Members of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and the Colorado Democratic Latin@ Caucus had a lot to be proud of when they gathered Jan. 7 for their second annual “Celebrating Diversity” reception before the start of the legislative session. State Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Denver, had just been chosen as Speaker Pro Tem and her leadership post is one of several held by members of each caucus, putting the Colorado legislature on the map for its diverse delegation.
Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, co-chair of the Democratic Latin@ Caucus along with Sen. Jesse Ulibarri, D-Adams County, welcomed guests to the Colorado History Museum and proudly cited past accomplishments of the combined caucuses, which this year have five African American members and 13 Latinos.
Salazar saluted his colleagues for last year passing the ASSET bill, civil unions, the Anti-discrimination Remedies Act, drivers licenses, breakfast after the bell, and other measures that benefitted their caucuses.
Their 2014 legislative agenda will focus on bills that highlight economic well-being and prosperity, economic parity, education, fire and flood recovery, among others. But Salazar said they also hope to participate in conversations early on and not after decisions have been made. Fortunately, Salazar said, “When we said please include us before you move forward on bills, they responded.
“We will support legislation that opposes what is a detriment to our communities,” he added.
State Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, is the chair of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, is vice chair.
Sponsors of this year’s event were Comcast, Xcel Energy, Colorado Hospital Association, Mile High Racing & Entertainment, Medical Marijuana Industry Group, PDC Energy, Ward Alternative Energy, Wells Fargo, Colorado Education Association, OneColorado, Colorado AFL-CIO, 36 Solutions and Heizer Paul LLP.
See the Jan. 10 print edition for full photo coverage.
State Rep. Rhonda Fields, the newly appointed Speaker Pro Tem, acknowledges guests at the Celebrating Diversity reception on Jan. 7..