Mark Ferrandino on election as House minority leader, future of civil union bill
As the newly elected House minority leader, and the first gay man to serve in this capacity, he's got a big agenda, and he's dedicated to bringing it to fruition.
Ferrandino downplays the historic nature of his new gig, pointing out that he's not the first gay person to serve as minority leader -- that benchmark was reached by Jennifer Veiga back in 2002-2003. Besides, he says, "when people call me a gay legislator, I tell them I'm a legislator who happens to be gay. It's one fact of who I am, but it doesn't define me."
In terms of his leadership style, he notes that "I'm a work horse, not a show horse. I tend to knuckle down and try to figure out how we solve problems. I've done that for the three years I've been on the joint budget committee, and I'll continue to do that type of thing -- reaching out to all interested parties to build coalitions and figure out how we move Colorado and our economy forward."
Ferrandino at the podium.
This last reference isn't coincidental. "Jobs and the economy are number one in terms of the concerns of our caucus," he says. "We are in recovery, but it's not fast enough and it's not reaching enough corners of the state to help everyone. We need to build on the recovery we're seeing."
The Dems' deadline for completing bills targeted for the upcoming session is the end of this week, so Ferrandino can't talk specifics just yet. However, he notes that "the governor has proposed increasing some of the incentives that we've done in the past, and we're looking at supporting him in those efforts -- doing things to help small businesses and start-up companies in Colorado. Ideas are still being fleshed out, but there's a lot we can do to help businesses bring products to market and help them grow from small businesses to mid-size businesses.
"We need to encourage companies to invest in Colorado," he continues, "but we also need to support our entrepreneurs, who are trying to create the next big thing. We don't know what that's going to be, but I think we have the talent and resources to create those next big things, and that's great for the people and the state."
Page down to learn more about plans for a civil unions bill reboot.