January 11, 2012

(Denver) – Rep. Mark Ferrandino called on members of the state House of Representatives today to put aside partisan differences as the Colorado General Assembly convened for its 2012 session.

“House Democrats will not take the low road toward gridlock and dysfunction,” Rep. Ferrandino said in his first floor speech as leader of the House Democrats. “We can be partners, not partisans. We can actually get things done for the people of Colorado.”

“There are core issues we can all agree on,” he said. “One, Colorado needs more good-paying jobs; Two, it needs an education system that prepares our children to succeed in a global economy; and three, it needs to adapt to changing economic and demographic realities.”

Rep. Ferrandino laid out the broad themes of the Democratic agenda.

“We will fight to start up the engine of economic recovery with practical solutions and innovative programs,” he said. “We will support Colorado workers and Colorado businesses to create more good jobs. We will reform inefficient programs that do not meet our high standard for return on investment. … [W]e will fight for a public education system, from preschool through grad school, that lifts up our students, prepares them for a challenging and changing world, and provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.”

Rep. Ferrandino said the 2013 state budget must be “one that balances cuts against people’s actual needs,” and endorsed Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “practical, pragmatic budget proposal” as “an excellent starting point.”

But he cautioned Republicans who believe a federal waiver of Medicaid rules is an option for Colorado.

“Let’s stop fantasizing about a magic Medicaid waiver that can make our problems go away,” he said. “It just does not exist.”

Rep. Ferrandino said the goal was “practical solutions for Colorado.”

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