Today is May 19, 2023 and here is what you need to know:
A nearly-20 point win over his Republican challenger in November, a Democratic supermajority in the House and a near one in the state Senate.
What more could a Democratic governor ask for?
Gov. Jared Polis started off the first year of his second term laying out an aggressive agenda on the state's most pressing issues, such as housing and water. That agenda also included a state responses to gun violence, notably seeking a ban on ghost guns and strengthening Colorado's red flag law.
Polis early on spoke of the need to address skyrocketing property taxes and continued his call for reducing the state's income tax.
The 2023 agenda also included pushing the Democratic agenda on climate change; increasing the use of transportation that employs cleaner sources of energy, as well as renewable energy; and, his signature issue from his first term — reducing the cost of health care. In 2023, that meant reducing the cost of prescription drugs and taking aim at Colorado hospitals for what the administration believes is high profits and a practice of overcharging patients.
Such an ambitious agenda, however, fell flat in a number of areas, due in part to disagreements with progressive Democrats in the House and Senate Democrats who refused to go along with his biggest priority, a bill to address the state's shortage of affordable housing.
The political newcomer — a restaurant owner running for mayor of one of Colorado's largest cities as a moderate, pro-business outsider in a wide field of seasoned candidates and civic insiders — began the race as an affable underdog but confounded observers by finishing first in the general election and going on to win the runoff by a wide margin, defeating an established municipal officeholder.
Voters of all stripes flocked to the dark horse once it became clear he had a shot in the nonpartisan race. The swelling momentum was understandable in hindsight, in part because the early frontrunners had spent months tearing each other down and driving up their negatives, all while mostly ignoring the longshot candidate, leaving his image untarnished.
By the time ballots were counted, it was clear the city was ready for a different approach as the term-limited incumbent — a veteran politician with decades of public service under his belt — prepared to hand over the office of mayor to his successor.
The year was 2003, and the newly elected, fresh-faced mayor was brewpub owner John Hickenlooper, the entrepreneur and civic activist who charmed Denver voters with his talk of an inclusive, business-friendly approach to governing a city inching its way back from an economic downturn. Hardly anyone gave him a chance of winning when the former geologist launched his campaign to succeed outgoing Mayor Wellington Webb, joining a field already crowded with experienced politicians.
But a series of twists and turns, coupled with an electorate ready to chart a new course, propelled the unconventional candidate to a convincing, double-digit win over career politician Don Mares, who had served the previous two terms as the city's auditor after a lengthy tenure in both chambers of the General Assembly.
As readers have no doubt realized, the above particulars could as easily describe this week's election in Colorado Springs, when entrepreneur and civic activist Yemi Mobolade, a Nigerian immigrant and former pastor, trounced career politician Wayne Williams, a former county commissioner, county clerk, Colorado secretary of state and at-large city council member, to become the city's first elected Black mayor.
The job of a state legislator is to pass laws, but in Colorado, some are more effective than others.
To figure out the most and least successful lawmakers of the state's 2023 legislative session, Colorado Politics looked at the bills they prime-sponsored in both chambers and ranked the number of bills passed, percentage of bills passed and percentage of bills with bipartisan sponsorship, according to the Colorado General Assembly's website.
Democrats predictably won big this session after the November election increased their hold over the state legislature to a 69-31 split — the largest Democratic advantage in 85 years. But while Democrats topped the lists for most bills passed, Republicans led in bipartisanship, a reflection of their need to compromise with the supermajority in order to address their legislative agenda. Plus, some categories that were one-party topics last year featured both this year, and vice versa.
On average, each of the 100 lawmakers sponsored nearly 20 bills this year. The House and Senate approved approximately 82% of each legislator's bills, and around 52% received bipartisan sponsorship.
News that Texas Gov. Greg Abbot sent scores of immigrants by bus to Denver took center stage in the latest debate between mayoral aspirants Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston on Thursday night, with both candidates offering largely similar approaches to the crisis.
The 41 immigrants sent by the Abbot administration to the Mile High City is but a fraction of the 10,000 immigrants who have arrived in Denver since December, straining the city's resources and prompting pleas by Colorado leaders to the federal government for direct action at the border and financial aid for cities bearing the brunt of the crisis, such as Denver.
Both Brough and Johnston said the solution is collaboration.
About two-thirds of U.S. adults say they are highly concerned about the impact on the national economy if the U.S. debt limit is not increased and the government defaults on its loans, according to a new poll, even as few say they have a solid understanding of the ongoing debt limit negotiations.
The poll shows about 6 in 10 say they want any increase in the debt limit to be coupled with agreed-upon terms for reducing the federal budget deficit. At the same time, Americans are more likely to disapprove than approve of how President Joe Biden and congressional negotiators on both sides of the aisle are handling negotiations. Still, slightly more approve of Biden's handling of the situation than of congressional Republicans.
The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 27% say they approve of Biden and 26% say the same about congressional Democrats, while 22% approve of congressional Republicans. Close to half disapprove of each.
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