Monthly Archives: January 2010

GOV. RITTER APPOINTS COLORADANS TO BOARDS & COMMISSIONS

 

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointments of 10 Coloradans to statewide boards and commissions:

 

Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs

 

James C. Bobick of Aurora to fill a vacancy for a term expiring June 30, 2010, and then to a full four-year term expiring June 30, 2014.

William L. Robinson of Castle Rock for a term expiring June 30, 2014.

 

The seven-member board addresses challenges facing Colorado veterans and makes recommendations to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Appointments require Senate confirmation.

 

Board of Real Estate Appraisers

(for terms expiring July 1, 2012)

 

Wayne L. Hunsperger of Englewood

Anthony J. Navarro of Denver (re-appointed)

Susan E. Secrest of Denver

 

The seven-member board sets fees for those seeking a real estate appraisers license, administers tests and disciplines licensees for misconduct Appointments require Senate confirmation.

 

Water Quality Control Commission

(all re-appointments, for terms expiring Feb. 15, 2013)

 

Chris J. Wiant of Centennial

Patricia Wells of Denver

Andrew S. Todd of Denver

 

The nine-member commission is responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive and effective program for prevention, control and abatement of water pollution throughout the state. Appointments require Senate confirmation.     

 

Ground Water Commission

(re-appointments to terms expiring May 1, 2014)

 

Douglas L. Shriver of Monte Vista

Carolyn F. Burr of Denver

 

The 12-member commission determines the boundaries of ground water basins, considers well permit applications, promotes economic development and protects water rights. Appointments require Senate confirmation.

 

For more information about Coloradoboards and commissions, or to obtain an application, visit the Boards and Commission website, e-mail boards@state.co.us, or call 303.866.6380.

 

GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES OUTREACH MEETINGS FOR RECOVERY ACT BROADBAND MAPPING PROJECT

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced two public meetings to help Internet providers and the public participate in the Colorado Broadband Data and Development Program, funded by $2.1 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The meetings are organized by the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) and will be held in Denver on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.


“The Recovery Act is helping Colorado bridge the digital divide by investing in a number of projects that will expand high-speed Internet to communities across the state,” said Gov. Ritter. “These meetings are part of an ongoing effort to help Coloradans and the business community access opportunities and to take part in shaping Colorado’s future.”

OIT has been awarded $1.6 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and almost $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period. In December, the office released Colorado’s first ever maps of broadband availability throughout the state. While these maps provide important baseline data, the ARRA-funded project will enable OIT to update these maps over a multi-year period to account for coverage changes and new information.


To kick off the project, OIT is hosting the two meetings at its Denver office for providers of broadband internet and interested parties. Individuals may participate in-person or via conference bridge.

Meeting Information:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 2, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 601 East 18th Avenue, Confluence Park Conference Room.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 601 East 18th Avenue, Confluence Park Conference Room.

  • Contact COBroadband@state.co.us to RSVP and to obtain call-in instructions. Registration will close on Jan. 29, for the first meeting and on Feb. 5, for the second meeting.

 

At least $5.7 billion in Recovery Act funds are expected to come to Colorado over the next two years. More information about the Recovery Act and its impact on Colorado can be found at www.colorado.gov/recovery.


 

IN STATE OF STATE ADDRESS, GOV. RITTER CALLS FOR FOCUSED SESSION

 

GOV. RITTER CALLS FOR FOCUSED 2010 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

 

Gov. Bill Ritter, delivering his fourth and final State of the State Address, called on lawmakers today “to set aside the weaker impulses of partisanship” and remain focused on job creation, economic recovery and keeping the state budget balanced.

 

 

“While this has been a tough time, and while there will be setbacks, we are making progress,” Gov. Ritter said. ” Colorado has one of the best business climates and economic outlooks in the country, and if we stay disciplined and determined, we will get our economy back on solid footing. I know we can do this, because we’ve been doing it.

 

 

“Over the last three years, we have been changing course and changing the culture of government – thinking bolder, doing better. Our strategies are working. Even in the worst global economic conditions in generations, we’re leading Colorado to a stronger, brighter future.”

 

 

The Governor outlined his top priorities for the legislative session, including:

 

 

·         Keeping the state budget balanced, saving money and making government more effective through proposals such as the Medicaid Efficiency Act.

