There has been so much tragedy in Colorado lately that Gov. Jared Polis opened his 2022 State of the State address with a moment of silence for victims of three separate circumstances: COVID-19, violence and natural disaster.
“While this pandemic has made even the most mundane activities more risky, we haven’t endured the virus alone,” the Democrat told lawmakers and guests inside the House chamber of the State Capitol. “Evil acts against innocent people in the places we once ran errands or recreated have also made us feel less safe. We’ve feared the ever-changing nature of the virus, wondering if what protected us yesterday will protect us today. We learned unfortunately that the words ‘fire season’ don’t apply when the most destructive fire in Colorado history happens on December 30th.”
But he tried to look optimistically to the future, highlighting stories of local heroes and largely steering clear of controversy or partisan cheerleading.
He thanked Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle for leadership through and after the Marshall Fire that ravaged Superior and Louisville. He thanked police officers in Lakewood and Boulder who responded to mass shooters. He thanked health care workers and said, “Politicians talk about improving lives. You actually save lives.”
And, facing re-election in November, Polis made a point — as usual — to highlight his friendliness to Republicans. He thanked many GOP lawmakers out by name and even thanked his 2018 election opponent Walker Stapleton, whom Polis recently appointed to the state Economic Development Commission.”
“This isn’t my Colorado or your Colorado. This is our Colorado,” Polis said.
He generally avoided sounding especially liberal in the speech, which did not include, for example, the words “gun,” “abortion,” “union,” or “voting.”
“I think he correctly understands that the national mood is against the party in power, to which he belongs, and that his safe bet is to talk about the things that we all agree on, at least in principle,” said state Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican, following the speech.
Democratic House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver said he was glad to see Polis focus on things that matter to a broad swath of the public, like affordability and educational attainment.
“It’s not a surprise that he didn’t touch on everything,” Garnett said. He added that “of course” Democrats will pursue legislation on things Polis didn’t talk about.
Polis said that Coloradans “desperate for relief” need both sides to help out now. And he detailed several proposals along those lines.
He wants to reduce unemployment premiums and paid family leave premiums for businesses, and proposes waiving fees to open a new small business. He wants to reduce the cost of renewing a driver’s license. He’s excited that Coloradans are slated to receive tax refunds in this and the next several years because the state economy is in such relatively good health. Overall, Polis seeks about $100 million in fee relief in next year’s budget — a plan that will need the legislature’s sign-off when the 2022-23 budget is finalized in the spring.
“My administration will work with both parties to …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics