What Kind of Colorado Do You Want?

Nov 17, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

"If you could make or change one law for Colorado what would it be?"

It's not an easy question, but it's the first question I ask people on our state-wide tour of Colorado. We're on a listening tour and we want to hear peoples' ideas, questions, and concerns. As leaders of the Senate, Majority Leader John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and I are traveling to all four corners of the state to get a better understanding of the issues and concerns of everyone in Colorado, not just the people at the Capitol, or those in the districts we represent. As leadership of the Colorado Senate, our constituents are all the citizens of Colorado.

When I ask people in my district what the most important issues are to them, they do not say "forest health" or "tourism funding." But those were the top issues for people on our Northwest Tour. Next week, when we leave on the second leg of our tour in Southwest Colorado, I'm sure we will hear about water and agriculture issues. With the diversity of Colorado, it is important that we listen to people in all areas of the state.

In Southwest Colorado, we will tour the Animas La Plata Water Project, the largest joint water project between tribes and the federal government. This water rights settlement has been in existence for 100 years. Water issues are central to the economy of Southwest Colorado and the people from this part of the state depend on the state's natural resources so we are thrilled to welcome Senator Bruce Whitehead, a leading water expert, to the caucus. He was selected this summer to replace Senator Jim Isgar in Senate District 6. Senator Whitehead and Senator Suzanne Williams, who is the only senator with official Native American heritage, will take us to meet with tribal leaders at the Southern Ute reservation after the La Plata tour. We will also spend time with Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), a leader in new energy legislation, who will introduce us to her constituents in Alamosa.

As we travel the state and ask people what kind of Colorado they want, we need to ask ourselves that same question. We want Colorado to be the best place in America to raise a child. That means supporting education from preschool through post-graduate education, greater access to health care so if someone gets sick they can afford to go to the doctor for treatment, and providing stability and predictability in our economy so if you take out a loan, you can have confidence you can make your payments five, 10, 30 years down the road. It is in this frame that we are developing a positive policy agenda for the legislature.

And we are listening to you. We will be in Southwest Colorado September 22 through the 24. Our schedule will be on our website . We will ask the people we meet on the tour, and we ask you to think about what kind of Colorado you want. Please help us develop our legislative agenda by answering this question: "If you could change a Colorado law, or make an entirely new law, what would it be?" Click here to leave a response.