November 18, 2011

(Denver) – The Democratic caucus in the state House of Representatives elected Rep. Mark Ferrandino today as minority leader.

Rep. Ferrandino was elected by acclamation at a caucus meeting this morning in the state Capitol.

He succeeds Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, who announced his resignation from the leadership position on Tuesday.

Rep. Ferrandino, who represents House District 2 in Denver, promised to be a “vocal advocate for the values and principles we care about as Coloradans,” and for the House Democrats, who are in the minority by the slimmest 32-33 margin.

He also pledged to work with the Republican majority whenever possible. “Together, Democrats and Republicans can accomplish a great deal for this state,” he told the caucus. “But I will not shy away from fights when regular people are about to get trampled on.”

Rep. Ferrandino, 34, has a sterling record of standing up for Colorado consumers and civil rights. He sponsored legislation granting homeowners threatened with foreclosure 90 extra days to work with their lenders to come to a good solution. He led the fight to crack down on payday lenders, reducing their exorbitant 300 percent interest rates. He sponsored legislation allowing state employees to designate their unmarried partners as insurance beneficiaries, and he has championed civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Rep. Ferrandino will be resigning his post as the ranking Democrat on the Joint Budget Committee, which writes the state’s annual budget and has had the unenviable task of trimming more than $5 billion from state expenditures since the Great Recession struck in 2008. He has served on the JBC since 2009.

He was first elected to the Colorado House of Representatives through a vacancy committee in 2007 to complete the term of Rep. Mike Cerbo. He was treasurer of the Colorado Democratic Party from 2005 to 2007, when he was named Colorado Young Democrat of the Year for his work on behalf of the party and Democratic candidates across the state. As a college student, he spent a semester in Washington, D.C., interning for U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer, now New York’s senior U.S. senator.

Rep. Ferrandino was a senior budget analyst for the Colorado Department for Health Care Policy and Financing under Gov. Bill Owens, a program analyst for the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, and a policy analyst for the White House Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

He is an adjunct professor at Metro State University in Denver and has a B.A. in political science and economics and a master’s degree in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester. He was a pole vaulter in college and can still run a mile in under six minutes.

Rep. Ferrandino lives in the Baker neighborhood of Denver with his partner, Greg, and their dog, Dagny.

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