DENVER – On Friday, Senator Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) was elected to the position of President of the Senate following a full vote of the chamber. After being sworn in, President Garcia delivered an address on the opening day of the 2019 legislative session.
Garcia acknowledged the diversity in the senate, which includes a majority of women in the Democratic Caucus as well as “one of the most demographically and geographically diverse caucuses in recent history.”
He added, “New leaders bring bold solutions that will carry our great state forward. Institutional knowledge combined with new perspectives will move us towards a better future for every Coloradan.”
A Marine Corps veteran, Garcia acknowledged his family members and those serving in the armed services, as a member of law enforcement, or public safety.
A sixth generation Coloradan, Garcia recounted some of his family’s history in southern Colorado, which included hard work in the coal mines and the fields. “They lived their American Dream – a dream that would become a reality by providing a better life for their families,” he said. “This value of hard work has been passed down from generation to generation, eventually shared with my parents who started a small, modest business in Pueblo.”
He said he also learned the value of hard work, which has served him well, especially in the Marine Corps.
“For me, it was during that time that I learned not only the importance of service and honor, but to care for and respect my brothers and sisters in arms, regardless of where they came from or what their political views were. That was never truer than when I served in Iraq. It did not matter who was to your left or right. We understood that we had a collective mission – and we had to have each other’s back!
“It is that understanding of hard work and spirit of collaboration that we must bring back to the capitol. For too long, we have allowed political party to divide us. As a result, ego and politics determined what bills moved forward – not the merits of the policy.
“Our state deserves better. Our constituents expect more of us.
“Unlike in Washington, D.C. – this Senate must bring a new energy that will yield a standard of trust and respect. We must engage in dialogue and collaboration. This is how we will find common ground and solutions to the bread and butter issues facing everyday Coloradans.”
Garcia addressed some of the issues facing Coloradoans such as health care, opioid addiction, equal access to quality education and the burden of student loan debt.
“But Coloradans do not give up in the face of challenges like these, and neither can we,” he said. “Colorado is a special place – it is a state filled with people who innovate and find solutions, and I am absolutely confident that this body will be able to find many of those solutions.”
He called on everyone to work together to find those solutions for the people of Colorado.
“If we are willing to work hard and collaborate, we can empower every Coloradan to live their American Dream – just like my family and so many families in this room have been able to do – and ensure we pass on a better Colorado to our children and grandchildren.”