Colorado’s four legislative caucuses met today to elect their leadership for the next two years. Leadership matters a great deal in the Colorado legislature. The Speaker/President and the Majority Leaders have the power to set committee sizes, assign bills to committees and determine the order of business on the floor and make committee assignments for their caucus. Minority Leaders make committee assignments for their caucus. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) spends months in hearings with Departments leading up the creation of the State Budget each year. The JBC members have enormous power when it comes to the state budget,
The House Democrats will be led KC Becker (D-Boulder) as Speaker of the House. Rep. Becker has served as the House Majority Leader for the past two years. Rep. Garnett (D-Denver) was elected as the House Majority Leader. Rep. Chris Kennedy (D-Jefferson) will serve as Assistant Majority Leader. Others elected to leadership include Rep. Edie Hooton (D-Boulder) as Caucus Chair and Rep. Michaelson Jenet (D-Adams) as Deputy Caucus Chair. Majority Co-Whip’s will be Rep. James Coleman (D-Denver) and Rep. Jeff Bridges (D-Arapahoe). Reps. Hansen (D-Denver) and Esgar (D-Pueblo) will likely serve on the Joint Budget Committee. The appointment of the JBC members is made by the Speaker and was not announced at the meeting today.
The Senate Democrats elected Sen. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) to serve as President for the next term. The contest for Senate Majority Leader was competitive with Sen. Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Jefferson). Senator Fenberg will be the next Majority Leader. Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) is the Assistant Majority Leader and Senator Elect Faith Winter (D-Adams) will be caucus chair. Senate majority whip will be Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Vail). Both Sens. Moreno (D-Adams County) and Zenzinger will serve on the Joint Budget Committee.
Sen. Chris Holbert (R-Douglas) will serve as Senate Minority Leader, John Cooke (R-Weld) was elected as Assistant Minority Leader and Senator Elect Dennis Hisey (R-Clear Creek) will represent the Senate Republicans on the Joint Budget Committee.
Despite rumors of a shakeup, the House Republican caucus election was uneventful. Patrick Neville (R-Douglas) was elected as House Minority Leader. Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas) was elected as Assistant Minority Leader. Lori Saine (R-Weld) will serve as Caucus Chair and Rep. Perry Buck (R-Larimer, Weld) will serve as Minority Whip. Rep. Bob Rankin (R-Northwest Mountains) will continue to represent the House Republicans on the Joint Budget Committee.