 

 

·         Creating jobs and growing Colorado’s New Energy Economy through proposals such as an increase to the state’s renewable energy standard, boosting it from the current 20 percent by 2020 requirement to 30 percent by 2020, and increasing demand for Colorado’s cleaner-burning natural gas.

 

 

·         Making the Colorado State Park system the first in the country to use zero net energy.

 

 

·         Modernizing teacher and student assessments, including replacing the CSAP test with a new assessment tool by 2011 or 2012.

 

 

·         Strengthening public safety through legislation to regulate and rein in abuses in Colorado’s voter-approved medical marijuana program, toughen penalties for repeat drunk-driving offenses, and improve the state’s child-protection system.

Toking Tourism – The Guide for Colorado Visitors on Marijuana

 

·         Shoring up the state’s Public Employee Retirement Association pension fund.

 

 

“We have a higher responsibility to join together, to overcome our challenges, to turn to what Abraham Lincoln called the ‘better angels of our nature,'” Gov. Ritter told lawmakers. “Decades from now, our grandchildren will look back at this moment and ask us what it was like, the same way we look back at the Great Depression. This is a hinge in history, and I hope we can tell them that yes, it was tough, but we worked together and rose to the challenge.”

 

 

# # #

 

 

GOVERNOR BILL RITTER, JR.

 

 

STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

 

 

Joint Session of the 67th Colorado General Assembly

 

House Chambers, State Capitol

 

11 a.m., January 14, 2010

 

 

Introduction

 

 

I have had the privilege of serving as the governor of Colorado for three years now. And what a privilege it is. After having traveled and lived in other places around the world, I believe in every fiber of my being that Colorado is the best place on the globe to live and to raise a family.

 

 

As a people, we care deeply about each other. We look for ways to build a different and better future for our children, for our grandchildren. We are innovators and creators, we are rugged, and determined. And when tough times or a tragedy strikes, we respond not as outsiders or strangers, but as part of the family. It sets us apart.

 

 

As a state, Colorado is blessed with diverse natural resources. Our landscape is pristine, the minerals and fossil fuels bountiful. The sun, the wind, the headwaters of seven river systems, agricultural land, state and national forests, are all part of a natural ecosystem that is the envy of so many.

 

 

Colorado is a beacon to many other places in this world. But if our light is to shine brightly, those of us who have answered the call to serve our state in elected or appointed office, have a different responsibility. We must work every day, all day, at achieving the full God-given potential of this state and of its people.

 

 

To live up to that responsibility, we must agree that our service has a meaning and a purpose that is greater than any one of us in this room. At this pivotal point in Colorado’s history, with the challenges we face, I know we can and must set aside the weaker impulses of partisanship.  Colorado is in a better place because of the wisdom and humanity among you, and Coloradans deserve no less than your best ideas and your selfless determination for a stronger Colorado.

 

 

In this, my last year as Governor, I recommit to working tirelessly alongside you. We have accomplished much, but time is short, and there remains much work to be done on behalf of the people of Colorado.

 

 

President Shaffer, Speaker Carroll, honorable members of the House and the Senate, thank you for allowing me to stand in this chamber and deliver my fourth and final State of the State Address. Mr. Speaker, as the first African American Speaker of the House, you have broken new ground. Above and beyond that, you are serving the people of Colorado with distinction, and it has been an honor to serve with both you and President Shaffer.

 

 

To our distinguished partners in service: Lt. Gov. O’Brien, Treasurer Kennedy, Attorney General Suthers, Secretary of State Buescher, and Senator Bennet …

 

 

Members of the Supreme Court and Board of Education, Mayor Hickenlooper, other local government leaders and Tribal Chairs …

 

 

To members of my Cabinet and my staff, members of the public and all those outside this chamber, including the Colorado National Guard and all Coloradans defending our freedoms abroad, thank you for the privilege to serve as your governor.

 

 

I especially want to thank my wife and Colorado’s first lady, Jeannie. Thank you for everything you do for the people of Colorado and for all you do for our own family. Two of our four children, Tally and Sam, are here this morning, as well as my mother, Ethel, and many of my siblings. Thank you for your support, your understanding and your love.

 

 

Turning Obstacles into Assets

 

 

In 2006, I ran for governor because Colorado was not living up to its full potential. We needed a course correction, to think bigger, to do better. So four years ago, Barbara O’Brien and I – with the help of so many dedicated Coloradans – laid out our vision and our goals to lead Colorado forward.

