Under the Dome: Coming transitions
It looks like I’ll be moving from the Colorado House of Representatives to the Senate on Jan. 22, all because state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the current senator representing Senate District 8, is resigning effective Jan. 21, and a vacancy committee, meeting Jan. 2, chose me as his replacement. I’ve enjoyed six years in the House, with its 65 members, lots of turnovers every two years, members from every imaginable background, and many late nights. Even in the minority for all six years, I believe I’ve been able to make a difference for my constituents.
I’ll remain on the Joint Budget committee as its longest-serving member and only rural member. Those roles come with some special responsibilities, and I intend to be very vocal in support of educational opportunities for rural kids, rural economic development, transportation, and lower health care costs.
I’ll be representing four new counties and several tourism hubs in Senate District 8. My six years of service on the Colorado Tourism Board will help me understand their issues, and I may have to pull my skis out of storage.
I’ll continue to serve as co-chair of the Education Leadership Council. Our new governor has expressed interest in our work and the vision articulated for making Colorado the best state in the nation for education, from early childhood to the workforce. Now that our vision has been voted on by the council and published, we are creating an implementation plan.
I’m very concerned about the fairness of state and local funding for education. In an editorial, the Denver Post has called me “a modern Robin Hood” for insisting that poor, rural districts deserve funding equivalent to the rich resort and urban districts. I intend to remain a leader in this area and intensify my efforts working from the Senate to rectify years of abuse of both taxpayers and students resulting from the conflicting constitutional and legislative actions of the past. Those efforts include repealing and replacing the Gallagher Amendment, bringing school taxes into equity, and compensating for local mill-levy override disparities.
I’m no longer term-limited, so I have plenty of time to work on these budget-crippling, longstanding problems should I win reelection in 2020 and beyond.
And let’s not forget the discrimination wrought by health care disparities between the urban Front Range and both resort and rural Colorado. I’ll be jointly introducing bills this year that will reduce our insurance costs substantially and will start to reveal — and hopefully reduce — basic cost factors.
It sounds like a lot of action, you bet, and meanwhile, I’ll stick to my conservative principles of small government, low taxes, and personal freedom.
It’s been an honor, and hard work, to represent House District 57, and the future as your senator will be just as much so.
State Rep. Bob Rankin represents House District 57 in the Colorado House of Representatives. Next month, he will more to the State Senate when he replaces retiring state Sen. Randy Baumgardner. Rankin writes the monthly column “Under the Dome” to inform and engage constituents in his district. He serves on the Joint Budget Committee and represents Garfield, Rio Blanco, and Moffat counties.