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June 29, 2017
I finally made it home to Denver after studying at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government for three weeks as part of a program for Senior Executives in state and local government. I am forever grateful to the Gates Family Foundation for giving me this opportunity because I never would have imagined when growing up in the neighborhoods of Northglenn and Arvada that I would have the honor to study there.
The course was much more than I expected it to be. It left me feeling more inspired and motivated than ever to fight for Coloradans and our quality of life.
The past legislative session concluded in a whirlwind of work and major accomplishments. It is being called the most productive legislative session in recent years and I am so proud that we were able to work together to bring results for the people of Colorado. But we still have much more to do.
We are at a crossroads in our country and we need leadership that is not beholden to special interests in politics. The most important title in democracy is not the President, U.S. Senator, nor the Speaker of the House. The most important title is WE THE PEOPLE.
It is so important for politicians to have the courage to lead and take on the tough issues, and be willing to put our people before their own self-interest. It saddens and even angers me to see what is happening in Washington, D.C. right now, especially when it comes to access to health care.
When I held a health care town hall in Denver a couple of months back, I heard from constituents who were worried about their coverage being taken away. These are people struggling with lifelong diagnoses or folks who know that without it they could be just one accident away from financial ruin. The American people deserve better than the health care bill that will be voted on by the U.S. Senate. If you haven't already done so, please call your U.S. Senators today and ask them to vote no on this terrible piece of legislation.
Beyond protecting health care, we have a lot more to do to preserve Colorado's quality of life. As a 6th generation Coloradan, I've seen how much our state has changed due to growth. I can't blame people for wanting to come to Colorado to work here and raise a family - in my opinion, it is the best place in the world to be. While growth has led to many benefits, such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need our leaders to act without fear to take on the challenges that come with this growth. Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, finding work-life balance for more Colorado families, or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must do more to address these issues.
I only have about a year and a half left to serve as the Speaker of the House, and it has been the honor of my life, to be the first Latina and the youngest woman in the history of our state to be in this position. That's why I feel it is more important than ever for me and my colleagues to hear from you about what your hopes and dreams are for our state and our country. We need to know what concerns you, what keeps you awake at night, and how we can work together to move our state in the right direction.
Please reply to me at this email or find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or if there are meetings or events in your community that you would like me to attend, don't hesitate to ask! I look forward to hearing from you soon.
May 18, 2017
The 2017 legislative just concluded in a whirlwind of work and major accomplishments. This is being called the most productive legislative session in recent years and I am so proud that we were able to work together to bring results for the people of Colorado.
We passed a budget that avoided the catastrophe that was predicted this year, and honored our pledge to take no Coloradan for granted and leave no Coloradan behind. I applaud our House Joint Budget Committee members Rep. Millie Hamner and Rep. Dave Young for stretching our budget dollars as far as they could go.
We passed the long-debated hospital provider fee fix – an accounting change which will prevent several rural hospitals from closing and will save programs and services at hospitals all around the state. We’ve been trying to fix the glitch in the hospital provider fee for three years, and finally we have succeeded. With the money freed up under the revenue cap established by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), we’re adding $1.8 billion in much-needed funds for our crumbling transportation system, we’re increasing our investment in our public school system and designating money specifically to help struggling rural schools, we’re cutting taxes on Colorado businesses and we’re protecting a tax break for seniors. I applaud Majority Leader KC Becker and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman for their leadership on this bipartisan compromise.
We finally reached a compromise agreement on construction defects reform, an issue that has been contentious in the Capitol for many years. I thank Rep. Alec Garnett for leading the long and arduous negotiations on an issue so important to the Denver metro area. This was a priority of mine and I’m hopeful that we will soon see an increase in condo starts here in Denver and around the state to help make home ownership a viable option for more Coloradans.
We passed an education funding package that addresses the running controversy over funding for schools regardless of type – whether it’s a traditional or charter school. Many thanks go to Rep. Brittany Pettersen for bringing forward solutions to increase equity for all Colorado students while also protecting local decision making and expanding transparency and accountability. We still have work to do, but by putting kids first – regardless of what type of school they attend – this is a step in the right direction to ensure that every boy and girl in Colorado has the opportunity to live up to his or her full potential. Click here to see what I had to say during the floor debate.
I am also very proud of another accomplishment in the education arena: we worked together to enhance the quality and availability of computer science education in Colorado schools. These fields are providing the jobs of the future, and Colorado students deserve the chance to succeed.