 

 

Together we all are turning obstacles into assets, implementing lasting solutions to our serious challenges, and helping Coloradans in every community achieve the Colorado Promise.

 

 

 

We’re making the New Energy Economy our calling card to the future.

 

 

We’re growing other Industries of the Future – aerospace, the biosciences and technology.

 

 

We’re leading on innovation and manufacturing, because Colorado is chock-full of visionaries who wake up every morning and say, “What can I create, what can I make today?”

 

 

We’re cutting taxes for small businesses, helping small businesses get access to loans, and bringing new jobs and new companies to Colorado.

 

 

We’re expanding access to healthcare, improving quality and building a foundation for greater cost controls.

 

 

We’re bringing the first new sustainable funding for transportation in 20 years, with the first FASTER safety and repair projects set to begin in just a few months.

 

 

We’re laying the groundwork for long-term fiscal reform.

 

 

On education, we’ve been Racing to the Top for years. More children are enrolled in preschool and full-day kindergarten than ever before. We’re tackling the drop-out rate, and CSAPs are going the way of the dinosaurs.

 

 

Over the last three years, we have been changing course and changing the culture of government – thinking bolder, doing better. Our strategies are working. Even in the worst global economy in generations, we’re leading Colorado to a brighter future full of opportunity and promise.

 

 

Working for You

 

 

Since taking office, I’ve visited every corner of Colorado – 250 visits outside the metro area in communities like Antonito and Alamosa, Pueblo and Palisade, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs.

 

 

I’ve visited with Coloradans who are struggling, and with those who are succeeding, fulfilling the Colorado Promise every single day.

 

 

From nearly all of them, I hear this simple message: stay focused on creating jobs and making government leaner and more efficient; invest in our future; strengthen our safety net.

 

 

It’s a tall order. But in these extraordinary and precarious times, let’s listen to our constituents. Let’s stay focused on job creation, on doing what’s necessary for Colorado families and small businesses, on doing what’s right for the future of Colorado.

 

 

We cannot get distracted by partisan politics or the trivial pursuits that threaten to take us away from our core mission of economic recovery. It will not be enough to stay on the sidelines, to constantly criticize, to offer nothing but $10 solutions to billion-dollar problems. We have a higher responsibility, and if you are not at the table providing solutions, then you are part of the problem.

 

 

While this has been a tough time, and while there will be setbacks, we are making progress. Colorado has one of the best business climates and economic outlooks in the country, and if we stay disciplined and determined, we will get our economy back on solid footing. I know we can do this, because we’ve been doing it.

 

 

Cutting Costs & Increasing Efficiencies

 

 

The budget will drive much of this session, and it will be even more challenging than last year.

 

 

Since mid-2008, we’ve closed shortfalls of $2 billion because of the recession. We have a billion-dollar shortfall to close in the coming budget. Over the next few weeks, I will be submitting additional budget-cutting plans to the Joint Budget Committee.

 

 

While our efforts have helped stabilize our economy, and while an economic recovery is indeed underway, a revenue recovery is a year away. That means more tough, unpopular – but necessary – decisions. It means we all need to have the courage to ask government agencies, state employees, private businesses and public schools to share in the solutions.

 

 

We’re going to have to do things we don’t want to do. We’re going to have to take a balanced approach to keeping the budget balanced, without damaging our ability to recover and grow jobs.

 

 

Representative Pommer, Senator Keller and other members of the JBC, thank you for your partnership, your wisdom and your compassion for the people of Colorado.

 

 

This is an unenviable time, but it is when values, leadership and strength matter the most. And thanks to the tough choices we’ve been making, Colorado is coming back, better than before.

 

 

Our government efficiency review found more than $200 million in savings and benefits and is proving that good government works and can make people’s lives better.

 

 

We’re eliminating tens of millions of dollars in healthcare waste and fraud.

 

 

We’re saving money by greening government, and this session we will pursue legislation to make our state parks the first net-zero energy park system in the country.

 

 

We’re making more services available online and making government more transparent by posting thousands of documents on the web for everyone to see.

 

 

We’re adapting to a new economic reality, making government smarter and more efficient, just as families and businesses are doing all across Colorado.

 

 

This session, we’re going to need to shore up the public employee retirement fund, and I’m pleased that we are nearing a bipartisan solution.

 

 

 

Longer-term, we need to continue the debate over Colorado’s financial future. We need to have an honest conversation with the public about what kind of services they want their government to provide, and how much it will cost to provide those services to 5 million people today and to nearly 10 million by 2050.

