The Honor of My Life

2018 Legislative SessionIt has been the honor of my life to serve our community as the Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives – the first Latina Speaker in Colorado and the only Latina Speaker in the country. I recently reflected on my time and service in an interview with CBS-Denver. It has been quite the journey and I couldn't be more appreciative for the opportunity to serve, thank you Colorado!

Honor of My LifeWatch Channel 7 interview here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dear friend,

This legislative session we set out to deliver results for hardworking Coloradans and over the past 120 days we fought to do just that. In the end, Governor Hickenlooper called this session the most successful of his tenure and I couldn’t agree more!

Here’s what we accomplished:

Investment in Education
We delivered on our promise to invest in and protect education funding. We boosted average statewide per-pupil funding by $469, including $266 million to cover student population growth and inflation and an additional $150 million for the largest buy-down of the “budget stabilization factor” (formerly known as the “negative factor”) since it was created. We also budgeted $10 million for a range of solutions to help address the teacher shortage in our state and invested $35 million in school safety.

In 2018 we’re making a serious investment in education. But we know it’s not enough. Far too many Colorado students have their education curtailed by four-day weeks and late starts. Colorado students and teachers have gotten the short end of the stick for far too long. This has to continue to be a top priority in our state, and we need to be looking at long-term ballot initiative solutions for our chronically underfunded schools.

Historic Transportation Plan
We worked tirelessly to pass a multiyear Colorado transportation plan that will relieve traffic congestion and support our state’s economic prosperity without jeopardizing education funding. This proposal reflects our commitment to meaningful and sustainable investments to repair and expand our crumbling, overburdened highway system and beef up multi-modal options that focus on moving people, not just vehicles. We said from the beginning of the session that transportation is a top priority for the House Democrats, and this proposal delivers on that promise.

This is an important step towards improving transportation infrastructure in our state, but it's not nearly enough to solve the problem. The needs are too great to be addressed within our current budget, without putting education funding and other key priorities at risk of severe cuts. Coloradans will have the opportunity this Fall to decide whether to increase our investment in our infrastructure, a long-term solution to our transportation needs. We will be learning more about these efforts over the coming months.

BroadbandDelivering Broadband to Coloradans
We also passed a breakthrough bill to help deliver more broadband internet service to rural Colorado. I was proud to sponsor this legislation. Colorado has one of strongest economies in the country, but we need to make sure that economic growth and opportunity are felt in every single community. This new law will go a long way towards helping rural areas connect with the rest of the state and beyond.

Saved the Colorado Civil Rights Division
After months of wrangling, we finally secured an agreement that preserves a strong and effective Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD), which each year investigates hundreds of claims of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and other factors. There are times we must plant our feet and stand firm for a just result. This was a long journey but we landed on the side of justice. With the reauthorization of the CCRD, all Coloradans will be assured that they have protections against discrimination in workplaces, housing and places of public accommodation.

A Colorado Solution to Prevent Gerrymandering & Ensure Fair Maps
I brought forth a pair of bipartisan of measures to revamp the process of congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment, encouraging the creation of competitive districts and taking steps to prevent gerrymandering. These measures are more than just a truce by both Democrats and Republicans in the once-per-decade exercise in adjusting legislative and congressional districts – they are Colorado solutions that focus on fair and effective representation for all voters.
These measures include important safeguards that prohibit gerrymandering and guard against any effort to erode the influence of communities of color. This is Colorado at its best, and I believe we’ve found a solution that will be a national model.

Future SpeakerBringing Down the High Cost of Child Care & Housing
I am proud that we were able to pass my bills to expand child care tax credits for Colorado families and extend a highly successful tax credit to make housing more affordable. Families from Denver to Durango are spending mountains of money on child care and housing. These new laws will strengthen our economy, boost our state’s workforce and invest in our families.

Reforming the Culture of the Capitol
We are focused on reforming the culture of the capitol and took the issue of workplace harassment head on. This session saw the first expulsion of a Colorado state legislator in 102 years due to egregious behavior.

The legislature responded by hiring a human resources officer and by commissioning a review of our policies and procedures by an outside expert. That review has been completed, and a legislative committee will be meeting over the interim to draft rule revisions to promote a safe, healthy work environment where harassment and intimidation of any kind is not tolerated and where all women are judged by their qualification, hard work, merit and skill.

This legislative session was historic but we have more work to do to ensure every Coloradan has the opportunity to reach her or his full potential. I’m excited to resume our quest to make our country richer in opportunity, fairer in how it rewards hard work, and generous in fostering the freedom for all Coloradans to succeed.

Civil Rights

My Final Session - January 10, 2018

The 2018 legislative session, my second – and last – as Speaker, is under way!

Over the next several months I have high hopes that we’ll be able to put partisanship aside and conduct ourselves this session with a united purpose: problem-solving for the Coloradans who elected us.

As the legislative session moves forward I will be sending you progress reports, but please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns.

In this year's opening day speech, I didn't hold back.

There was a lot that I needed to say.

If you missed it, watch my full remarks here.

Or, click here to read the transcript.

We have a lot to fight for. I look forward to continuing the journey with each and every one of you to preserve and enhance our Colorado way of life.

Sincerely,
Crisanta

Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran

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