Colorado Capitol Report

2019 Federal Policy Accomplishments


2019 Federal Policy Accomplishments

The Colorado Chamber engages federal lawmakers, agencies and regulators to advocate sensible policies on behalf of our members, to achieve a better business environment statewide.

The federal government’s reach directly affects many of the Chamber’s members, including on issues related to energy and environment, trade and manufacturing, labor and a strong workforce.

Leading the Way Nationally

In 2019, the Colorado Chamber of Commerce elevated our statewide work on behalf of our member companies – and brought our business community’s leadership to national conversations, not just on Capitol Hill, but also through new connections with White House/Administration staff, through trade developments on USMCA, impactful discussion of environmental stewardship, promoting economic diversity and opportunities for and with our members, and opening more doors to Colorado leading the way.

The Colorado Chamber looks forward to continuing our strategic partnerships at the state, Region VIII & national levels to tell the story of businesses here in our state.


The Colorado Chamber worked on behalf of our members to:
  • Provide expert testimony before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Small Business Administration (SBA) & Congressional hearings
  • Provide access to Members of Congress & national thought leaders, not only Colorado’s Congressional delegation
  • Reduce negative impact of DOL Overtime rule through testimony & commonsense approach; prevented $524.8 million in additional employer cost burdens
  • Secure a public EPA ozone hearing on potential changes to Front Range & Denver Metro area; finalized federal work to repeal & replace Clean Power Plan (CPP)
  • Repeal Waters of the U.S. (WoTUS) & replace with more focused definitions related to “navigable waters” & considerations for economic hardships to citizens, businesses & farmers
  • Address REAL workforce development needs – based on what Colorado’s employers see daily
  • Build support for USMCA through polling, Colorado-centric narrative of benefits, plus national working group content contributions; Educate on trade, potential harms of retaliatory tariffs
  • Grow national business & leadership connections through White House Opportunity Zone Roundtable, Region VIII federal partnerships, U.S. Chamber Business Leads Fellowship selection

2019 Federal Policy Councils included:

Getting to Know Congressman Jason Crow, (D-CO-6): First-ever opportunity for the Colorado Chamber hosting a sitting & newly-elected Member of Congress to address Colorado Chamber policy council members.

Agribusiness – A Partnership Made in Colorado: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, State Director Sallie Clark & MillerCoors agronomists talked partnerships & where Colorado’s business and agriculture needs meet.

What ‘Infrastructure’ means to Colorado & Congress: Julie DuVall, State Policy Director for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) & Andy Merritt, State Director for U.S. Sen. Gardner (R-CO); NAM ‘Building to Win’ infrastructure proposal.

 Inspiring Businesses to Lead, Congressman “Mac” Thornberry: Ranking Member (former Chairman) of the House Armed Services Committee & House Intelligence Committee’s message: “Business leaders must stay engaged in the world.”
Colorado Chamber Biennial Congressional Luncheon: Business Leading the Way Forward: Space Force, Workforce, Healthcare, Trade & More! With panelists U.S. House Reps. Crow, DeGette, Lamborn, Neguse & Perlmutter.
Labor: The Current & Future Labor Landscape – How Should Business Prepare? U.S. Chamber’s Glenn Spencer appealed to members about the momentum & burdensome-to-business aspects of the the PRO Act; Board Chairman Stacey Campbell, Principle of Campbell Litigation spoke to Colorado’s labor challenges.

In the last year:

