Senate President Leroy Garcia Was Governor For A Day — In Pueblo

Meredith Turk/CPR News
State Sen. Leroy Garcia at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Democratic Senate President and Pueblo native Leroy Garcia enjoyed a brief promotion Thursday. 

Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera were both out of the state, leaving Sen. Garcia to fill in as Colorado’s chief executive for the day. 

Garcia conducted his gubernatorial duties from his hometown of Pueblo. For him, the temporary role was far from symbolic.

“It is an important role,” he said. “I'm happy that I've continued to work well with the governor in being able to do something that rarely happens, in signing some proclamations as the acting governor.”

He signed two proclamations at the American Legion Post in Pueblo. The first proclamation demands the return of the USS Pueblo, a naval research ship captured by North Korea in the late 60s.

“It is the only naval vessel to be held by a foreign government. And it was named after the City of Pueblo, home of the heroes,” Garcia said.

That proclamation also designated Jan. 23 as USS Pueblo Day. 

Garcia's second proclamation designates late August to early September as Colorado State Fair Week. While signing it, he referenced the long-standing chile war between Pueblo and New Mexico. 

“The Colorado State Fair plays a really important role in Colorado promoting agriculture,” Garcia said. “We also want to find a wonderful way to continue to remind people about the Pueblo chile and to call on the Governor of New Mexico and others to live up to the challenge of the green chile and the red chile we have down here in Pueblo.” 

Primavera will be back in state Friday to handle gubernatorial duties until Polis  returns to the state this weekend.