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Politics

Denver Hispanic Chamber Previews Upcoming Legislative Session

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Nathan Heffel
/
KUNC
Colorado Congressman, Democrat Ed Perlmutter speaks with former Denver Mayor Bill Vidal.

Business leaders in Denver’s Hispanic community gathered Monday morning to preview the upcoming state legislative session, which begins January 8th.

Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino, House Minority Leader Republican Brian Delgrosso and future Senate President Democrat Morgan Carroll answered questions surrounding minority owned business development, education, immigration reform and improving the state’s economy.

The panel highlighted bills on rural internet expansion and a job growth incentive tax credit, saying they’ll benefit the region’s Hispanic community.

Mike Ferrufino, outgoing chair of the board of directors for the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said he’s happy the leadership in the statehouse is talking about issues important to Colorado’s Hispanic business community, but he wants to see results.

“I think we hear a lot of rhetoric every election cycle about all the things that are going to be done in terms of helping small business but at the end of the day, sometimes it becomes a little bit of an afterthought,” he said.

Senate President Carroll said her chamber will focus on making college more affordable for every Coloradan – including those living in the country illegally who can now receive in-state tuition under the ASSET bill. The bill was signed into law last year. “As the state has reduced its share of investing into higher ed, the cost burden has been shifted ever increasingly onto students and families,” she said. “That really imperils opportunity, both in terms of access on the front end and in terms of student debt that we are saddling on students.”

Ferrufino noted that with roughly 1 million Hispanics living in Colorado, these are important issues for the state legislature to focus on. In addition, he said pressing for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level will benefit the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as the entire regional Hispanic community.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman also attended Monday’s event, and said they will continue to work for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington.

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