 

 

We started the discussion with Ref C. We made significant progress last year by loosening the knot of conflicting fiscal mandates with Senate Bill 228. But we have a long way to go before we completely untie the knot. We must keep the dialogue going in order to achieve smarter, more sensible and modern budgeting.

 

 

More urgently, Coloradans must unite against three of the most backward-thinking ballot measures this state has ever seen. Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 would shut down colleges and prisons, increase class sizes, put thousands of teachers out of work, and prevent the repair of unsafe roads and bridges.

 

 

If these measures pass, the state could never again support building another public school, library or rec center. The cynical game the proponents are playing with our future would quite literally destroy the safety net and wipe out any hope of creating a better future for our children.

 

 

That’s not the Colorado I want. I want a Colorado that opens doors to opportunity, not slams them shut.

 

 

I want a Colorado where elected leaders from both parties have the courage to stand up and oppose those three ballot measures.

 

 

I want a Colorado where we create jobs, help companies like Sierra Nevada, Norgren, The Water Company and Infinite Power Solutions expand. I want a Colorado where we attract new companies like Vestas, DaVita and SMA Solar. Representatives from some of the firms I mentioned are with us today. Thank you for helping us to transform Colorado’s economy.

 

 

Creating Jobs and Energizing our Economy

 

 

In these uncertain times, the New Energy Economy – which did not exist three years ago – continues to be our beacon to a brighter future. Today, thanks to many of the people in this chamber, we’re leading the nation in this critical area.

 

 

We’re creating thousands of new jobs, new markets and new revenues.

 

 

We’re nurturing a culture of innovation from the best energy research corridor in the world.

 

 

We’re manufacturing 21st century products from state-of-the-art factories.

 

 

We’re providing affordable, reliable and efficient energy for people all across Colorado.

 

 

We are pioneers. Colorado voters were the first in the country to pass a renewable energy standard. We doubled that standard in 2007, and because of our work, we are five years ahead of schedule to reach the current 20 percent goal.

 

 

So, this session let’s think bigger, creating even larger markets for solar, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal. Let’s increase our standard to 30 percent.

 

 

This will trigger the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, draw new capital investments and new companies to our state, and keep Colorado at the epicenter of America’s energy revolution. It will increase our energy independence and further reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

 

 

This session, we also have an opportunity to lead the nation in expanding the role of cleaner-burning natural gas in our energy portfolio. Natural gas has always been part of the New Energy Economy, and this year we look forward to solidifying its role for the future.

 

 

Over the past few months, I’ve been working closely with the natural gas industry, with utilities and with other stakeholders. We’re looking at ways to increase the use of Colorado natural gas to generate electricity, reduce air pollution, stabilize energy bills for consumers – and create jobs.

 

 

Together, we have enacted 40 pieces of legislation to build the New Energy Economy. This year, we can continue leading the country and letting the nation and the world know that this truly is our calling card to the future.

 

 

Educating Kids

 

 

Colorado’s future also depends on our continued efforts to improve our schools and student learning. Thank you Lt. Governor O’Brien, Education Commissioner Jones and our partners in the legislature for making education reform one of this state’s highest priorities.

 

 

When we took office, we began to change the culture around education reform, and change the future for Colorado’s children. Together, we’ve moved away from the old partisan fights of the past to a more collaborative approach that’s focused on student learning and teacher effectiveness, training and retention.

 

 

 

We’re doing a better job educating our kids, and next week we will submit a very competitive Race to the Top grant application. Frankly, regardless of whether Colorado receives a Race to the Top grant, we’ve already won. We are now a national leader in education reform. Our Race to the Top began in 2007 when I stood here to deliver my very first State of the State Address.

 

 

Three years ago, I laid out several 10-year goals for education: cut the dropout rate in half, close achievement gaps, and double the number of college degrees earned by Colorado students.

 

 

Ever since, we’ve been implementing reform after reform. Thanks to those efforts, Colorado now has the most current and rigorous set of standards for classroom learning.

 

 

While our strategies are working, we can do a better job giving kids a smart start in life. Last year, thousands of students who should have graduated, dropped out. Too many high school graduates aren’t college-ready, and too many new employees aren’t workforce-ready.

 

 

This year, we’re going to keep moving forward, with legislation that will take us closer to the day when we end CSAP testing as we know it.