We also accomplished a lot on criminal justice reform, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Pete Lee and many others. His work to transform the culture of the Division of Youth Corrections and to ensure our system works to rehabilitate people and prevent crime will bring true progress to Colorado. We were also successful in creating an interim committee to work on criminal justice reform – I look forward to seeing what legislative solutions come out of that task force.
My biggest disappointment of the year was that three Republican Senators voted against bringing a bipartisan transportation ballot measure to the people of Colorado. I worked with President Kevin Grantham and Coloradans, businesses, and leaders from across the state to create a package that would have transformed our transportation system in Colorado. We have a $9 billion backlog in transportation needs, and anyone who spends time stuck in traffic on I-25 or I-70 knows the need is real. It is a shame that just one vote stood in the way of this bill coming before the full Senate and prevented this breakthrough measure from coming to the ballot, so the people of Colorado could make their own decision. I will keep working on this issue and remain optimistic.
There are many other wins and losses from the session, but I am very proud that we remained committed to my promise on opening day: that we will work for a Colorado where no one is taken for granted and no one is left behind.
Jewish Colorado Legislative Appreciation Award
I couldn't be more honored or humbled to receive the Jewish Colorado Legislative Appreciation Award. Sincere thanks to Jewish Colorado for all that you do to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.- Israel relationship. Congratulations to Chad Asarch for receiving the Community Leadership Award!
November 11, 2016
I'm writing to let you know that yesterday my colleagues voted to elect me Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. I am humbled and honored by this responsibility and want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way-- especially my parents, who taught me that with hard work and determination I could be anything I wanted to be. They were right.
This week has been a hard one for our country, but we have faced hardship before and overcome. We may feel alone, but it is important now more than ever, that people stay involved with the political process.
Now that the election is over, it is time to govern. The people of Colorado have always been able to work together and stand tall in the face of adversity. I learned a long time ago that ugly politics does nothing to advance the issues that matter most to people and the struggles they deal with everyday. That's why I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to advance our transportation needs, quality schools, and making sure we don't leave any Coloradan behind in a changing economy.
We will not stop fighting for those at the margins, and uphold the rights of everyone in our state and our nation, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. I pledge to you that I will stand firm against divisive policies that will destroy communities.
I hope I can count on your help and support.
At the family ranch with my nephews and my dog, Coco.
2016 Legislative Accomplishments
June of 2016
The 2016 legislative session has ended! I wanted to highlight some key bills that I sponsored this year. My colleagues and I worked hard at the State Capitol to level the playing field for all Coloradans. We focused on continuing Colorado’s economic recovery by introducing legislation that will strengthen the middle class, prioritize hard working small businesses over special interests and ensure access to high quality education at every level. I am committed to fighting for legislation that moves Colorado forward and benefits our community.
In this very tight budget year, the legislature passed a budget that avoided the major cuts originally feared. Here’s an overview of what this year’s budget accomplished:
Here are some of the key bills I sponsored this session:
HB 1063 – Mental Health Professional Disclosure for School Safety – Now A Law!
HB 1289 – Incentives to Complete Career Development Courses – Now A Law!
HB 1302 – Align Colorado Law with the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act – Now A Law!
HB 1332 – Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicle Income Tax Credits – Now A Law!
HB 1404 – Regulate Fantasy Contests – Now A Law!
HB 1465 – Modifications to the Low-income Housing Tax Credit – Now A Law!
HB 1467 – First-time Home Buyer Savings Account Tax Deduction – Now A Law!
SB 193 – Free Safe2Tell Materials and Training – Now A Law!
HB 1073 – Electrical Industry Safety and Training Act – Now A Law!
HB 1182 – Commodity Metals Theft Task Force Sunset – Now A Law!
SB 029 – Insurance Companies Comply with Model Acts – Now A Law!
HB 1291 – Modern Technology Education In Public Schools – died in the Senate
HB 1435 – Taxpayer Accountability Act – died in the Senate
Hope you can join us for a Town Hall on April 8th to discuss the need of Coloradans to be able to access affordable and attainable housing! Come and learn what your legislators are working on and how we are attempting to problem solve! RSVP today because space is limited.
Please RSVP: duranforcolorado.com/townhall
Colorado Ready to Work 2.0
Last year, the General Assembly passed a bipartisan package of legislation called “Colorado Ready to Work.” These bills focused on education, training and outreach to make sure our workforce aligns with the jobs that our growing economy is producing.
