Wilson, R-Salida; and Jared Wright, R-Fruita.

Former Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, will also return to the House. She was defeated in the Republican wave election of 2010 after serving two terms.