By Ellen S. Roberts
As of last week, my work on the wildfire matters and the water interim committees concluded and, for many legislators, the focus shifts to the elections and the next legislative session, beginning in January, 2017.
There are a significant number of senators who are term-limited this year and a good number of current House members are running to fill those seats. Ironically, before term limits took effect at Colorado’s state legislature, senators served, on average, fewer years than the eight years allowed under the limits.
I’ve served six years in the Senate and four years in the Colorado House, totaling a decade in all. Being able to represent a large area of Southwest Colorado during that time has been an incredible privilege. I’ve been stimulated by the continual on-the-job learning and the opportunity to meet many people from across my district to hear what issues are important to them and to better understand how our state government could be improved for its citizens.
However, the time has come for me to move on after 10 years of what has been for me a very positive and productive experience as your public servant. I’m resigning from my senate seat as of Dec. 31, and a new senator will be appointed by the Senate District 6 Republican vacancy committee to fill the remainder of my term until a regular election takes place in 2018.
It’s been my honor to serve as Senate President Pro Tem for the past two years with President Bill Cadman and Majority Leader Mark Scheffel, two strong conservative leaders who bucked the usual trend of Front Range leadership team domination, by supporting a Western Slope, centrist Republican woman to be a key member of their leadership team to foster a more statewide perspective on the key issues we considered in the Senate.
I’ve been contemplating this change for over a year and have talked it over with my family, friends and colleagues during that time, so it’s not a result of the rather tumultuous election year we find ourselves in. I’m confident that the vacancy committee will find a strong successor for our region to represent us in the senate for the remainder of my term and, to the extent desired, I’ll be a resource to whoever that successor will be.
For now, though, I am looking forward to new work possibilities that will build on my past legal practice and my legislative experience and that will allow me to spend more time at home, with my family and friends, in the best area of the great state of Colorado that a person could live in.
I appreciate the trust and support that I’ve received by so many over the years, both in my district and at the Denver Capitol. Public service isn’t for everyone, but it was instilled in me by my father, a proud World War II veteran and a dedicated teacher, sports coach and community volunteer. While he died long before I was elected to office, I know his spirit was with me each and every day of this journey. Finally, but most significantly, my husband, Rick, my children Caitlin and Ben, and my terrific campaign teams have provided me invaluable support and encouragement all along the way, and, for that, I’m deeply grateful.