We’re back at it this session. Last week, we introduced another 10-bill package—Colorado Ready to Work 2.0—that will create additional opportunities for employers and employees to succeed.
The focus of this year’s package is to encourage businesses to become more involved in the process of equipping Coloradans with the skills and training to step into good-paying jobs that are available but not being filled. We hope that more Colorado companies will take a larger role in the development of the next generation of workers in collaboration with K-12 schools, higher education and labor. The best way to increase wages is to ensure job seekers have marketable skills for Colorado’s top industries. We have companies that must seek employees from outside the state because not enough Coloradans have the right set of qualifications. It’s time for us to work with all stakeholders to change that and forge new partnerships.
I’m especially excited about our bill to update standards for the teaching of computer science and digital literacy in our K-12 public schools and provide incentives to teachers to get the training they need. Today, Colorado has more than 16,000 open computing jobs, yet only one in four Colorado high schools teach computer programming. The average salary for one of these jobs is $92,000.
And we’re not forgetting about those who are often the most difficult to employ, or who have been in the workforce for years but need new skills. Another effort reauthorizes ReHire Colorado, a bill that I was the prime sponsor of in 2013, which has effectively moved people from welfare to work through training and job placement for veterans and seniors. Extending ReHire Colorado until 2022 will help approximately 3,000 additional Coloradans find permanent employment.
Every one of these bills has strong bipartisan support. That’s as it should be. A thriving economy is not just a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s a Colorado priority.
Here’s a complete list of the bills introduced:
Industry infrastructure grant program HB16-1288 (Kraft-Tharp/Tate): Works toward a system in which businesses are engaged in the education system as centers of learning and drivers of career-focused education content. Creates a matching grant program within the Colorado Workforce Development Council to assist industry associations to define industry competencies and collaborate to facilitate training and education in the classroom and the workplace.
Computer science and digital literacy HB16-1291 (Lontine & Duran/Hill & Johnston): Directs the Department of Education to update content standards to include tech skills and creates a voluntary resource bank for schools and districts that want to start or expand computer science programs for students. Also creates a grant program for public school teachers in Colorado to pursue additional education that will enable them to teach computer science courses. Colorado public schools have standards in 10 content areas, but the current system lacks guidance for technology and computer science.
Incentives for student success HB16-1289 (Esgar & Duran/Crowder & Garcia):Creates a pilot program wherein school districts receive a $1,000 bonus for each high school student who (1) earns an industry certification tied to an in-demand job, (2) finishes a rigorous workplace training program tied to key industry needs, or (3) successfully completes a Computer Science AP course. After Florida adopted a similar incentive program, the number of students earning industry certifications each year rose from 800 to 45,000 in just five years, with some of the biggest gains for underserved groups like rural students, minorities and students living in poverty.
Apprenticeship study HB16-1287 (Rosenthal & Wilson/Cooke & Kefalas): Directs the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to study ways to increase the use of apprenticeship programs by Colorado businesses and to make a report and recommendations based on the study.
Extension of ReHire Colorado HB16-1290 (Esgar & Kraft-Tharp/Hill & Heath): Extends the ReHire Colorado program, which provides job training to help Coloradans find gainful employment and transition off of government assistance. The program helps the economic recovery reach the Coloradans who need it most, focusing on helping veterans, seniors and non-custodial parents secure long-term employment.
Tax credit for apprenticeships HB 16-1301 (Garnett/Scheffel): Provides an income tax credit to qualified Colorado businesses that integrate quality apprenticeships into their workplaces. Companies must offer high-paying, in-demand jobs as identified by the state Workforce Development Council.
Colorado Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act HB 16-1302 (Duran & DelGrosso/Newell): Aligns state statute with the federal “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.”
Aligning student academic plans with career pathways SB16-079 (Martinez Humenik & Todd/Young): Directs the Department of Education to collaborate with the community college system to more effectively align postsecondary and workforce readiness initiatives, so that students graduate with the tools they need to be successful in their future career and academic goals. This bill has passed the Senate and was introduced in the House this week.
Clarifying license pathways for mental health professionals HB 16-1103 (Kraft-Tharp & Landgraf/ Martinez Humenik & Todd): Clarifies and streamlines the pathway to licensure in the mental health professions. The bill has passed its first House committee and was sent to the Appropriations Committee.
