In the News - 2013

Local briefs: Action 22 names winners
Pueblo Chieftain - Oct. 11, 2013

Action 22 recently announced its award-winners in support of Southern Colorado for 2013.They include Bill Long for outstanding service, state Reps. Leroy Garcia and Timothy Dore for outstanding public service, and to Karen Brown, the Garcia-Gehlhausen-Makepiece leadership award for outstanding leadership in Action 22.

Garcia in D.C. to promote conservation
Pueblo Chieftain - Oct. 4, 2013

State Reps. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, traveled to Washington this week to meet with members of Congress and administration officials to deliver a message from Latinos across the Southwest: Save the Colorado River.

Thousands cast votes in Chieftain survey: Readership poll recognizes top three winners in each category
Pueblo Chieftain - Oct. 3, 2013

Who’s the best in Pueblo? Who’s the top chef or bartender? Best actor? Top school mascot? Best teacher? Who throws the best community festival? [...] State Rep. and Democrat Leroy Garcia raked in top awards for best mover and shaker, most honest politician and best politician. 

This old jail in Colorado now houses homeless veterans
FastComany Magazine - Sep. 20, 2013

When it comes to finding a new life for decommissioned prisons, many tend to go the way of the spooky tourist attraction or to the auction block. But when Colorado shut down its 485-bed Fort Lyon prison in the rural southeastern part of the state, the community was reluctant to let the facility--once a major source of area jobs--fall into disrepair. So instead, lawmakers decided to try something innovative: They turned it into a transitional housing facility for the homeless, with a focus on homeless veterans. [...] Colorado state representative Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), a co-sponsor of the original bill to establish the homelessness program and who has also served in Iraq as a marine and mortuary affairs specialist, told Co.Exist. "In southern Colorado, somewhere around 12% to 14% are homeless veterans. One of the things we wanted to address is not just homelessness; homeless vets are homeless because there's an underlying issue, substance abuse, or [lack of] job training."

Hickenlooper applauds reopening of Fort Lyon
Pueblo Chieftain - Sep. 4, 2013

Fort Lyon reopened Tuesday as home to a new project that will work toward ending veteran homelessness, reduce chronic homelessness throughout the state and add jobs in Bent County.  The 550-acre facility, which served as a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, sanatorium and prison before it closed in 2012, will offer participants supportive housing, health services, substance abuse treatment, counseling and job training to enable them to transition successfully into independent living in the community.

After support from Gov. Hickenlooper, Fort Lyon reopens to serve homeless
The Denver Post Blogs - Sep. 3, 2013

The rural Fort Lyon prison facility, shuttered by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper amid budget cuts in 2011, reopened Tuesday as a repurposed facility intended to aid the state’s homeless population. [...] “I’m pleased we were able to get the new Fort Lyon up and running in only three months,” said Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, who was a leading lawmaker of the initiative. “My thanks to everyone in the Lower Arkansas Valley who worked so hard to make this happen.”

Fort Lyon ready to move forward
Pueblo Chieftain - Sep. 1, 2013

Thank you, Colorado!  After several years of hard work, the repurposing of Fort Lyon is coming to fruition as homeless individuals are welcomed to the campus in the coming weeks of September. As we hope you know, the Fort Lyon project will provide much-needed services to the homeless and homeless veterans who struggle with substance abuse and mental health challenges. [...] Early in the 2013 session of the Colorado Legislature, Reps.Tim Dore and Leroy Garcia along with Sen. Larry Crowder sponsored House Bill 13-1261, legislation to repurpose the Fort Lyon campus. 

