(Nov. 8) – Fresh from Election Day victories that will vault them into a strong majority in the 2013 House of Representatives, the House Democratic caucus designated Rep. Mark Ferrandino this morning to become the next Speaker of the House.
At a caucus meeting attended by 21 returning legislators and 16 incoming freshmen casting votes as representatives-elect, the Democrats also elected the following caucus leadership team:
Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) as majority leader.
Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) as assistant majority leader.
Rep. Lois Court (D-Denver) as caucus chair.
Rep.-elect Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) as assistant caucus chair.
Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) as whip.
Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora) as deputy whip.
Unlike the other leadership posts decided today, Rep. Ferrandino’s nomination is subject to ratification by the full House, where the Democrats will have a 37-28 majority. The formal transfer of power from the outgoing Speaker, Rep. Frank McNulty, to Rep. Ferrandino will take place on the General Assembly’s opening day, Jan. 9, 2013
“Because of the work you guys did I was able to keep my commitment to this caucus that we grow our caucus to a majority, and to a sizable majority,” said Rep. Ferrandino (D-Denver), who served for the past year as minority leader. But he quickly added that it’s time to move on.
“Your job is to build consensus,” the newly minted Speaker-designate told the caucus, which includes 15 members who cast their first-ever votes today as representatives-elect. “Your job is to reach across the aisle, find partners, and come up with the best policy for the people of Colorado.”
Rep. Ferrandino said his goal was to make sure “the citizens of our state can be proud of the way we’ve governed and excited about the future that we have in Colorado.”
In addition to being the official leader of the House and its voice in dealings with the state Senate and the governor’s office, Speaker Ferrandino will have broad power to make appointments, most importantly the chairs and other members of the Democratic majorities on the House’s committees of reference. He will also control the assignment of bills to committees of reference, and select members of commissions and advisory groups.
As majority leader, Rep. Hullinghorst will have the key task of managing the House calendar — scheduling floor debate and votes on bills so the chamber runs smoothly within the limits of the constitutionally prescribed 120-day regular session.
“We want to work as a team across the aisle with our colleagues,” she told the caucus. “We want to work as a team with the Senate, and we most of all need to hang together as a team ourselves. And I have every confidence that you will do that, and I want to lead that charge.”