Qualifications for licensed electricians HB16-1073 (Duran & DelGrosso/Scheffel & Guzman): Modifies the license renewal process for electricians by requiring continuing education rather than an assessment. The 24 hours of training will better equip electricians with the skills they need to be successful in their profession.
Just over a month ago, Colorado House Democrats elected women to the top two posts on our leadership team. Never before have women served as Speaker of the House and Majority Leader in our state's history.
When I decided to run for office five years ago, I didn't expect to become Chair of the Joint Budget Committee nor be elected by my fellow legislators to be the Majority Leader.
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. I am especially looking forward to working with our Speaker-Designee Dickey Lee Hullinghorst to strengthen Colorado's middle class.
As we put the election behind us, I hope that we can begin the next session with a conversation about what Republicans & Democrats are for, instead of what one party may be against, so together we can pass legislation on behalf of our neighbors, our families and our communities. Our success will not be determined by political polling or pundits, but rather by how we come together to deliver results to ensure Colorado has an economy that works for everyone.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~Winston Churchill
We recently served meals to the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission & dropped off supplies to Rosa Linda's 30th Annual Thanksgiving Feast for the Needy! Please consider giving back to our Denver community this holiday season and throughout the year!
A PRODUCTIVE SESSION 2014 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
96% of bills that passed had bipartisan support.
As the prime sponsor and in collaboration with other legislators, the following bills have been signed, or will be signed, by Governor Hickenlooper:
Affordable Child Care HB1317
This bill will enable more Colorado families to go from welfare to work. In some instances, Colorado parents pay as much as $14,000 per child per year for quality child care. HB 1317 creates tiered reimbursement programs that incentivize and reward successful, high-quality child care programs and ensure that families with lower incomes receive more state dollars to help struggling parents remain in the workforce. The bill also lowers copayments for families with incomes below the federal poverty level and implements policies that support parents' efforts to find and keep a job. Thanks to the Colorado Children's Campaign, the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, and child care providers across the state who weighed in on this policy.
Increased Access to Reasonably Priced Housing HB1017
This bill increases the availability of reasonably priced housing through tax credits for developers and the establishment of a housing investment trust fund and housing development grant fund. The Joint Budget Committee invested an additional $4.2 million towards building or redeveloping affordable housing in Colorado. Thanks to housing advocacy groups, developers, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority for your strong support of this legislation.
Promotion of Electric Car Charging Stations Through Grants SB28
Last session, I passed legislation to give consumers a tax credit when they purchase cars that have a positive impact on the environment. This session's bill will build more electric car charging stations in public places, continuing my work to promote electric cars.
Colorado Creative Districts HB1093
This bill established the Creative District Community Loan Fund and made an investment of $100,000. The Office of Economic Development will make loans or loan guarantees from the newly created Creative District Community Loan Fund to develop, construct or redevelop commercial real estate, mixed used projects or community facilities for state-certified creative districts like the Santa Fe Art District or the RINO Art District.
Authorize Shooting Range to Be Built in Grand Junction HB1275
This bill authorizes the Parks & Wildlife Commission to purchase property to build a multi-use shooting facility in Grand Junction. As a sixth-generation Coloradan from a family of hunters, I know the importance of continuing to promote outdoor activities that are part of our state's heritage.
Medical Marijuana Health Effects Grant Program SB155
This bill invests dollars to study the potential therapeutic and medical benefits of marijuana and help physicians better understand the biochemical effects of prescribed marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana Tax Proposal SB215
This bill invests recreational marijuana tax revenues into substance abuse treatment and efforts to reduce substance abuse among adults and teenagers, including an advertising campaign to warn Coloradans about the effects of marijuana. The bill also invests dollars in the development of a financial services network for marijuana businesses.
As chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee, I'm especially proud of this year's budget, which will help every community in Colorado. Whether it's assisting with flood and wildfire recovery, making historic investments in our education system, or increasing economic opportunity and security for all Coloradans, this bill will help move our state forward long into the future.
This year's budget:
Colorado Budget Invests in Girls and Women to Reach Their Full Potential
By Alvina Vasquez
2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
A message from Rep. Crisanta Duran about this year's historic legislative session:
We kicked off this year's legislative session with the promise that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should be able to have access to economic opportunity and the American dream. It has truly been a historic session. With your support, I worked to:
Because of your continued support, I have been able to accomplish these goals. It is truly an honor to serve and I'm proud to bring the values of our state forward.
May 21, 2013
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