 

 

We’ll still assess our kids, and we’ll assess more rigorously than ever before, because we need to know what they know and what they can do. We will modernize assessments so the tests help our teachers teach, help our students learn, and help our parents engage in their children’s education.

 

 

On higher education, we will continue to protect Colorado’s colleges and universities. Even in this downturn, with the help of the Recovery Act, we have protected higher-ed and kept college affordable. Our P-20 Council and Jobs Cabinet are all creating a seamless strategy for education, workforce development and business development.

 

 

And you will all be happy to know that my last blue-ribbon panel will spend this year crafting a long-term strategic plan for the future of higher-ed in Colorado.

 

 

The stakes are high, because if there is one single key that unlocks the doors of opportunity, it’s education. If there is one single key to economic recovery, it is education. And if there is one single key to addressing poverty, it is education. The best economic-development strategy and the best anti-poverty strategy is an education strategy.

 

 

Protecting People

 

 

We’re also showing the country how to craft a smarter criminal-justice strategy.

 

 

As a former district attorney, I knew we needed to take a different approach, to develop a comprehensive vision, while still making public safety our number one priority.

 

 

We created a School Safety Resource Center. We established an Office of Homeland Security, and we began reforming our prisons.

 

 

Our violent crime rate is down. Traffic fatalities are at a 30-year low, and motor-vehicle thefts have been cut in half over the past five years.

 

 

For decades, prison spending was growing faster than any other part of the budget. We spend more each year keeping 22,000 prison inmates behind bars than we do educating 220,000 college students. That is not a sustainable formula for success.

 

 

So we implemented evidence-based strategies to keep the public safe, reduce recidivism and save money. For the first time in anyone’s memory, we’ve reversed the upward trajectory of prison growth and prison spending. We’re being tough on crime, and smart on crime. We’re taking a more thoughtful approach, which is also a more cost-effective approach.

 

 

Another place where we need to find balance is medical marijuana. We need to uphold the will of the voters while reining in abuses and bringing common sense to the chaos that now exists. Together, we can achieve bipartisan solutions that clarify the doctor-patient relationship and address the proliferation of dispensaries. I urge the General Assembly to act quickly in this area.

 

 

We also need to address an additional public safety issue by toughening the penalties for drunk driving. We need stronger enforcement, stiffer punishments, and better treatment. I call on this body to deliver a bill that does just that.

 

 

Public safety involves more than just criminal justice. It’s also the safety net. Especially in a downturn, we have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. We can be both fiscally conservative leaders, and leaders who serve with grace and compassion.

 

 

So we will move ahead with legislation to better protect those who depend on us the most, including abused and neglected children – because one child’s death is one too many. My deep thanks to the Child Welfare Action Committee. Their good work has already saved lives.

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

There is no question that we are making historic progress. We are moving Colorado forward. We are changing the culture of government and the direction of Colorado. We are helping more and more Coloradans live up to their God-given potential, and we’re transforming Colorado so that we emerge from the downturn stronger and better than before.

 

 

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Well, we have the right vision and the right strategies in place, and there is no better place than Colorado for turning challenges into opportunities. No better place for letting the politics of what’s possible trump the politics of fear and cynicism.

 

 

Our state budget situation – it’s an opportunity to adapt to a new economic reality, to re-invent government, to finally craft a long-term strategic plan for higher education.

 

 

As difficult as our challenges may seem, we are in a better position than most other states. Colorado has faced much more difficult times in the past, and has come out stronger and more determined. To this day, we’re still benefiting from the resilience, innovation and imagination of Colorado leaders who came before us.

 

 

The skills of Colorado’s famed 10th Mountain Division gave us today’s modern ski industry.

 

 

The vision of the Coloradans in the 1800s who expanded the rail lines east and west, north and south, allowed Colorado to grow and prosper.

 

 

And the courage of men like David Moffat and Walter Cheesman, who overcame obstacles – or, went through them – gave us a network of water pipelines, channels and reservoirs that today sustain millions of Coloradans.

 

 

Today, our responsibility is to provide that same gift of determination to the generations of Coloradans who will follow us. This session – this year – we must keep building a bridge to Colorado’s future. We should never be afraid to imagine big, and we must keep executing the strategies that are moving Colorado forward.

 

 

But no strategy is self-executing. We have a higher responsibility to join together, to overcome our challenges, to turn to what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature.”

 

 

Decades from now, our grandchildren will look back at this moment and ask us what it was like, the same way we look back at the Great Depression. This is a hinge in history, and I hope we can tell them that yes, it was tough, but we worked together and rose to the challenge.

