Guest Columns

KEFALAS: A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Give thanks for the bright spots as we head into a New Year

Looking ahead to 2011, it makes sense to pause and consider the bright spots in our own lives that we can be thankful for.


Personally, I choose to focus on a few simple things that impacted me over the holiday season because the big-picture stuff is just around the corner. I was calmer and less stressed about running around and shopping even though I did my part to stimulate our local economy. I let go of some old patterns and paid attention to relationships. On the day before Christmas, I called family and friends to say thank you for the greetings they had sent, and I took a long bike ride. During the season, there were a few small miracles, but the biggest one was the birth of my third grandchild, a boy named John. Indeed this was the best gift.

And as we embark on a new decade, I’m mindful of the serious challenges that lie ahead — restoring the main street economy, advancing a shared prosperity vision and rebuilding financial security for families, in other words, creating decent jobs. It’s tough, but we are a people who overcome adversity, and it is in our nature to progress forward with compassion and creativity. Consider my two-cents worth.

Rule #1: Pay attention! The 68th Colorado General Assembly convenes Wednesday, January 12 for the start of the 2011 Legislative Session. The session is intense, fast-paced and requires being on the clock seven days a week for four months. Your participation in the legislative process is welcomed and encouraged so that I may successfully complete the people’s work at the state Capitol.

Rule #2: Be informed and engaged! Join me at our pre-session town hall meeting, Saturday, Jan. 8, from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Harmony Library Community Room. Rep. Randy Fischer, Sen. Bob Bacon and Senate President Brandon Shaffer will be present to dialogue about policy proposals and key issues such as job creation and the state budget. Another way to stay informed is to receive my accountability reports. You can subscribe at www.johnkefalas.org.

Rule #3: Help design sound policy in the public interest! I’m in the process of finalizing my five bills having to do with job creation, helping seniors, reducing poverty, lowering health care costs and improving child protection. Your input is needed.

Rule #4: Be nice, share your toys and work together towards solutions! Just in case you’ve repressed your memory of the recent elections, the Colorado political landscape has changed. In the state House, Republicans have the majority by one seat (33-32), and in the state Senate, Democrats hold the majority by five seats (20-15). Our country is once again at a serious crossroad, and the level of hyper-partisanship and political rancor is at an all-time high. This is not healthy for our democracy, our economy and, frankly, such lack of civility and respect does not help my stress-management efforts. So let’s stop it, agree to disagree, find common ground where possible and get the work done.

John M. Kefalas ?is the Democratic state representative in HD 52 in Fort Collins.