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State lawmakers reach halfway point

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We reached the halfway point of the 2014 legislative session and things have been very busy under the gold dome. I have been encouraged by the bipartisan support for a large number of the bills being advanced this session, and I have enjoyed working with my fellow legislators from both sides of the aisle.

My main priority this session is working to improve Colorado’s economy by helping businesses create quality jobs and to expand our business friendly atmosphere. Colorado is currently one of the top states in job growth, and is one of 15 states to have reached prerecession job levels. However, even at 6.2 percent unemployment, too many people remain unemployed and we need to continue encouraging job growth. To help encourage companies to bring mid level, good paying jobs to Colorado, I am co-sponsoring HB14-1014, with House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) to modify a tax credit that passed last session. This bill will help Colorado effectively compete with other states to attract and retain those employers that provide good quality jobs.

I am also co-sponsoring HB 14-1015, with Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) that extends the REHIRE Colorado program for three years. This successful program helps our military vets and older population who are having a hard time finding jobs by providing job coaching, training and transitional job opportunities. Over 500 people are already enrolled in this statewide program. The pilot program, HIRE Colorado, helped 75 percent of the people enrolled find work. I believe that quality jobs help build healthy families.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of giving the keynote speech at the Alliance Colorado luncheon. Alliance Colorado works to strengthen community support for individuals with developmental disabilities by engaging community members and using innovative approaches to improve the lives of these individuals. I am grateful for their advocacy for services for people with development disabilities. I want to thank them for their commitment to raising awareness and improving lives across Colorado. You can find my keynote speech on my website.

As your representative, I am committed to making life better for our community, our children and their families. I am the House sponsor of a bill to explore why suicide is the highest cause of death for our 18-34 year olds here in Colorado. These incidents can be devastating to families and friends. The Suicide Prevention Coalition bill is in the Senate right now, sponsored by Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton).

I am honored to serve on your behalf in the Capitol and I welcome your input or concerns. Everyone who contacts me at my office or my home, gets a response. Please join my at my town meetings the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to Noon at Standley Lake Library or at my coffees on the fourth Thursday of each month, 7-8:00 a.m. at LaDolce Vita and 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Panera in Walnut Creek.

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