Ag committee members bridge urban vs. rural divide
The Colorado Statesmen - August 5, 2013

Agriculture is Colorado’s number two economic engine, with receipts of more $8 billion in farm and ranch products in 2012. The legislative committee that has the most impact on that industry, the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, saw some of its greatest turnover ever with the 2013 session, with eight new legislators from both sides of the aisle. [...] The view of ag committee Vice-Chair Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Alamosa, is that members caught on quick and did the best they could. “It took a lot of time for them to reach out and find out some of the issues, but they did a good job. There’s a lot of learn.” Vigil noted that he mentored some of the new members, including his neighboring district member Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

Look! You can see the river now
Pueblo Chieftain - July 25, 2013

The view of the Arkansas River from a stretch of Pueblo’s nature trail just below City Park is no longer hidden because of the hard work of teenagers making a difference in their community while earning a scholarship. [...] State Sen. [sic] Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, toured the work project Wednesday before speaking to the teens as part of their educational segment of the program. 

Local briefs: 5280 magazine honors Garcia
Pueblo Chieftain - July 2, 2013

State Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, recently was named “top rookie politician” by 5280 magazine. Garcia represents Pueblo in the state Legislature.

Top of the town 2013: Personalities
5280 Magazine - July Edition

Rookie Politician, Editor's Choice: State Representative Leroy Garcia.  Much to the chagrin of his fellow Democrats, Pueblo's newbie representative, Leroy Garcia, held out on some of the party's gun control laws, including the controversial limit on magazines. [...] We may not agree with him on everything, but we have to appreciate his work ethic.

Old office building coming down
Pueblo Chieftain - June 14, 2013

The Colorado State Land Board is demolishing the old strip of empty commercial offices at Fourth and Elizabeth streets. [...] “It was an issue when I was on City Council,” Garcia said Thursday. “Now I’m in a position where I can prod the state to do something about it.”

Special Memorial Day service on the Riverwalk - May 27, 2013

Memorial day the time honored tradition of honoring the fallen soldier's who made the sacrifice in the line of duty. [...]  "We all need to remember not only those who are serving everyday overseas, but even people like firefighters, police.. others serving our community on a daily basis, " State Representative, Leroy Garcia said.

Hickenlooper visits Ouray school to sign school safety bill into law
The Watch - May 25, 2013

The Ouray Public School rolled out the red carpet for Gov. Hickenlooper and two state legislators on Thursday, May 23, for a bill signing ceremony celebrating new legislation which seeks to make Colorado’s schools safer by enhancing their ability to bring on board specially trained police officers called school resource officers or SROs. [...] SB13-138, sponsored by Republican Steve King in the Senate and in the House by Reps. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) and Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), passed both chambers unanimously.

Hickenlooper signs eco-devo, jobs measures
Denver Business Journal - May 24, 2013

Gov. John Hickenlooper is scheduled today to sign two bills that will get the state government more involved in ensuring the success of certain Colorado businesses and state residents looking for work. [...] Sponsoring Democratic Reps. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Leroy Garcia of Pueblo argued that the economic gardening program will allow the state to spend just $200,000 targeting local companies that can grow and contribute to the economy rather than paying much larger amounts in tax incentives to out-of-state companies to create jobs.

Economic development bills signed
Northern Colorado Business Report - May 24, 2013

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two economic development bills into law Friday.  The first bill, HB 13-1292, sponsored by Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver), requires state agencies to weigh "best value" when they consider competitive bids for state contracts and to consider use of Colorado workers and products in their awards.  The second bill, HB-13-1003, also sponsored by Lee and Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), creates a pilot program to provide management and technical training and consultation to up to 20 "second stage" businesses with six to 99 employees that can demonstrate significant growth potential.

Due for a raze
Pueblo Chieftain - May 21, 2013

The eyesore that once was the Naval Reserve Building on Northern Avenue is due to be razed this summer.  While a number of officials in government deserve credit for getting rid of this eyesore, including State Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar’s lobbying, the most immediate credit goes to State Rep. Leroy Garcia. Mr. Garcia was the city councilman representing that area who raised official consciousness in state government to act.

Naval Reserve Building to be demolished in time for State Fair
Pueblo Chieftain - May 19, 2013

Colorado State Fair officials intend to have the old Naval Reserve Building on Northern Avenue torn down in time for this summer's Fair. [...] The building has been an eyesore for years, with its board-covered windows and piles of old bleachers and corral fencing in the lot. Wiseman credited state Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar with lobbying to get the demolition project off the Fair’s wish list this summer.  He also credited state Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and past lawmakers for pressing to get the work done. Garcia was a District 3 city councilman when he began lobbying the Legislature about the building.

