Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia on Thursday said he’s looking forward to the new legislative session — especially after surviving a recall effort to oust him.
He held a briefing at the Capitol.
Garcia was one of the six legislators who was the target of ousters during what he calls “the summer of recalls.”
“[It] spotlighted Colorado in a way that we did not want to be spotlighted in,” Garcia said. “And it’s sad to say that some Republicans took Colorado to a new low.”
Last Friday, the campaign for Garcia’s recall only submitted four signatures. It required 13,506 valid signatures to force an election.
Other leaders that had recall attempts earlier this year include Gov. Jared Polis, Sens. Pete Lee and Brittany Petersen and Reps. Tom Sullivan and Rep. Rochelle Galindo. Galindo resigned before any signatures were turned in.
With that behind him, Garcia said he wants to start the new session with bipartisanship support.
“I feel that’s important before you today calling for this renewed commitment to work together,” Garcia said.
His main two goals this session are school safety and mental health. Garcia said he thinks that the two are linked.
“We have to do more to address concerns around school safety,” Garcia said. “I think part of that has to be a reflection on mental health and sadly sometimes, we continue to see the needs for mental health services increasing in the state of Colorado and it's been one area where we've continued not to put the resources that we need.”
Garcia also said he wants to bolster health care access, particularly mental health access, for veterans and rural communities. He said that lawmakers giving money to community paramedics, addressing the state’s nurse shortage, and creating partnerships with health care providers were ways to hit his goal. Garcia also said that increasing the reliance on community health care centers will help.
Correction: A previous version quoted Sen. Garcia saying "it highlights Colorado in a way we wanted to be highlighted" when he said "in a way we did not want to be highlighted.”