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Colorado House District 57 Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale

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Rep. Bob Rankin: Your money, your state

I’m afraid to start writing a column about state government this month. Can mundane details about only 600 legislative bills and a mere $28 billion of spending attract your interest? I worry that you, the dedicated readers of my monthly wanderings, are all focused not on Colorado’s issues but on the president’s latest tweet. How to keep you reading a whole 500 words when the TV is reporting about Russia, the Supreme Court and Syria and who knows what’s next?

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Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Uncertainty and opportunity in 2017

I’m having a hard time getting my mind around the fact that it’s 2017 and the start of my fifth session in the Colorado House of Representatives. Thank you for the opportunity. It looks like we are off to the usual (but more so) confusing, intense and sometimes exasperating start. There are more interesting meetings and social events than time on the calendar, more bills than time to read, and endless mind bending hours in the Joint Budget Committee.

Rankin’s Under the Dome: Local control works best

Before I became personally involved in politics, I used to watch the news on TV and yell at the newscasters. Now I can’t watch it at all. There is so much opportunity in government to actually solve problems and make the system work better for ordinary people and yet we seem to focus on national politics and political turmoil as a form of entertainment.

Rep. Bob Rankin's Under the Dome: An intense start to legislative process

This is the most intense and the most interesting time of the year in the Colorado legislature. Bills are being introduced and disposed of every day at an insane pace and some actually sneak through the process to become law.

Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: 2016 legislative session starts Wednesday

Thank you for taking time to read “Under The Dome” again. In now my third year, I’m even more committed to the idea of keeping you informed and encouraging you to get more involved in Colorado government. If you can tear yourself away from 24 hours a day of cable TV coverage of the presidential primary, I think you’ll find that the Colorado legislature is not only interesting but can mess with your life and business in ways that you might only imagine. Your opinions, comments and feedback are appreciated (even if you disagree with me).

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: State spending and cuts

Summer was way too short. Joyce and I go back to Denver this week and start activity that will be nonstop through next May. But we’re not complaining. It’s an honor to represent Northwest Colorado in the legislature and we look forward to what’s coming.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: On the road again

I use part of the summer learning about how our tax dollars are spent. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Damian Lebya, a project manager who works for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) at his daughter’s graduation party at Rifle High School.

Rep. Bob Rankin's Under the Dome: The legislative session has ended — Time for those yearly check-ups

Now that the legislative session is over, Joyce and I are spending time at home catching up on overdue home and body maintenance. I’ve had the necessity and the opportunity to experience our valley’s health care system, and that experience has caused me to reflect on what the people in the waiting room with me are also experiencing. I get tired of repeatedly filling out the same forms, but I’ve met some great people and come to appreciate once again the quality of health care available if we can just navigate insurance, be covered by Medicaid or Medicare, pay deductibles, or with no insurance, pay for services.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Summer is here

The time between Colorado legislative sessions is an interesting and exciting period for most state representatives and Senators. There are more opportunities to learn about issues, prepare bills for next year, and interact with constituents (did I mention fly fishing and bicycling?) than there is time on the schedule. And since it’s not an election year, we aren’t in full reelection mode quite yet.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Impressions of 2015 legislative session

The 2015 session was more contentious than expected but still very rewarding for me. It was an honor to serve you for another session but, of course, Joyce and I are happy to be home.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Busy times at Capitol

There’s a lot happening at the state Capitol. Since I was appointed to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) and joined the committee in November, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about, discussing and attempting to understand the budget of Colorado. In the past two weeks the final report was presented to the legislature.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: A busy November

The start of the 70th session of the Colorado Legislature is less than a month away although the Joint Budget Committee (JBC), of which I’m now a member, has been at work for about three weeks.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Thank you

Thank you once again for the honor of serving as your state representative. Now that the elections are over Joyce and I will be packing up for Denver to work on the Joint Budget Committee hearings beginning next week. With time to reflect on the last two years and anticipate the upcoming session, I realize that this experience has been one of the most interesting and often rewarding times of my life.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Ballots are in the mail!

After the most divisive session in the history of the Colorado legislature in 2013, two recalls and a resignation, a 2014 session in which every major controversy was delayed and referred to a study (see below), and TV ad saturation, we now have ballots in the mail to every registered voter.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Updates on ongoing issues

We just returned home from Grand Junction and the Club 20 Fall Meeting and debates. Club 20 hosts political debates in election years for the Western Slope and they are open to everyone.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: State government — why I care

I’ve become more fascinated by the Colorado State Government every month of the two years I’ve served as a state representative.

