Colorado Capitol Report

Awaiting the Election Outcome: Four More Days!

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State Policy News

Awaiting the Election Outcome: Four More Days!

By next Wednesday morning, the intense, partisan political smoke that has smothered Colorado for months will clear, and the Colorado business community will have a much better idea of its fate when state lawmakers convene on Wednesday, January 7th, for the first regular session of the 70th General Assembly.

CACI’s objective for the legislative elections has been two-fold:

  1. Seek at least split control of the legislature by the two political parties, which is what prevailed in 2011 and 2012 when Democrats controlled the Senate and Republicans controlled the House; and
  2. Support incumbent legislators–no matter on which side of the political “aisle” they sit—who worked cooperatively with CACI on business legislation.

Currently, the Democrats control the Senate by only one vote.  In the House, the Democrats control the chamber 37 to 28.

CACI’s strategy to reach this objective has mainly involved its months-long, intensive process to assess both new and incumbent legislative candidates and then provide them with an endorsement and financial support from its political committees.

CACI endorsed 49 pro-business Republican and Democratic legislative candidates.  Three major issues dominated CACI’s exhaustive endorsement process this year: support for business tax credits, exemptions and exclusions; opposition to increased local control of oil-and-gas industry operations; and support for the mining industry.

“CACI’s work has been governed by a concept of political balance in the legislature next year not only in terms of party control of the two chambers,” said Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice president, State and Federal Relations, “but also for political balance within each chamber’s caucuses.”

The first, most readily apparent definition of “balance” would be for each party to control one of the chambers, which forces the two parties to move to the center and compromise on legislation.  Such a balance prevailed during the 2011 and 2012 sessions when Republicans controlled the House and Democrats controlled the Senate.

But, after the Democrats retook the House in 2012, the result was strong Democratic control of both chambers (20 to 15 in the Senate and 37 to 28 in the House), with the result that the 2013 session became one of the most acrimonious sessions in recent memory, bitterly divided over such issues as civil justice, guns, marijuana, election-law changes, civil unions and conflict over a renewable energy mandate increase for rural areas.

Then, in September, came the first-ever recall elections of state legislators in Colorado history: Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) were recalled because of their support of the gun laws passed earlier by the legislature.  They were replaced, respectively, by Republicans Bernie Herpin and George Rivera.

The recall elections dramatically narrowed the Democratic control of the Senate to one vote: 18 to 17.  With the advent of the 2014 session, a few, moderate, pro-business Democratic lawmakers suddenly wielded great political power, the implication being that they could side with the minority Republicans and block proposals advocated by the more liberal wing of the Senate Democratic caucus.  Indeed, Senator Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) was christened “The Gatekeeper” by The Denver Business Journal during the session because she was the most pro-business Democratic senator.

Here’s how CACI summarized the 2014 session in its report to its members:

The phrase, “Moderation in all Things,” is a common extrapolation of Aristotle’s “Doctrine of the Mean” or finding middle ground.  The 2014 Session can be viewed by CACI as an example of this common saying and was evident with the passage of bills that involved months of dialogue between the parties and were resolved through fair and meaningful compromise.  The session also had its fair share of bad-for-business bills, however, CACI and its allies lobbied against those bills, which were successfully killed on the vine.

Consequently, the second definition of “balance” for CACI will be that–if the Democrats narrowly retain control of the Senate–there will be one or two, moderate, pro-business Democratic senators who can carry on the “gatekeeper” function, thus preventing the Senate from passing extreme, anti-business bills.  As for the House, most Statehouse observers believe that, even if the Republicans pick up a couple of seats, the chamber will remain firmly under Democratic control.

In key, competitive legislative districts, CACI endorsed the following 11 candidates, and it now urges its members to vote for them:


Senate District 5, Don Suppes (R)

Senate District 11, Senator Bernie Herpin (R)

Senate District 19, Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D)

Senate District 20, Senator Cheri Jahn (D)

Senate District 24, Beth Martinez Humenik (R)


House District 3, Candice Benge (R)

House District 17, Kit Roupe (R)

House District 29, Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D)

House District 33, Marijo Tinlin (R)

House District 50, Representative Dave Young (D)

House District 59, J. Paul Brown (R)

For more analysis of the election, read:

Distinct agendas, riddled with holes, in Colorado governor’s race,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, October 27th.

Colorado is still a political battleground,” opinion, by Floyd Ciruli, The Denver Post, October 25th.

Hickenlooper, Beauprez get down to biz at CACI debate,” by Miller Hudson, The Colorado Statesman, October 24th.

For more information about CACI’s legislative candidate endorsements, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

CACI’s Dave Tabor Takes to the Air Waves on 710 KNUS Radio

Dave Tabor (right) on October 14th hosts “Pro-Business Colorado!”  Producer is Tammy Schmidt (center).  Brakes Plus CEO Dean Piscotta shown left.

Dave Tabor (right) on October 14th hosts “Pro-Business Colorado!” Producer is Tammy Schmidt (center). Brakes Plus CEO Dean Piscotta shown left.

Dave Tabor, Senior Vice President of Business Partnerships, is the host of “Pro-Business Colorado!,” a one-hour show on 710 KNUS AM radio.  The show shares the stories of successful Colorado business leaders and business owners.  The show airs on alternating Saturdays, beginning at 1 p.m.

