Colorado Concern 

January 5, 2015

A Letter from the Chairman

 

Colorado is blessed with a business community that cares deeply about this state, its citizens and our collective future.  The Western spirit is one where people come together and work hard to see that our tomorrows are always better than our yesterdays.

 

That balanced, bipartisan focus is what the members of Colorado Concern - as individual CEOs and as a united, forward-looking organization - have brought to critical public debates and issues over the years.  We have succeeded in bringing Colorado together to face and surmount tough challenges.

 

Today is no different.  Without question, Colorado's jobs climate is outpacing the nation as a whole, putting the darkest days of the recent recession behind us.  This positive trend offers us all an opportunity not to celebrate but to press forward aggressively now toward Colorado common-sense solutions that will place us first among the states - and a growing player in the global marketplace.   

To make progress toward this important goal, Colorado Concern has developed a strong and positive agenda for 2015, including:

  • Aggressively advocating for the economic benefits of our state's vital oil and natural gas industry - and the tens of thousands of jobs it generates across Colorado.  Responsible energy exploration remains under attack, and we will continue to stand up against these anti-jobs assaults.
  • Expanding opportunities for homeownership by reforming our state' s outdated construction defects laws - laws that prevent the construction of attainable, affordable condominiums, which are often the first rung on the ladder of homeownership.
  • Launching a statewide conversation about how to boost the integrity of the current ballot initiative process and protect our State Constitution from continuing to become a cluttered virtual coatrack of competing, and occasionally contradictory, policy preferences. 

Through these and other issues on our agenda, Colorado Concern's leaders remain keenly focused on the Centennial State's future.  Our mission is to ensure that the decisions that are made by our elected leaders, and through direct democracy at the ballot box, are aligned with a vision that leads to a healthy, robust and growing economy.

 

That is the prism through which we evaluate the success of elected officials, and Colorado as a whole. We publicly applaud, and financially support, those candidates in either party who embrace a business-friendly legislative agenda.

 

At Colorado Concern, "corporate citizenship" is not just a buzz phrase.  We strongly believe that the responsibility of business leaders is to become involved in the civic conversation, thereby being active and present in shaping the future of our wonderful state. 

 

If you share this vision, we would welcome your ideas and your participation as a member of Colorado Concern. 

 

We are fortunate indeed to live in a place where our economic vibrancy can and must match our unparalleled scenic beauty and quality of life.  We invite you to join us in this vital mission. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Blair Richardson

Chairman

Colorado Concern in the News

 

Tamra Ward

The following op-ed piece written by Tamra Ward ran in The Denver Post on Sunday, January 4. 

 

Coloradans voted in 2014 for divided government at the state Capitol. Far from a recipe for gridlock and partisan haggling, the presence of a Republican Senate, a Democratic House of Representatives and a Democratic governor offers a promising opportunity to craft common-sense, balanced compromises to address many of Colorado's practical challenges.

 

Like many of our fellow citizens, the 110 CEO members of Colorado Concern often scratch their heads when the political process bogs down in dead-end disputes and dueling soundbites. In business, robust debate usually results in a consensus on how we can proceed to grow our companies, serve our customers and our communities, and create new jobs. A win is measured by real results.

 

As a leader with an entrepreneurial background, Gov. John Hickenlooper often has stated a desire to find bipartisan common ground where possible. It's our hope, and confident expectation, that Democratic and Republican legislative leaders also will seize this opportunity because it's unlikely that anything can come to the governor's desk without support in both parties.

 

Consider specific issues where we know bipartisan backing exists and common-sense action is required: expanding opportunity for homeownership, supporting Colorado's vital energy industry, and improving our ballot initiative system.

 

Even a cursory drive around cities in Colorado shows that there is virtually no construction of attainable, affordable condominiums. Almost all the new units are for rent despite the fact that many Coloradans - particularly young families - would like the option of owning their home, and that often condos are the easiest first step toward a lifetime of homeownership.

 

Yet our laws today discourage the building of condos because the laws make the filing of expensive and often needless lawsuits against condo developers far too easy. So easy, in fact, that some owners in condo complexes are surprised to find themselves part of a lawsuit they didn't want and didn't authorize - which can prevent them from selling or refinancing their home.

 

We know that homeownership not only has economic benefits for the owners themselves, but also for their children and for the community at large. We also know that homeownership rates among minorities are significantly below those of whites.

 

Last year, Democrats and Republicans came together behind common-sense fixes to the laws that will expand homeownership in Colorado, but the legislative clock ran out. We are hopeful that a strong consensus will emerge again in 2015.

 

Support for the energy industry is also an issue that cuts across party, ideology and geography, and while ballot measures that could have crippled the oil and natural gas industry were wisely discarded this year, the threat to this vital pillar of our economy remains.

 

What's at stake?

 

A study from the respected University of Colorado Leeds School of Business showed that, in 2012 alone, energy development created more than $23 billion in economic activity in the state. This supported nearly 100,000 jobs statewide - from the Western Slope to downtown Denver. The industry also generates indispensable tax revenue that, for example, provides $200 million annually for our schools.

