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State lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday for a special session to work on bills tied to COVID-19. State Majority Leader Democrat Steve Fenberg and Senate President Democrat Leroy Garcia chat while the senate is in recess during a special session on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.

Opening remarks by Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, at the 1st extraordinary session of the 72nd General Assembly:

Good morning and welcome back to the Senate, where we have been called to serve the people of Colorado during this extraordinary and turbulent time.

2020 has been a year of harrowing heartbreak and transformational civil unrest. 

We have watched our country be torn apart by brutish political in-fighting, while simultaneously, we have suffered the worst threat to our collective health in over a century.

Now, as the pandemic reaches a new level of devastation — to both human life, as well as economic stability — it is our responsibility to meet the immediate needs of Colorado families and get them the relief necessary to weather the storm.

Because the reality is, this storm we are in the midst of is terrifyingly destructive.

People all over this state are quite literally fighting for their lives AND their livelihoods.

Families are on the edge of homelessness. Parents are anxiously balancing work without childcare, and businesses are closing at unprecedented rates.

Without continued aid from Washington, thousands of Coloradans are facing increasingly desperate situations — their life savings, food security, and education disappining in front of them.

However, despite an embarrassing display of inaction on the federal level, we hare to set a better example — working in a bipartisan manner to address the dire challenges facing Colorado.

Because even though our power and resources as a state are limited, they are NOT nothing.

That's why, for the next three days, we are going to do everything we to deliver the support families and businesses need to make it through the months ahead...

While this task may be enormous, I truly believe that every single person in this room is ready and willing to approach our objective with the focus, cooperation, and humility that hardworking Coloradans deserve

Because, ultimately, this Special Session is not — and can not — be about us.

With every speech we give, every question we ask, and every bill we introduce let us remember the collective calling we are here to honor — always putting personal agendas and self-serving attitudes aside.

In that spirit, I want to take a moment to recognize the incredible amount of work it has taken to get us here today, as well as the monumental task we have ahead of us.

I want to thank both the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader for their commitment and unreserved partnership during this process.

In fact, I am exceedingly proud and comforted by the bipartisanship and collaboration this chamber has shown in the last few weeks.

Dysfunction and political showmanship may be alive and well in the halls of Congress, but here in the Colorado Senate, we are showing yet again, the power of people-first politics.

I also want to thank all the staff who have worked tirelessly to organize this extraordinary session: drafting bills, outlining safety protocols, and overcoming tech challenges. We wouldn't be here without you.

Lastly, I must call your attention to our state's climbing positivity rate. Right now, one out of every 41 people is infected with COVID-19 in Colorado — a number that should serve as a somber reminder that we must keep each other safe.

Being in this building presents an undeniable risk to everyone involved, and we need to treat our time here with respect, reverence, and an abundance of caution.

So thank you in advance for your participation and mindfulness during this process. I have faith that we will work quickly, efficiently, and safety to deliver the relief our constituents so urgently need.

With that, let's get to work.

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