House GOP leadership changes hands

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A Loveland lawmaker has gone from delivering pizzas to Colorado houses to being the Republican leader of the Colorado House.

Rep. Brian DelGrosso on July 11 was elected House minority leader by members of his party.

DelGrosso, who delivered pizzas for Domino’s before buying three franchises of his own, was praised by fellow Republicans during a brief election at the Capitol.

“I’ve seen Brian fight relentlessly for our values, and for our caucus, and for what’s dear to our heart,” said Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada. “And I appreciate that. And I believe those are key traits to being a leader.

“And he makes a hell of a pizza.”

DelGrosso has served in the House since 2009 and has been a member of the House Finance and Appropriations committees. A Wyoming native, DelGrosso moved to Colorado after serving in the Air Force and the Wyoming National Guard, before he delivered pizzas for a local Domino’s franchise.

DelGrosso now owns Domino’s franchises in Loveland and Windsor.

“It’s definitely very humbling for me to be here today, to be in this position,” DelGrosso said.

DelGrosso replaces Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs as minority leader. Waller    stepped down from his leadership role on July 11, so he can focus on his campaign for attorney general.

Waller said he felt “a little bit melancholy” to be stepping down as minority leader, but said “it’s the right thing to do.”

Waller said he was proud of how he led his party during the recent legislative session — one where Republicans faced an uphill battle on just about every issue in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

“While we lost a lot of votes because we simply did not have the numbers, we certainly won a lot of debates,” Waller said.

DelGrosso praised Waller’s leadership before blasting the agenda that Democrats pursued this year. DelGrosso opposed many of the efforts that Democrats touted, such as school finance reform, civil unions and gun control.

DelGrosso said he will work to “repeal and correct the onerous bills that were passed this previous session.” He also said that Coloradans “took notice” of the Democrats’ issues platform.

“Today isn’t about me, it’s about our election,” he said. “And we all know that elections have consequences.”

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, shook hands with DelGrosso after the election and took the high road in a press statement that was issued afterward.

“We don’t always agree, but we do always manage to have a productive dialogue,” Ferrandino said. “I congratulate him and hope he will lead his caucus toward bipartisan solutions on the issues most important to the people of Colorado.”

Republican Rep. Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch, a former House speaker, said DelGrosso will face challenges that McNulty never faced when he led the House GOP.

“It is a different dynamic, leading a House caucus when you’re in the minority, because you have to react to what the majority Democrats are doing,” McNulty said afterward. “And that’s going to be a challenge for him.”

McNulty believes that DelGrosso’s business background will be an asset to the party’s leadership.

“He is the American dream,” McNulty said. “He’s an American success story, and now he’s leading our House Republican caucus.”