 

 

Colorado, thank you again for the privilege of serving as your governor.

 

 

God bless you.

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT FROM GOV. RITTER ON HICKENLOOPER’S RUN FOR GOVERNOR


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement of support for Mayor John Hickenlooper’s gubernatorial candidacy:

 

“John Hickenlooper is a great mayor and he’s going to be a great governor. His strong leadership skills, collaborative problem-solving approach, and his innovative ideas will set him apart. As someone who comes out of the private sector, Mayor Hickenlooper’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and job creation will keep moving Colorado toward a strong, stable and sustainable recovery. His dedication to Colorado‘s New Energy Economy, education reform and economic development are rallying cries that every Coloradan can answer. I’m proud to support John Hickenlooper for governor.”

 

GOV. RITTER OUTLINES 2010 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

 

Standing with state Senate President Brandon Shaffer and House Speaker Terrance Carroll, Gov. Bill Ritter said today he intends to devote his final legislative session to creating good jobs for Coloradans, continuing Colorado’s economic recovery and keeping the state budget balanced.

 

 

“Over the next four months, our laser-like focus will be on economic recovery, job creation and responsibly managing the state’s finances,” Gov. Ritter said. “We’ll continue to work tirelessly on behalf of Colorado’s families and small businesses as we lead Colorado forward.

 

 

“Our strategies are working,” Gov. Ritter said. ” Colorado’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country. We added new jobs to the economy in October and November, and we have one of the best economic outlooks in the nation. This legislative session, we are committed to keeping Colorado on the road to recovery and maintaining Colorado as a national leader on issues such as energy, economic development, education and healthcare.”

 

 

Legislative priorities for the 2010 session include:

 

 

New Energy Economy

 

 

·         Increasing Colorado’s 20 percent by 2020 Renewable Energy Standard to 30 percent by 2020. Gov. Ritter and lawmakers doubled the state’s voter-approved RES in 2007. The 20-by-20 goal is within reach and it’s time to set our goals higher and continue creating tens of thousands of new jobs, increasing Colorado’s energy security and protecting our environment.

 

 

·         Making the Colorado State Park system the first in the country to use zero net energy by 2020. As Colorado continues to expand its New Energy Economy, this is an opportunity to increase the use of renewables and efficiency measures in our state parks while also saving money and creating jobs.

 

 

·         Creating new markets and increasing demand for Colorado natural gas while maintaining Colorado’s balanced approach to responsible drilling and environmental protection.

 

 

Job Creation & Training

 

 

·         Creating new green-job certificates and green-job training programs. As Colorado’s New Energy Economy continues to expand, we need to ensure that Colorado is supplying new energy companies with the best educated and skilled workforce in the country.

 

 

·         Enacting new programs such as Health Care Jobs for Colorado, a Nurse Loan Repayment Program and Job Training Accounts (Dec. 10 news release).

 

 

·         Strengthening Colorado’s creative industries through three pieces of legislation that will make it easier for commercial and videogame producers to access state incentive funds, broaden the state’s Arts in Public Places law, and establish a Creative Industries Division within the Office of Economic Development (Jan. 5 news release).

 

 

Budget

 

 

·         Keeping the state budget balanced by taking a balanced approach that: spreads the burden and minimizes pain; asks state agencies, government employees, private businesses and public schools to share in the solutions; and protects the safety net, public safety and programs that promote job growth. Gov. Ritter will be submitting a new round of budget-cutting proposals to the legislature for FY09-10 in late January and for FY10-11 in mid-February.

 

 

·         Saving money and achieving greater efficiencies in the state’s healthcare budget through a Medicaid Modernization Act that will fight fraud, as well as bills to standardize insurance claims and explanations of benefits, and require insurance companies to write policies in plain language.

 

 

·         Shoring up the state’s Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) pension fund, which is facing almost $30 billion in unfunded liabilities.

 

 

Education

 

 

·         Modernizing teacher and student assessments through legislation that will lead to the replacement of the CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) test in the next year or two, continuing the reforms begun under the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (Senate Bill 08-212).

 

 

Consumer Protection

 

 

·         Helping Colorado consumers through legislation that protects the value of gift cards and protects neighborhoods from abandoned properties that are in foreclosure.

