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All this week, KUNC State Capitol Reporter Bente Birkland will be speaking with with four key House and Senate leaders to talk about their expectations and priorities for the upcoming session.

Senate Minority Leader Guzman Talks Election Losses And 2017 Goals

Bente Birkeland
Capitol Coverage
Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman

Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman, representing District 34 (Denver), is the only legislative leader returning to her role, but it’s something she didn’t expect. Guzman said Democrats fully anticipated winning the majority in the Senate, but after the November election they are still one seat shy. The GOP holds a 18-17 seat advantage.

In this interview, she reflected on the election, and looked ahead to the next few months. Here are a few highlights.

On the fallout of the November election and her party’s failure to gain the Senate majority:

Guzman: People are let down, and people need lifting up, and they need some ways to deal with the fact that they are not, in fact, chairing a committee, but they are on that committee. That’s where the heavy work comes from; it really comes from leadership. That lower morale comes from not only our loss in the state senate but also the national elections.

On the position she created for conservation, clean energy and climate change:

Guzman:  I had planned long and hard for our being in the majority. And one of the plans I had was to separate agriculture, natural resources and energy. I was going to separate energy from that committee because I feel that is one of our most important issues for these next two years.

On working with the Republican majority:

Guzman: I think we’ll be able to work together. In two or three different areas we want to come to some kind of an agreement, because over the past years members of both of our parties, our constituents, have wanted certain things to happen. ... There’s not an evil and good situation here. It’s just someone won, and someone lost, but the players in many ways are the same.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

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