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Important work, with little time

Already, the work of the Senate is underway as the 67th General Assembly opened on Wednesday.

I had the distinct honor of informing the House of Representatives that the Senate is officially “open for business.”

In my remarks to the House, I reminded my fellow legislators of a quote that should guide our proceedings this session. The quote, inscribed on a mural here at the Capitol, reads “beyond the sundown is tomorrow’s wisdom … today is going to be long, long ago …” It reminds me of the greatly important work we must accomplish quickly for the citizens of Colorado.

On Thursday, Gov. Ritter delivered his State of the State address in a joint session with the Senate and House. In his speech, the governor reiterated the goals we have set for this year. First and foremost, we will work to create more jobs for hard working Coloradans. We will incentivize programs for doctors and nurses to practice in underserved rural areas. I will be the Senate sponsor of a bill that will help create new jobs and will increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard from 20 to 30 percent by 2025. This bill has taken into account issues of concern of a number of entities including Rural Electric Associations. All of these goals will bolster Colorado’s economy while showing fiscal restraint. I am encouraged by these programs and confident they will alleviate some of the hardships Coloradans are experiencing today.

On a lighter note, I want to share a little story that happened recently. Over the holiday, many of you received a call from me wishing you and your family a happy holiday and emphasizing that I work for you here at the Capitol.

Soon after, I ran into a friend at a gathering who also happens to be a Republican voter in our district who asked, “if you work for me, where were you when I began feeding cows this morning?”

His question, although more sarcastic than serious, was a good reminder of my new role and new responsibility. I do work for you. So, with a smile on my face, I asked what time he started feeding and he responded that he fed at 7 a.m. every morning. The next morning, on my way to a meeting in Cortez, I stopped by his ranch wearing my Carhartt jacket, boots and gloves. I was ready to get to work. To my surprise, he was just emerging from the bathroom, a little droopy eyed and hair a bit messy. We didn’t end up feeding the cows but we were able to have a good discussion over a cup of coffee at his kitchen table.

Over the next four months, I won’t have the pleasure of meeting all of you at your kitchen table or over a cup of coffee, but I do intend to listen to you and represent you and your needs. I will serve our families, friends and neighbors to the best of my ability. Each morning I wake up inspired by you, the people of southwest Colorado, and the issues important to all of us in this region. This feeling will shape my actions and decisions this session. I am your State Senator, I work for you, and I encourage you to contact me with your questions, concerns and ideas. Please e-mail me at Bruce.whitehead.senate@state.co.us or call me at (303) 866-4884.