 

 

Public Safety

 

 

·         Strengthening public safety through legislation that will regulate and rein in abuses in Colorado’s voter-approved medical marijuana program, toughen up penalties for repeat drunk-driving offenses, and improve the state’s child-protection system.

Toking Tourism – The Guide for Colorado Visitors on Marijuana

 

 

 

My Decision


As you may know by now, I have decided not to run for re-election in 2010.

I am so proud of all you have done to support my campaign. Your incredible support of this effort put us in a strong position to win re-election. And I’m confident that your sustained commitment to our forward-thinking vision for the state will ensure we elect a governor who continues leading Colorado forward this November.

So before I explain my deeply personal decision not to run for re-election, let me just say: thank you.

Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2005, I began running for governor of Colorado.

My campaign theme — the Colorado Promise — was a deeply held belief that we as a state were not living up to our full potential.

So we laid out a vision to create a New Energy Economy, to build up other Industries of the Future like aerospace and biosciences, to reform our education and healthcare systems, and to modernize our transportation system.
 
Today, even in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that vision is becoming a reality. We are leading Colorado forward. People all across Colorado are fulfilling the Colorado Promise, and Colorado is on the road to recovery.
 
It is my privilege and my honor to serve as governor of the greatest state in America.
 
Over the past years, but particularly over this last year, I have attempted to balance many roles in my life. I have been the governor, I have been a candidate for re-election, and I have also been a husband and a father.
 
I am proud of my work as governor. I am proud of the direction of the state.
 
I am proud of my campaign, of the staff we have built, and of our re-election efforts.
 
It is my family who has sacrificed the most — my wife, Jeannie, and my four kids. I have not found the proper balance where my family is concerned, and I have not made them the priority they should be.
 
Ending one of my roles — as a candidate for re-election in 2010 — will allow me to concentrate on the things that are most important: taking care of my family, and taking care of Colorado.

While this decision allows me to make my family a priority, it also allows me to focus on keeping the state budget balanced and keeping Colorado on the road to recovery.

The Colorado economy is getting better, but we still have budget-cutting to do on the ’09-’10 and ’10-’11 budgets, and we’ll be submitting the ’11-’12 budget in November.

By not running for re-election, I’ll be able to make the tough and unpopular decisions that simply need to get made — free and clear of the sometimes bitter partisan politics of an election year.

We’re positioning Colorado for a strong recovery with our New Energy Economy, our job-creation strategies and our education reforms.

The rest of the country is looking to Colorado on everything from the economy to energy to education.

We’re in a great position, and we’re on the right path. I look forward to spending the next 12 months keeping our budget balanced and our economy growing.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me the honor and the privilege to serve as your governor — and for all that you have done to help lead Colorado forward.

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GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION

 

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he will not seek re-election this November to a second term. He issued the following statement during a news conference at the Capitol:

 

“Good morning. Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2005, I began running for governor of Colorado. My campaign theme – the Colorado Promise – was a deeply held belief that we as a state were not living up to our full potential.

 

“So we laid out a vision to create a New Energy Economy, to build up other Industries of the Future like aerospace and the biosciences, to reform our education and healthcare systems, and to modernize our transportation system.

 

“Today, even in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that vision is becoming a reality. We are leading Colorado forward. People all across Colorado are fulfilling the Colorado Promise, and Colorado is on the road to recovery.

 

“It is my privilege and my honor to serve as governor of the greatest state in America, and it is my privilege and honor to serve with the greatest lieutenant governor, Barbara O’Brien.

 

“Over the past years, but particularly over this last year, I have attempted to balance many roles in my life. I have been the governor, I have been a candidate for re-election, and I have also been a husband and a father.

 

“I am proud of my work as governor. I am proud of the direction we are taking this state. I am proud of everyone who works in this administration. I am proud of my campaign, of the staff we have built, and of our re-election efforts.

 

“It is my family who has sacrificed the most, my wife, Jeannie, my kids, three of whom are here today. I have not found the proper balance where my family is concerned, and I have not made them the priority they should be. So today I’m announcing that I’m ending one of my roles. I am no longer a candidate for re-election this November.

 

“This will allow me to concentrate on the things that are most important – taking care of my family, and taking care of Colorado.

 

“I’m 53 years old. I have been in the public sector or public service for most of the past 30 years. I was a prosecutor right out of law school. Jeannie and I spent three years in Zambia, Africa as Catholic missionaries. I was the elected District Attorney of Denver for 12 years, and I’ve been governor for the past three years.

