Grand County’s State Rep. KC Becker selected as Colorado’s next Speaker of the House
Becker to take speaker's gavel in January
November 19, 2018
Grand County's representative in the state legislature, KC Becker, will soon become one of Colorado's most powerful politicians after she is formally sworn in as the next Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.
Becker, a Democrat hailing from the Boulder area, was recently selected by her fellow representatives to be Colorado's next Speaker of the House. Becker will officially take the Speaker's gavel on Jan. 4 next year when she and all other members of the Colorado legislature will be sworn in at the start of the new legislative session.
"It is exciting," Becker said late last week of her impending Speakership. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a new governor coming in. The change in the Senate, from Republican to Democrat, really changes the possibilities of what we think we can achieve. There are a lot of ongoing issues we need to address."
Becker is no stranger to leadership positions in the state legislature. She was initially appointed to fill a vacancy in the state house in 2013 before being elected by the voters in 2014. She won an uncontested reelection campaign in 2016 before securing another term in the 2018 election.
In early 2017 Becker was chosen as the Democratic Majority Leader for the State House where she ran floor operations for the state's Democratic majority in the House, overseeing the legislative calendar while making sure all bills received full and fair consideration. As Speaker of the House Becker will have even greater power over the legislative process. As Speaker Becker will set the House's legislative committees while also assigning representatives and bills to the various committees.
She would also be able to allow representatives to introduce more than five bills in any one legislative session if she so chooses. Under the state's constitution each Colorado State Representative is allowed to introduce five bills per session. Becker will soon have the power to allow specific representatives to introduce more than five bills.
"It gives the Speaker a bigger role in the outcome of legislation," Becker said.
Looking ahead to next year's legislative session Becker highlighted several key areas she hopes to establish as legislative priorities while she is speaker including transportation funding, affordable housing, rural broadband access and pricing transparency for prescription drugs and hospital billing. She also highlighted her concerns over the fiscal impacts of the Gallagher Amendment on special districts.
"The way it (Gallagher Amendment) intersects with TABOR means that the residential assessment rate keeps getting driven down," Becker said. "You end up with special districts, that rely on property taxes and the residential assessment rate, losing all their income. When it was passed in the 1980s they had no idea this was going to happen. It is one of those unintended consequences of passing various constitutional amendments that conflict."
When Becker is officially sworn in as Speaker of the House next year she will become Colorado's third consecutive female Speaker of the House and the fourth in state history.
"I think it is a good thing when the electorate reflects the entire state more," Becker said. "I am glad voters chose a diverse set of representatives. As a woman I think having more women run for office and get elected is a good sign and I hope that my leadership position inspires other young women to run."
Becker said she believes this month's election was a "strong statement" that voters in Colorado want Democrats to lead the state's government.
"We are going to lead in a way that works for as many Coloradoans as possible," Becker said. "It is great to have the support up and down the ballot. I think the vote really reflects voter choices about compassion and opportunity over cruelty and chaos."