Election recap: power dynamics largely unchanged at the Capitol, legislators select leadership for 2021

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: November 6, 2020

There is no doubt that this was an historic election with both the nation and Colorado seeing record voter turnout. Here in Colorado, voters elected a new U.S. Senator, former Governor John Hickenlooper (D), and new representative for Congressional District 3, Lauren Boebert (R). At the state level, while there are new faces and a few shifts, the balance of power at the Capitol will look similar to the last two years with Democrats controlling the Governor’s office and both legislative chambers. Democrats in the State House will maintain their 41-24 majority with a loss in Pueblo’s House District 47, but a win in Littleton’s House District 38. Senate Democrats will see their majority grow by one seat to 20-15 with a flip to Democratic control in Senate District 27. You can see full election results for all of Colorado’s races here 

When the legislature convenes on January 13th, new leadership in both chambers will also be sworn in. The House Democrats and the Senate Democrats and Republicans both held leadership elections yesterday (11/5). The House Republicans will hold their leadership elections this upcoming Monday (11/9). Here is how Thursday’s leadership races shook out: 

House Democrats (Majority) 

  • Speaker of the House: Alec Garnett (D-Denver)
  • Majority Leader:Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) 
  • Assistant Majority Leader:Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver) 
  • Majority Co-Whips:Monica Duran (D-Wheatridge) & Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn) 
  • Caucus Co-Chairs:Lisa Cutter (D-Morrison) & Meg Froelich (D-Greenwood Village) 
  • Joint Budget Committee: Vicechair Julie McCluskie (D-Summit) & Leslie Herod (D-Denver)
  • Speaker Pro-Tempore: Appointed by Speaker of the House at a later date

House Republicans (Minority) 

  • Minority Leader: Hugh McKean (R-Loveland)
  • Assistant Minority Leader: Tim Geitner (R-Monument)
  • Minority Whip: Rod Pelton (R-Cheyenne Wells)
  • Caucus Chair: Janice Rich (R-Grand Junction)
  • Joint Budget Committee: Kim Ransom (R-Highlands Ranch)

Senate Democrats (Majority) 

  • Senate President: Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)
  • Majority Leader: StevenFenberg (D-Boulder) 
  • Assistant Majority Leader: Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora)
  • President Pro-Tempore: Kerry Donovan (D-Vail)
  • Majority Whip: Jeff Bridges (D-GreenwoodVillage) 
  • Caucus Chair: Julie Gonzales (D-Denver)
  • Joint Budget Committee: Chair Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) & Chris Hansen (D-Denver)

Senate Republicans (Minority) 

  • Minority Leader: Chris Holbert (R-Parker)
  • Assistant Minority Leader: John Cooke (R-Greeley)
  • Minority Whip: Paul Lundeen (R-Monument)
  • Caucus Chair: Jim Smallwood (R-Parker)
  • Joint Budget Committee: Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale)

Voters make big strides for kids and families, but not all measures will benefit Colorado 

Coloradans also cast their votes for several statewide and local ballot measures. The Children’s Campaign is ecstatic to see voters approve statewide ballot initiatives to create a universal Pre-K program with a tax increase on vaping and tobacco products (Proposition EE), create a new family and medical leave program (Proposition 118), and repeal the Gallagher Amendment (Amendment B)avoiding an even worse financial crisis for public schoolsIn addition, we applaud the passage of local measures for housing security and public school funding. On the other hand, we are disappointed that voters approved a reduction in the state income tax rate (Proposition 116), which will require cuts to the state budget that jeopardize children’s education and public health, and placed new restrictions on enterprise fees (Proposition 117), which will make it harder to pay for critical child health priorities in future years. We recognize that we have more work to do to educate our elected officials and the public on the disproportionate negative impacts of these measures 

You can see full election results for all ballot measures here. 

  • 😊 PASSED! Proposition EE: Vape and Nicotine Tax for Preschool 
  • 😊 PASSED! Amendment B: Gallagher Repeal 
  • 😊 PASSED! Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave 
  • 😊 PASSED! Boulder 2B: Local Housing Protections 
  • 🙁 Passed Proposition 116: State Income Tax Reduction 
  • 🙁 Passed Proposition 117: Restrictions on Enterprise Fees 
  • 🙁 Passed Amendment 76: Citizenship Requirement to Vote 

Read more here on how you can stay in the fight!

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.