(Jan. 7) – Speaker Mark Ferrandino announced today that Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) is the new speaker pro tempore of the Colorado House of Representatives.

“Rhonda has a lengthy record of bipartisan legislative accomplishments,” Speaker Ferrandino said. “She is a woman of strong principle, works day and night, pulled herself up by her own bootstraps and enjoys great respect on both sides of the aisle.”

The speaker pro tem presides over the House of Representatives whenever the speaker is absent. Rep. Fields succeeds Claire Levy, who resigned from the House in October.

“I thank Speaker Ferrandino for this wonderful honor,” Rep. Fields said. “I’m excited to serve as speaker pro tem at a time when Colorado is leading the nation in many aspects of public policy, and I’m ready when called on to help the House get its work done for the people of Colorado.”

Rep. Fields was elected to represent House District 42 in Aurora in 2010. She is chairwoman of the House Local Government Committee and a member of the Education Committee and the Health, Insurance & Environment Committee.

In her first term she worked with the majority to successfully sponsor 16 bills, a huge number for a Democrat in a Republican-controlled chamber. Included were bills that close a loophole that made it advantageous for a motorist to leave the scene of a traffic accident; allow developmentally disabled adults to give court testimony outside the courtroom, in settings where they feel more comfortable; and require public colleges and universities to develop policies to determine academic credit for a student’s prior learning.

During the 2013 legislative session, Rep. Fields successfully sponsored bipartisan legislation cracking down on stoned drivers and establishing a statewide notification system for victims when their perpetrators are released from prison. She also sponsored an important jobs bill expanding training programs to get more low-skill, low-income Coloradans back to work.

She garnered national attention for her sponsorship of 2013 legislation to make it harder for criminals and domestic violence offenders to get guns and to reduce the chances of another massacre like the Aurora movie theater shooting, which happened in her district in 2012.

A gun-violence tragedy launched Rep. Fields’ political activism. Her son, Javad Fields, and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe, were murdered in June 2005, less than a week before Javad was scheduled to testify as a key witness in the murder of his best friend.

Speaker pro tem is strictly the speaker’s appointment, and is the only House leadership position that is not elected by the full House or the majority or minority caucuses.

Leave a Reply