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Colorado Senate Democrats pick new leadership as Garcia departs

Posted at 1:29 PM, Feb 09, 2022

DENVER – Colorado’s Senate Democrats selected a new president, majority leader and Joint Budget Committee member Wednesday after Senate President Leroy Garcia announced last week he was resigning to take a job at the Pentagon.

Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, was approved by Democrats as the new president-elect. Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, will be the next majority leader. And Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, was elected to serve on the Joint Budget Committee.

Fenberg had been majority leader while Garcia, D-Pueblo, was president. Moreno had served as the chair and vice chair of the Joint Budget Committee. Zenzinger chairs the education committee and previously served on the JBC.

The three changes will take effect after the full Senate votes and the daily Senate session adjourns on Feb. 23.

“Clearly I have big shoes to fill, but I’m confident that my experience in the legislature and the lessons I’ve learned working with President Garcia have prepared me to successfully navigate this transition and hit the ground running,” Fenberg said in a statement. “Our new leadership team is well-equipped to achieve our vision for the future of the state, and I’m excited to help this caucus deliver results for the people of Colorado."

Moreno said he was excited to serve as majority leader and humbled by the vote of confidence from his colleagues.

Zenzinger said she believes her prior experience on the JBC will help for a smooth transition.

“I look forward to doing my part to craft a sensible budget that meets the needs of our state,” she said in a statement.

The House speaker and majority leader also congratulated the newly elected leadership in the Senate.

Garcia announced last week he was resigning effective Feb. 23 to accept an appointment as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs at the Department of Defense.

“Serving as President of the Colorado Senate has been the greatest honor of my lifetime, and I am humbled to have had this opportunity to lead,” Garcia said in a statement. “This dynamic and diverse leadership team has the experience and vision necessary to lead this caucus with dignity and honor, and I know they have what it takes to get the job done and move Colorado forward."