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Colorado Legislature Opens 2014 With A Call For Collaboration Rather Than Confrontation

Bente Birkeland
Lawmakers get reacquainted before the new legislative session opened at the Colorado capitol Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.

As the 2014 legislative session opened Wednesday, newly elected state Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – the second woman to hold the position – urged lawmakers to problem solve and skip the shouting matches in her opening day speech.

“Our diversity and differences are a source of strength and we are here united for one goal to diligently act as public servants,” said Carroll. “I have every reason to believe we can and will work together.”

Carroll’s comments were a reflection of last year’s contentious session – but she says lawmakers can take pride in what they accomplished.

“Last session was a busy and productive session and much of what we actually worked on was eclipsed by marijuana and guns in the major headlines,” Carroll said. “And while D.C. was criticized for doing too little, some questioned whether we in Colorado did too much.”

Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR
At the opening day ceremony, Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) moments before she was officially elected as the next Senate President.

Senate minority leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) says 2013 was also difficult year because of devastating wildfires and floods, and senseless shootings. He added though, that in many ways the Senate failed to do its duty to the public.

“Recalls, lawsuits, secession, the formula is wrong. Democrats divided by Republicans does not produce outcomes that are representative of Colorado,” said Cadman. “In addition to the historic events that formula produced a hyper-partisan toxin that effected this institution, the people who visit and those who serve here. We did start to look like Congress.”

With lawmakers heading into an election year, working together could be a tall order for both parties. Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the Senate and a larger majority in the house. Governor Hickenlooper is also up for re-election.

Read More (via Denver Business Journal):

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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