The guests tomorrow will be CACI Board Member and Former Board Chair, Rob LeVine, General Manager, Antlers at Vail, and Steve Kinsley, Principal, Kinsley and Associates.

Podcasts of past programs can be accessed via the CACI Web site.

The objectives for “Pro-Business Colorado” are to:

  • Raise visibility for CACI, the state chamber of commerce;
  • Build support for a positive business climate by educating the general public about Colorado business leaders; and
  • Create visibility for the guests and their businesses.

For more information about the show, contact Dave at 303.866.9650.


Manufacturing Initiative

CACI and NAM Honor Congressman Gardner for Supporting Manufacturing

Patrick Pratt, Dave Petroy (Director, Marketing & Sustainability), Chuck Berry, Cong. Cory Gardner, Jeff Frim (CEO & President), Jerry Reed (VP, Human Resources), Leah Curtsinger

Patrick Pratt, Dave Petroy (Director, Marketing & Sustainability), Chuck Berry, Cong. Cory Gardner, Jeff Frim (CEO & President), Jerry Reed (VP, Human Resources), Leah Curtsinger

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence recognizes legislators who listen to the needs of businesses and manufacturers.

“It recognizes the hard work of legislators, like Cory, who fight to protect the interests of job creators and innovators and who support a legislative platform for manufacturing success,” said Chuck Berry, CACI President, “As NAM says, this award was created to recognize those legislators who, ‘support policies enhancing the ability of U.S. manufacturers to succeed in the global economy.’”

To receive this award, legislators must support manufacturing legislation at least 75 percent of the time.  Congressman Gardner went above and beyond this mark, supporting manufacturing 97 percent of the time.  NAM also gave this award to Colorado Congressmen Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman.


nam logo_1


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             Media Contacts:
Jamie Hennigan (NAM) – 202-637-3090
Leah Curtsinger (CACI) – 303-866-9641

 NAM Joins Golden Aluminum and the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI) to Honor Rep. Gardner for Supporting Manufacturing

Washington, D.C., October 30, 2014 – Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) awarded Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-04) the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence at an event hosted by NAM member company Golden Aluminum and the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI) in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

“I’m honored to be receiving the National Association of Manufacturers’ legislators award today,” said Rep. Gardner. “The manufacturing industry has guided our nation’s development for centuries, and will continue to create American jobs and opportunities as we move forward. It’s our job in Congress to put forth policies that help get Colorado back to work, and I’m proud to work with the National Association of Manufacturers to do just that.”

“Golden Aluminum has been manufacturing aluminum sheet for the global food and beverage packaging industry for over 30 years,” said Jeff Frim of Golden Aluminum. “Manufacturing is a key component of any economy by providing the opportunity for economic growth and good paying jobs. It is good to make things! As one of Colorado’s largest manufacturers and exporters, Golden Aluminum is proud to host the presentation of the NAM award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence to Congressman Cory Gardner.”

“Manufacturing is essential to the success of our economy and our Colorado communities,” said CACI President Chuck Berry.  “We are especially proud of the support & dedication Congressman Cory Gardner has shown as a champion for manufacturing in our state & Congress.”

“Manufacturing in Colorado and across the country is making a comeback,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers are growing the economy and creating high-paying jobs in a sector that adds $1.32 to the economy for every $1 spent. Rep. Gardner understands that leaders in Washington must advance policies that will continue to fuel this economic growth and has consistently supported manufacturers through his votes in Congress.”

Key Votes included in the Voting Record are selected by small, medium and large manufacturing executives who serve on the NAM’s Key Vote Advisory Committee. Additional information on the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence can be found here.

President Obama Announces Executive Actions to Promote Advanced Manufacturing

On October 27th, President Obama unveiled his plan to strengthen the U.S. advanced manufacturing sector, encourage innovation and attract jobs and investment.

This plan builds on steps the Administration has already taken to promote manufacturing, including the launch of manufacturing innovation institutes, investment of nearly $1 billion to upgrade community college training programs for manufacturing, increased investment in applied research in manufacturing technologies and creation of a veterans’ job training program.

President Obama’s executive actions are based on recommendations from a report of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP).  The AMP, formed in 2011, is a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology.  The group is comprised of executives from manufacturing and academia. In their final report, the AMP identified three pillars that support manufacturing: (1) enabling innovation, (2) securing the talent pipeline and (3) improving the business climate.

The Executive actions seek to enable innovation by connecting manufacturers with the technology available at national laboratories and through a $300 million investment in research and development of advanced materials, including composites, bio-based materials, advanced sensors and digital manufacturing.  The actions aim to secure the talent pipeline through a $100 million grant competition to develop new, scalable apprenticeship models.  The actions will attempt to improve the business climate through investments in state-based Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs), like Colorado’s Manufacturer’s Edge.

Manufacturing has received a lot of attention recently thanks to the sector’s incredible growth over the last few years.  According to the White House, American manufacturers have added more than 700,000 jobs since February 2010, a faster pace than over the previous twenty years. Much of this recent success is due to lower energy costs, thanks to increased domestic production and a general rise in wages for overseas labor.

To learn more about CACI’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative (CMI), contact Patrick Pratt, CMI Program Manager, at 303.656.6915.