U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper will chair a key subcommittee on employment and workplace safety — making the Coloradan the first Democrat in 42 years to chair two subcommittees in his or her first year in office, his office said Tuesday.
Hickenlooper, elected in November, also chairs the Senate Commerce Committee's subcommittee on space and science.
As chairman of the subcommittee devoted to jobs — part of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, known as the HELP committee — the former brewpub and restaurant owner will have jurisdiction over legislation including what his office describes as "the challenge of protecting workers and reopening businesses safely amid a deadly pandemic."
Hickenlooper also plans to focus on job training and workforce development with an eye toward expanding training programs like CareerWise, the statewide apprentice program he helped develop when he was governor, he said.
“The economy of the future demands skills that are not always met in the traditional classroom, and government can play a key role in connecting workers to alternative pathways to obtain these skills,” Hickenlooper said in a news release.
“Colorado pioneered on-the-job training for youth with CareerWise. Using these lessons, and similar innovations from many states, we can rebuild and modernize the economy in everything from manufacturing and technology to rural health care.”
Indiana Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun will serve as ranking member on the subcommittee, HELP committee chair U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, announced Tuesday.
Hickenlooper also sits on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott chaired the employment and workplace safety subcommittee in the last Congress, and Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin was its ranking member.
According to a Hickenlooper aide, the last Democratic senator to chair two subcommittees during a first year in office was Montana's Max Baucus, who went on to serve six terms before retiring ahead of the 2014 election.
Colorado's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, serves on the Senate committees on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Finance; and Intelligence.