Leaders of the Colorado General Assembly Join Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Competitive Council for 2021 Legislative Preview
Lawmakers Discussed Priorities for the Upcoming Legislative Session with the Business Community
DENVER – Today, the Colorado business community heard firsthand from leaders of the Colorado General Assembly on their plans, priorities and predictions for the year. The 2021 Business Legislative Preview, which is in its eighth year, provided a unique, virtual platform on which both parties can discuss directly with the business community what lies ahead for the legislative session.
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Brough was joined by Colorado legislators Sen. Kerry Donovan, Senate president pro tempore; Rep. Alec Garnett, House speaker-elect; Sen. Paul Lundeen, Senate minority whip; Rep. Hugh McKean, House minority leader; Josh Deakin, senior vice president and Colorado regional leader, Fidelity Investments; and Mark Spiecker, president of STAQ Pharma and Denver Metro Chamber board chair-elect. Ed Sealover, senior reporter for the Denver Business Journal, moderated the event.
“We know Coloradans can work together – and our livelihoods depend on it. We saw it in old ways and in new ways in 2020, and it’s why our state’s economy is expected to rebound faster than nearly anywhere else in the country,” Brough said. “We must work with the legislature to chart a course that keeps costs down and ensures Colorado is a great place to do business.”
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Colorado businesses have looked to the legislature for opportunities for both collaboration and relief. The 2021 Business Legislative Preview provided a platform for both legislators and business leaders alike to reaffirm their shared commitment to keeping businesses open, rebuilding the economy and creating jobs for Coloradans.
“The defining issue for the 2021 session is going to be how the legislature prioritizes recovery in this unique economic downturn that we find ourselves in,” Garnett said. “This downturn is unlike anything that we have faced before. It has had disproportional impacts on different sectors of our marketplace and different communities across the state.”
Leaders discussed issues ranging from transportation to health care to education, with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of discussions around these issues. The input of stakeholders, experts and the business community will be essential to tackling the complex issues Colorado faces.
“There are critical priorities for the people of Colorado that policy makers need to lean into. One of them is transportation,” Lundeen said. “In this moment, I would argue that jobs are the most important thing that we need to be thinking about, restoring and getting jobs back online.”
As both businesses and individuals spent much of the past year confronting and adjusting to a global pandemic, the upcoming session provides an opportunity for Colorado’s elected officials to approach issues that are critical for business beyond immediate COVID-19 relief. Lawmakers today focused on issues such as examining the effects of new rules and regulations and taking a measured approach to tax incentives and deductions, with the goal to ultimately help Colorado employers, employees and our economy recover.
“COVID-19 health recovery will not be complete unless we also have COVID-19 economic recovery,” Donovan said. “We need to make sure that we hold both of those equally as we proceed with policy discussions.”
Bipartisanship was on full display during December’s special session, and today’s speakers echoed the importance of a bipartisan approach on issues ranging from pandemic relief to transportation. Solutions to the issues that all Coloradans face, such as improving education and lowering the cost of living, are critical to improving the lives of families across the state.
“Everything that we are going to be talking about this session – whether it applies to an industry or a program from the government – it all comes down to what are we doing for our families,” McKean said.
With the unusual nature of the upcoming sessions – legislators will convene briefly this week, ultimately returning in February for the 120-day lawmaking term – both parties emphasized their openness for collaboration with the business community and with their colleagues from across the aisle to best serve all Coloradans. The virtual 2021 Business Legislative Preview was presented by Fidelity Investments.
About the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce: For 153 years, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce has been a leading voice for Colorado’s business community. With a membership that spans the state and includes 3,000 businesses and their 400,000 employees, the Chamber is an effective advocate for small and large businesses. The Chamber’s family of organizations includes the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, the Colorado Competitive Council, B:CIVIC, Prosper Colorado and the Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative. For more information, go to denverchamber.org.
About the Colorado Competitive Council (C3): Founded in 2005 as an affiliate of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the C3 mission is to preserve and enhance the competitive business climate in the centennial state. C3 develops policy solutions that benefit Colorado businesses and ensure that our state continues to be competitive locally and globally. With reach across Colorado, the organization’s diverse group of investors and collaborative approach to policy development lead to inclusivity and consensus.