 

“But I still have one son in college and two children living at home, and they need me. And so does Jeannie.

 

“While this decision allows me to make my family a priority, it also allows me to focus on keeping the state budget balanced and keeping Colorado on the road to recovery.

 

“The Colorado economy is getting better, but we still have budget-cutting to do on the 09-10 and 10-11 budgets, and we’ll be submitting the 11-12 budget in November. By not running for re-election, I’ll be able to make the tough and unpopular decisions that simply need to get made – free and clear of the sometimes bitter partisan politics of an election year.

 

“We’re positioning Colorado for a strong recovery with our New Energy Economy, our job-creation strategies and our education reforms. The rest of the country is looking to Colorado on everything from the economy to energy to education.

 

“We’re in a great position, and we’re on the right path. I look forward to spending the next 12 months keeping our budget balanced and our economy growing. We still have a lot of very important work to do.”

 

Salazar’s Statement on Governor Ritter’s Announcement That He Will Not Seek a Second Term as Governor of Colorado


WASHINGTON, D.C. – 
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the following statement on Governor Bill Ritter’s announcement that he will not be seeking a second term as Governor of Colorado:

 

“Bill Ritter has been a devoted servant of the public at great sacrifice to self and family. I have enjoyed our work together during my time as Attorney General, United States Senator and Secretary of the Interior.  I wish him and his family all the best and thank him for his service.”

 

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GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES EFFORTS TO HELP COLORADO RECIPIENTS OF RECOVERY ACT FUNDS

Gov. Bill Ritter announced new federal reporting requirements for recipients of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, as part of continued efforts to make government more transparent and accountable.  The Governor’s Economic Recovery Team will host a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7, to help recipients understand the changes and comply with the new reporting requirements.


“More than $5.7 billion dollars will come to Colorado through the Recovery Act to support struggling families, keep businesses afloat and to create and retain jobs,” said Gov. Ritter. “One of my administration’s priorities is to make government more transparent. My Recovery Act Team is reaching out to Colorado agencies and businesses receiving Recovery funds to help them submit accurate and timely information on how these funds are being used.”

Between now and January 15, more than 400 businesses, nonprofit groups and government agencies across Colorado are expected to submit spending and job data to the federal government.  Recipients of grants, loans and contracts must send data to the federal government every three months for the next year or two to comply with Section 1512 of the Recovery Act. This is the second round of reporting. 

The data reporting process is overseen by the federal government, mainly through the Office of Management and Budget and the national Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. Federal agencies have enacted changes for this second round of reporting, which include:

·         Changes to how job numbers should be calculated

·         Extending the deadline for data submission to January 15, 2010

·         Allowing recipients to change their reports until April 2010

·         Changes to the online reporting system that will flag potential mistakes, including incorrect congressional districts and job data, before reports can be submitted.

 

To help recipients and the media understand the changes in the process, the Governor’s Economic Recovery Team will host a meeting and conference call on Thursday, January 7, 2010, 1:30 p.m., at the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, 601 E. 18th Avenue, Confluence Park conference room, second floor. To access by phone, please call 720-348-8440 and submit room number *1922422*.

As part of an unprecedented level of openness about government spending, all information submitted by recipients in October 2009, has been posted on the national Recovery Act website, www.recovery.gov. Data submitted this month will be posted at the end of the month.

Recovery Act funds are expected to come to Colorado over the next two years. The funds are distributed through income tax cuts, small business loans, research grants, infrastructure projects and investments in growth industries. A county-level breakdown of funds can be found on the state website, www.colorado.gov/recovery.


 

 

 

 

GOV. RITTER’S SCHEDULE FOR TODAY AND WEDNESDAY

          

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010

                       

10:30 a.m.                   Gov. Ritter, Lt. Gov. O’Brien and lawmakers will announce three new pieces of legislation to help create jobs in Colorado’s growing film, arts and other creative industries. A recent economic analysis shows that creative industries support 186,000 jobs in Colorado, making it the fifth-largest and among the fastest-growing job clusters in the state. Location: Newell Design Studio, 2644 Walnut, Denver.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010

           

10 a.m.                        Gov. Bill Ritter will be joined by Microsoft Senior Vice President Gail Thomas Flynn to announce a public-private venture that will provide opportunities for thousands of Coloradans to receive free online job training at workforce centers throughout the state. Location: Adams CountyWorkforce and BusinessCenter,

12200 N. Pecos St., Westminster

.