Achieved Federal Action to Address Members’ Concerns –

  • Brought about a Colorado-hosted EPA ozone hearing & public comment period with strong support from our Federal Council members, including more direct access to the EPA following a meeting with Administrator Wheeler in late 2018 (included 7 company Presidents or Executive Directors to ensure Chamber members’ voices were heard).
  • Built support within our Congressional delegation for passage of USMCA through internal member polling, direct lobbying and monthly staffer conversations; solidified delegation re: positions on aluminum tariffs.
  • Put the Colorado Chamber on record through public comments and/or testimony before federal agencies to support our members on Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), replacing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and navigating proposed federal overtime regulations.
  • Partnered with Region VIII Small Business Administration (SBA) to leverage access to funds & work done by SBA to benefit our members; worked with HUD for Opportunity Zone group.
Positioned Colorado Chamber as Destination for National Thought Leaders:
  • Hosted U.S. House Armed Services Ranking Member & Intelligence Committee leader “Mac” Thornberry (R-TX) for discussion with ~70 Chamber members;
  • Hosted EPA Region VIII Administrator/Sr. Counsel to EPA Administrator Wheeler to meet with the Colorado Chamber’s Energy & Environment Policy Council;
  • Participated in White House Economic Zone Roundtable as 1 of 7 outside organizations with five federal Region VIII Administrators in attendance;
  • Had at least 3 Congressional delegation offices represented at every Federal Policy Council or event;
  • Secured Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO-6) for first-ever Member of Congress address to a Colorado Chamber policy council; Secured Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO-2) for Colorado Chamber’s Executive Connections reception.
Contributed to Successful Biennial Congressional Luncheon –
  • Secured and prepared majority of Colorado’s U.S. House Congressional delegation for this biennial stage, including two first-term members;
  • Received recognition from the NAM for putting Colorado’s House delegation on the record for the NAM & Colorado Chamber’s priority policy issues (USMCA, Ex-Im Bank, Healthcare, Workforce) while identifying crucial conversation topics for an audience of Colorado business leaders.
Leah Curtsinger Named U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business LEADS Foundation Fellow –
  • 1 of 30 Chambers of Commerce representatives, and only Colorado member, to collaborate on solutions to local, regional and national workforce development challenges, where 26 of 30 were Chamber Presidents or Executive Directors.
Attracted & Engaged New, Existing Members –
  • Cleared a top-tier Colorado Chamber member to host the Vice President of the United States (one of only two companies in Colorado);
  • Facilitated tour with Sen. Gardner & JR Butler leadership;
  • Facilitated 3 face-to-face meetings with Colorado Chamber members & Congressman Scott Tipton;
  • Connected Congressional staffers with EXECs Leadership program fracking site tour;
  • Created unique opportunity for Rep. Neguse state team to tour Henderson Mine;
  • Hosted Senators Bennet & Gardner State Directors for a policy discussion
Ongoing engagement:
  • Leveraged the Federal Policy Council to engage 5 newly-joined and ag-focused members with a Fed Council focused on ag/USDA resources & needs;
  • Brought a mining member into USMCA national working group to help directly engage & amplify their good work/needs, while underscoring the Colorado Chamber’s work with White House Public Policy Director Munisteri on USMCA passage;
  • Connected Encore Electric with Rep. Perlmutter to leverage Encore’s awards and success (tour pending for week of November 4).
In the last month:
  • Spoke on a policy panel with ZimmerBiomet leadership team to frame federal tax challenges for R&D development & growth;
  • Brought together a major healthcare provider with an analytics company, bringing about two planned public talks leveraging and increasing awareness of transparency in prescribing and efforts to reduce “surprise billing,” plus a new collaboration to bring data to public policy conversations in the upcoming state legislative session.
If you have questions about the Federal Policy Council,
a general policy question, or wish to sponsor a council meeting,
please contact Leah Curtsinger, Federal Policy Director,
at LCurtsinger@COchamber.com or (303) 866-9641.

Denver Hurts Business, Consumers by Fast-tracking a Minimum Wage Hike

Loren Furman, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Relations, authored an op-ed for the Denver Post concerning Denver’s proposal to fast-track a local minimum wage increase beginning in January 2020. Read her guest commentary here.


November Council Meetings

In anticipation of the 2020 legislative session, we have scheduled two council meetings in November.

Energy & Environment – November 7th

Guest Speakers:

  • Ross Eisenberg, VP of Energy & Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturing (NAM)
  • Garry Kaufman, Director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division

Labor & Employment – November 20th

Guest Speakers from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment:

  • Joe Barela, Executive Director
  • Patrick Teegarden, Director of Policy and Legislation
  • Scott Moss, Director of Division of Labor Standards and Statistics

Please visit our online calendar for more information and a complete list of the upcoming council meetings.


Apply to the 2020 EXECs Advocacy Program

Now accepting applications for the 2020 EXECs Advocacy Program! Now that the 2019 EXECs programming has come to a close, it is time to gear up for 2020. Stops for the upcoming 2020 EXECs group include XCEL Energy, Lincoln Tech, the DCPA, and the Olympic Training Facility, among others. For the full tour list and program details, please check out the new 2020 EXECs E-Brochure.  

The EXECs Advocacy Program is a nine-month experiential leadership program that hosts in-depth tours of many of Colorado’s industry leading companies and non-profits. In addition to discussing the business climate of the host company, the EXECs program provides an opportunity to dive deeper into industry issues by discussing pertinent state and federal regulations with local legislators and other key professionals. The EXECs Advocacy Program is an amazing opportunity for emerging leaders to make great connections, discuss policy with state legislators, and gain vital experience in areas outside of their own expertise.

Applications Due: December 13th, 2019

Please refer all questions to Priscilla B. Varner, EXECs Advocacy Program Manager.