NewsCapitol Watch


A look back at a memorable year of Colorado politics

Mayor John Suthers
Posted at 4:25 AM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 08:36:07-05

Democrats taking over state government led our political coverage this year, from Governor Jared Polis being sworn in, a dramatic legislative session, and a slew of recall attempts by Republican opponents - 2019 was a memorable year in Colorado politics.

The year began with pomp and circumstance as Jared Polis, the state's first openly gay governor was sworn into office. "I'm humbled by this responsibility, and I'm humbled by your trust."

A full democratic majority in the legislature provided an advantage for the governor as democrats passed some controversial pieces of legislation, including the Red Flag Law and oil and gas reform, plus a bill to give Colorado's electoral votes to the National Popular Vote.

An initiative led by Monument Mayor Don Wilson and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is working to repeal the National Popular Vote compact and it will be on your ballot in November 2020. Organizers say the response to a petition was immediate. "I think the first day that we filed I was getting emails asking me "where do I sign?"

But Republicans didn't back down without a fight this past session in an attempt to slow down the process of bills going through the legislature. Republican senators asked for bills to be read at length when the senate non-partisan staff ran the bill through a software to read quickly. Republican senators filed a lawsuit on the issue and won.

After the session, a handful of state lawmakers faced what later became failed recall efforts. Governor Polis, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and El Paso County Senator Pete Lee were among the few. The only group to even turn in signatures were working to unseat Garcia. They turned in a total of four of the more than 13,000 needed signatures.

At the city level, Colorado Springs re-elected Mayor John Suthers in addition to three at-large members joining city council, including former Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Colorado politicians made their way onto the national stage this year with former Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennett announcing runs for the democratic party nomination for president. Hickenlooper later dropped out of the race and instead will run against Senator Cory Gardner in 2020.

Some major national names made their way to southern Colorado as President Trump delivered the commencement speech at the Air Force Academy and Oprah spoke to graduates at Colorado College.

While not a major election year thousands of Coloradans voted in 2019's election with two statewide issues Prop CC and Prop DD put on the ballot by lawmakers. Voters chose to saying "no" to the state keeping TABOR refunds and "yes" to legalizing sports betting and taxing casinos. That measure was something casinos in Cripple Creek were looking forward to.

Many Republicans are calling Prop CC's failure a win but questions remain over funding needs for the state's schools and roads.

2020 is sure to bring more debates up at the legislature with an election year and Democrats still in control. Money will also play a big role in the election with the Senator Gardner defending his seat and President Trump seeking re-election.