Colorado Senate Democrats elect new party leadership after re-taking chamber

Dems now hold 19-16 majority in Senate
Posted at 12:41 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-08 18:37:12-05

DENVER – After re-taking control of the Colorado state Senate in Tuesday’s midterm election, Democrats on Thursday elected new majority party leadership while Republicans named their new minority-party leaders.

Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, was chosen to be the next Senate President. He is currently the Senate Minority Leader and will take over for Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, who is term-limited and whose party is now the minority party in the Senate.

Garcia took over as minority leader earlier this year after Sen. Lucia Guzman stepped down from the position over her frustration with Republicans’ handling of workplace harassment allegations.

“Our state faces some tough challenges, but I am confident that our caucus, under these dynamic leaders, will represent every Coloradan and find solutions to those challenges that will move every community across Colorado forward," Garcia said in a statement.

Senate Democrats picked up two seats in the election, putting them at a 19-16 majority. Republicans had held the Senate with an 18-17 majority the past two years. Democrats now control both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office after Jared Polis’ victory.

Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, was named Senate Majority Leader. Faith Winter, the senator-elect from Westminster, was named caucus chair after defeating Beth Martinez Humenik in Senate District 24. Sen. Lois Court, D-Arapahoe Co., will serve as president pro-tem of the Senate.

Sen. Kerry Donovan will be majority whip and Sen. Rhonda Fields will be assistant majority leader. Sens. Dominick Moreno and Rachel Zenzinger were elected to the Joint Budget Committee.

Republicans elected Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Douglas Co., to serve as Senate Minority Leader. He previously served as majority leader. Current Senate President Pro-Tem Jerry Sonnenberg did not receive a leadership position.

Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, will serve as assistant minority leader; Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, was elected as minority whip and Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, will remain the GOP caucus chair in the Senate.

In the House, KC Becker was named the new House Speaker. She will replace Crisanta Duran, who is term-limited. Rep. Alec Garnett will take over as House Majority Leader; he was Assistant House Majority Leader last year. Rep. Chris Kennedy will serve as Assistant House Majority Leader for next year's session.