(Nov. 14) – Meeting this morning to organize for the upcoming legislative session, the 28 returnees and 6 newly elected members of the House Democratic caucus for the 70th General Assembly designated Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst to be speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.
The caucus also elected Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) as majority leader, Rep. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) as assistant majority leader, Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) as caucus chair, Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) as assistant caucus chair, Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora) as whip and Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) as deputy whip.
“People will tell us that a split legislature will place many challenges in our path,” Rep. Hullinghorst said after the vote. “I prefer to regard these as opportunities to succeed. We have the opportunity to work across the aisle in the House, and with the Senate, to develop bipartisan legislation that moves Colorado forward.”
As speaker, Rep. Hullinghorst will appoint the chairs and Democratic members of the House committees of reference, where legislative bills receive their first thorough vetting. She will also name the speaker pro tempore and will make appointments to interim and year-round committees and to numerous state boards and commissions.
Speaker-designate Hullinghorst was majority leader in the 69th General Assembly, managing the House calendar through two of the most productive Colorado legislative sessions in memory.
She is beginning her fourth and final term representing House District 10, which includes eastern Boulder and parts of unincorporated Boulder County, including Gunbarrel, where she lives. When she is formally elected on opening day, Jan. 7, to succeed the term-limited Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), Rep. Hullinghorst will become the first speaker from Boulder County since 1880.
She will also be the first woman Democratic speaker in the state’s history. Lola Spradley, a Republican, was speaker in 2003 and 2004. The House that Rep. Hullinghorst will lead will include 30 women among its 65 members, which is, at 46 percent, the highest ratio of female legislators in Colorado House history. Colorado also reclaims (from Vermont) the distinction of having the greatest percentage (42 percent) of female legislators in the 50 states.
Speaker-designate Hullinghorst has been involved in public policy in Colorado since 1975, and was the intergovernmental relations director for Boulder County for 23 years. Her specialty is environmental and development policy, and past Colorado governors have appointed her to serve on the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board and the Metropolitan Water Roundtable.
As majority leader, Rep. Duran will run the House calendar, scheduling bills for debate. A deft touch is required to allow full and fair debate while getting the House’s business done in the 120-day session.
“I am honored by the trust my colleagues have placed in me, and I have a great responsibility to them and to the people of Colorado,” Rep. Duran said. “I am looking forward to working with members from both sides of the aisle and Governor Hickenlooper to listen to all Coloradans and continue to create an economy that works for everyone.”
Reps. Williams and Foote will manage caucus meetings. The primary task for Reps. Ryden and Pettersen is to make sure caucus members are present to vote.
For more information on the new House Democratic leadership team and the rest of the caucus, visit cohousedems.com.