Rep. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Understanding Colorado's budget

It’s turning out to be a busy summer as expected. There are more opportunities to interact with individual constituents, local governments, schools and businesses and other organizations than there is time. My plan for the summer is to focus on understanding how state government and its funding reach into our West Slope counties and towns.

Rep. Bob Rankin — Under the Dome: Thanks to my constituents

Thanks to all of the citizens of District 57 for your confidence and support. I take seriously my obligation to support all of us, regardless of party affiliation. We won’t always agree, but I’ll continue to explain my position and represent your interests.

Rep. Bob Rankin: Legislative session still going strong

The session will end May 7. We’ve passed 114 bills and killed 118. There probably are another 250 bills in the system, so it will be a busy month.

Under the Dome — Rep. Bob Rankin: Bustling importance happening at Capitol

We’re midway through the 2014 legislative session and there’s plenty of animated controversy, bad and good bills and elegant elocution. And most of us are running for office. What an experience.

Rep. Bob Rankin: Legislative session moving fast

My side of the aisle continues to ask for repeal of the controversial gun control laws from last year that led to two recall elections. We also want the mandates for renewable energy quotas for rural energy modified to be achievable and include hydro, but these efforts are being defeated on party line votes.

Colorado Legislative Rural Caucus meets for 1st time

The Colorado Legislative Rural Caucus met for the first time Monday, hosting a panel discussion about rural telecom issues.

Rep. Bob Rankin: This legislative session

It’s been a busy, exciting and motivating couple of weeks. I was in Craig, Parachute, Rifle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale for town hall meetings and then we had a typical winter driving experience as we moved to a Denver apartment for the start of the 2014 legislative session.

Rep. Bob Rankin: Working for western Colorado

Under the dome

I’m once again struggling with the question of how to best represent western and rural Colorado. While it’s certainly an honor to be a state representative, it’s also true that we are outnumbered and outrepresented by the east slope urban corridor. Add that most rural legislators are members of the minority party. It’s important that we choose our battles carefully. I’ve chosen to get broadly but deeply involved in budgeting and technology across the many state programs so that I can detect potential impacts to western Colorado and work for our interests.

Rep. Bob Rankin: School funding and its intricacies statewide

This November, Colorado citizens will vote for or against the first progressive income tax and the largest income tax increase in the state’s history. The new tax will raise about $1 billion each year to increase funding for K-12 public schools and new pre-K-12 programs. The legislation that the new funding supports also changes the formula by which money is distributed to school districts in Colorado.

Rep. Bob Rankin: Upcoming legislative session will have its challenges

Folks who I meet with are starting to ask what I think the session will be like next year. Will it be as divisive and downright hostile as the 2013 session? Or will the fact that it’s a campaign year soften the bills and the rhetoric? The 2014 session is bound to be dominated by the residual effects of the partisan controversial bills from 2013. There’s still unfinished business resulting from at least four of the big bills from last year.

Bob Rankin: We need honest compromise

It seems that some crisis always is upon us. Our fellow Coloradans on the Front Range have suffered fires and floods of historic proportions. And now the federal government has shut down because of the debate on Obamacare. While we sympathize and pray for our fellow citizens and closely monitor the news on the shutdown, some crises affect our daily lives more directly than others. I’m proud of our state agencies, the National Guard and the federal resources that came to the rescue and support of flood victims, and I read with great concern the ongoing daily reports and developments.

Rep. Bob Rankin: Public lands issues are unique to western Colorado; pay attention, feds

It’s impossible to represent and listen to folks in the northwest corner of Colorado without feeling the impacts of federal land management decisions. The socio-economic impact of federal decisions on the local communities of western Colorado is enormous. This month’s column focuses on that single, critical issue.

Out from Under the Dome: Important issues to follow

During the summer, I’ve been on a commission that’s mission is to “oversee” the implementation of House Bill 1303. This is the new law to “strengthen the participation of individuals in the election process.”

Rep. Bob Rankin: Under the dome

I’ve now had a new experience under the golden dome of the Capitol, almost completely shrouded for renovation. Last week, the House debated the budget known as the “long bill.” I honestly don’t know how to describe it except to say it felt more like a partisan bickering session over how to spend a lot of new money on old programs than it resembled a real budget. It passed at 11 p.m. Friday.


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