Last Thursday, Governor Hickenlooper tried ‘punching holes in the darkness’ with his State of the State address. The speech started on a somber note in memory of those killed in wildfires and in an Aurora movie theater. Then it took a turn to focus on the Governor’s hope to have bipartisan support for his agenda. From the speech:
Even in the hardest of times we reach out to each other … we look beyond sorrow, and we fix our gaze on the horizon.
Belief in a better tomorrow is the story of the West.
This is our history.
We have an obligation to prevent similar tragedies, to do good, to bring light to darkness. We have an obligation to represent the best in Colorado.
This isn’t a Democratic or Republican agenda. It’s a Colorado agenda. It’s our common mission.
The Governor then went on to highlight his agenda, which remains largely focused on making Colorado the best state for entrepreneurship and business. This includes an effort to remove any excess red tape and LEAN projects focused on making more efficient use of government resources. It also means replacing old unemployment systems with one from a four state consortium called WyCAN (Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and North Dakota).
On Amendment 64, the Governor said he’s “determined to implement the new law in a way that promotes the health and safety of all Coloradans” including expanding our DUI law and keeping marijuana away from children.
The Governor’s agenda also has a focus on education in implementing the ‘Race to the Top’ grant Colorado received to support early childhood education and ensuring that the school finance formula is equitable.
He also mentioned the tough tasks the State has ahead of it in expanding Medicaid coverage without increasing the cost to government and implementing the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange.
With 95% of the State in severe or worse drought conditions he set the goal of crafting a State water plan by 2015 with the Interbasin Compact Committee and Basin Roundtables providing the forum for discussion.
On Energy, the Governor emphasized the role that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission plays in ensuring the State avoids a devolution into a patchwork of rules and regulations.
Once again, Governor Hickenlooper made the case for tighter restrictions on gun purchases, proposing universal background checks, and the simultaneous strengthening our mental health system to better identify and help unstable persons.
Toward the end of the speech, the Governor turned to some specific things he’d like to see the Legislature address including ending veteran homelessness, passing civil unions, finding an equitable and fair way for undocumented kids to pursue higher education, untying the fiscal knot created by TABOR, the Gallagher Amendment, and Amendment 23, and reforming the way the State Constitution is amended.
Fortunately for Governor Hickenlooper, with the national economy seemingly improving, the sun may be coming over the horizon soon.