Officials wrap up busy state session
Ryan Summerlin May 26, 2008
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Seventeen weeks may seem like a long time to some, but for Sen. Dan Gibbs and Rep. Christine Scanlan, this year’s 120-day legislative session was barely enough time to get all their goals accomplished.
“I was the prime sponsor of 11 bills this session, which made me feel really good until I heard that Sen. Gibbs sponsored 26,” Rep. Scanlan said with a laugh.
Summit County’s two elected officials wasted no time at the Capitol this session, and both cite defeating a proposed $5 Interstate 70 toll bill as one of their biggest victories.
“Sen. Roemer’s proposed I-70 toll would have had a crippling effect on our mountain economy,” said Sen. Gibbs. “The bill did not take mountain counties into account and we worked night and day to try to defeat it.”
Rep. Scanlan and Sen. Gibbs made it a point to keep local interests in mind as they navigated the murky waters of party politics at the Capitol, and some of their main bills included education alignment and forest health.
One of Rep. Scanlan main projects was co-sponsoring a bill on education alignment, working with the House Education Committee to reassess the depth of information being taught in public schools.
“What we are teaching kids isn’t enough to be prepared for secondary education,” said Scanlan. “There tends to be a laundry check list of what kids should be learning so we really need to go back and realign the entire system to get where we need to be.”
Sen. Gibbs continued his work on raising awareness about the pine beetle epidemic on a state level, and passed several bills to benefit forest health.
“Forest health is so incredibly important for our mountain communities,” said Gibbs. “This year we extended and got more funding for our Healthy Forests Act and passed a bill that provides tax incentives for pine beetle kill products.”
“If we can reduce wildfire danger while at the same time benefiting the community and making a buck, it’s a win-win situation,” Gibbs added.
Sen. Gibbs was a model of efficiency this legislative session. In addition to sitting on three separate committees, Gibbs passed more than one bill each week, a break-neck pace for any Senator.
“I really just want to solve problems and I am so honored and blessed to have citizens that will help me get there,” said Gibbs.
Scanlan and Gibbs both cited community involvement as one of the driving forces behind their decisions at the Capitol. Always keeping Summit County in mind, they encourage citizens to contact them with any questions or concerns.
“I take the ‘Representative’ part of my title very seriously, and I really like to know what people are thinking,” said Scanlan. “It’s been a real honor to serve this district.”
With the legislative session now behind them, Gibbs and Scanlan are focused on getting public feedback on the work they accomplished as they prepare for upcoming elections in the fall.
“I plan on going door-to-door and hosting a lot of town meetings to see where the public mind-set is at,” said Gibbs. “I also think it’s important for people to know what the state Senate is doing down in Denver, so that line of communication really needs to remain open.”
According to Scanlan, there were a record number of bills introduced to the legislature this session, proving that law makers at the Capitol remain dedicated to brining change to Colorado.