 

Responsible energy development that balances the rights of local communities, surface owners and owners of underground minerals has been the rule, not the exception, in Colorado. Our state already has among the toughest energy regulations in the nation that are critical to protecting the environment. We will be looking for any recommendation that emerges from the Governor's Task Force studying local impacts from oil and natural gas development to maintain this balanced, reasonable approach. Colorado literally cannot afford to drive high-quality, family-sustaining energy jobs out of our state.

 

A third area of growing agreement is the need to address the ease with which numerous, occasionally contradictory policy ideas are ensconced in the State Constitution. What could and should be simple statutes that can be amended or abolished instead are carved in virtual Constitutional stone. This year could be the year when we preserve our robust initiative and referendum system while protecting the Constitution from continuing to be a public policy patchwork quilt.

 

Whether it's the Constitution, homeownership, or energy, or a host of other issues, Colorado policy making has a long tradition of common sense and balance that, like business, keeps its eye on producing practical, reasonable results. We hope and expect that tradition to be renewed and strengthened in 2015, with the government Coloradans voted for producing the positive results that Coloradans deserve.

 

Tamra Ward is president and CEO of Colorado Concern, a state business coalition.

Reminder: Take Our Legislator "Buddy" Survey

 

Survey

As we prepare for the upcoming session of the Colorado General Assembly we would like you to share with us which members of the House and Senate you know - or would like to get to know - so we can create a "buddy" system.  We have created a short survey to gather this information.  Please click on the link below to fill it out.  You may select as many members as you would like.  We will compile the data from all our members and do our best to connect you with an individual you requested.   

 

We will utilize our "buddy" program throughout the session, calling on you to reach out and share your thoughts on key issues, as well as simply to build a relationship with our elected leaders.  Often our legislators are not familiar with how proposed legislative measures impact business, in a positive or harmful manner, and strengthening our one-on-one connections will be of great help during the session.

 

 

Take this survey

Colorado Concern Upcoming Events

 

Below is information on upcoming Colorado Concern events. 

Click here for more information or to register to attend events.

Thursday, January 15: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Lunch Hosted by Blair Richardson
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

RESCHEDULED - Thursday, January 15: Evening Reception Welcoming Blair Richardson as Chairman of Colorado Concern
5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Harman Hall, 400 St Paul Street, Denver

Colorado Concern News Clips

 

Development

Denver Business Journal: December 30

 

Denver Business Journal: December 30

 

Denver Post: December 31

 

Denver Post: December 31

 

Imagine a mail-in presidential primary for Colorado

The Denver Post: January 4

 

The evolution of Bill Cadman, who will lead the Colorado Senate

The Denver Post: January 4

 

Tax refunds at top of list for Colorado lawmakers during upcoming legislative session

The Republic: January 4

 

Education

Common Core's test for states

Denver Post: December 29

 

Denver Post: December 30

 

Colorado legislators want parents to get clearer idea of school safety

The Denver Post: January 3

 

Elections/Politics

State Representative District 13 Special Election Set

Colorado County Citizen: December 29

 

Denver Post: December 29

 

5280: December 31

 

Colorado legislators to address issues uncovered by Watchdog.org

Watchdog: January 2

 

More on the cover story: Tort reform coming before the Colorado Legislature

Denver Business Journal: January 2

 

With Split Control, DelGrosso Hopes This Legislature Will Be 'More Collaborative'

KUNC: January 2

 

Colorado lawmakers get back to business

9NEWS: January 3

 

Energy

Denver Business Journal: December 29

 

Denver Business Journal: December 30

 

General Business

Denver Post: December 29

 

Denver Post: December 29

 

6 ways to make child care more affordable in Colorado

CPR: December 29

 

Denver Business Journal: December 29

 

From Pot to Protests: 10 Ways Colorado Made History in 2014

Huffington Post: January 1

 

Health Care

GOP legislators thwart bids to expand Medicaid

KOAA: January 1

 

Labor/Employment

Denver Post: December 29

 

Wage discrepancies depress recovery

Pueblo Chieftain: January 4

 

Colorado minimum wage rises to $8.23 in 2015

Washington Times: January 3

 

Marijuana

Denver Business Journal: December 29

 

Colorado lawmakers to push for fixes to marijuana laws in 2015

Colorado Springs Gazette: January 1

 

Colorado Legislature to tackle legal marijuana issues one year later

Denver Business Journal: January 2

In This Issue
A Letter from the Chairman

Colorado Concern in the News

Buddy Survey Reminder

Upcoming Events

News Clips



Join us January 15 for Colorado Concern's Membership Networking Lunch Hosted by Blair Richardson at 11:30 and for a reception welcoming him as 2015 Chairman that night at 5:30.
 Click here for details and to register.
___________
Colorado Concern Board of Directors


 

Blair Richardson

(Chairman)

Tamra Ward

(President and CEO)

Ted Brown

Steve Farber

Tim Gill

Pat Hamill

A. Barry Hirschfeld 

Bill Hybl

John Ikard

Walter Isenberg

David McReynolds

Larry A. Mizel 

Dan Ritchie 

Rick Sapkin
Sylvia Young