Fort Lyon rebirth highlights 2013 session
Pueblo Chieftain - May 11, 2013

Establishing a program for homeless veterans at Fort Lyon and winning approval for $193 million in capital construction projects are two of the highlights of the 2013 session of the General Assembly, state Reps. Leroy Garcia and Ed Vigil said Friday. [...] Garcia, from Pueblo, and state Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, sponsored the Fort Lyon legislation, which only passed in the waning hours of the session this week.

Fort Lyon bill passes legislature
Lamar Ledger - May 9, 2013

Legislation re-purposing the Fort Lyon facility just outside of Las Animas, Colo. passed both houses of Colorado State Legislature recently and is awaiting the governor's signature. [...] The amendment and legislation was co-sponsored by Colo. State Representative for District 64 Tim Dore R-Elizabeth, and State Representative Leroy Garcia D-Pueblo.

Pols give some details about new homeless center plan
Pueblo Chieftain - May 8, 2013


An amendment to Senate Bill 210 that will allow a residential treatment community for the homeless, especially veterans, to be created at Fort Lyon carries the full intent of the original legislation introduced in the state House. State Reps. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, discussed the legislative process with reporters Tuesday, after the Senate voted 21-14 to approve SB210 on Monday. State Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, was the Senate sponsor of the bill.

Pueblo Chieftain - May 8, 2013

The Colorado Legislature finally has passed legislation repurposing the historic Fort Lyon VA Hospital into a transitional community center for homeless military veterans and other homeless Coloradans.  The final passage of the measure came Monday in the Senate, where Pueblo’s Democratic Sen. Angela Giron spent a great deal of her political capital to see that the legislation passed. After Reps. Leroy Garcia and Tim Dore were able to tie the bill to another one which she sponsored, the Fort Lyon measure was approved on a 21-14 bipartisan Senate vote

Senate passes Fort Lyon bill
Pueblo Chieftain - May 6, 2013

State Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, said she was “elated” Monday when the senate passed a bill to create a transitional community for the homeless at Fort Lyon. [...] “I feel we had better support for House Bill 1261, but we did get enough votes to send it to the Senate,” said state Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

Rural school district to get grant-writing help
Pueblo Chieftain - April 24, 2013

Rural school districts will have a better opportunity for federal law enforcement grants related to school safety, according to a bill that has been passed by both the Colorado House and Senate and is on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper.  State Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is a sponsor of Senate Bill 138, which will require the state to hire a grant-writing expert to assist school districts in obtaining federal grants for school safety

Colorado champions school resource officers
PR Newswire - April 23, 2013

With one voice, Colorado lawmakers have approved a school safety bill that increases the role of school resource officers (SROs) within the Colorado Safe Schools Act (C.R.S. 22-32-109.1), State Senator Steve King announced today through the online portal, School Safety Summit.Monday, the Colorado House passed Senate Bill 13-138, concerning school resource officer programs, on a unanimous vote. In March, the bill, introduced by King, was unanimously approved by the Senate. In the House, the bill was carried by Representatives Leroy Garcia and Mike McLachlan.

Effort to repurpose Colorado's Fort Lyon prison moves forward in the House
Denver Post - April 15, 2013 

An effort to repurpose the vacant Fort Lyon Correctional Facility move forward Monday with the House passing a measure that would designate a portion of it as a residential community for the state’s homeless population.  In what turned into to a spirited back-and-forth among lawmakers debating the pros and cons of the bill, members ultimately voted 49-13 for its passage.

Fort Lyon repurposing bill clears House
Pueblo Chieftain - April 13, 2013

A bipartisan bill that would help turn the former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility east of Las Animas into a transition center for homeless people, including homeless military veterans, cleared the House Friday on its second reading. [...] Earlier Friday, the bill passed through the Appropriations Committee 10-3 to secure funding for the $2.7 million project.

Jackson, Evans memorialized
Pueblo Chieftain - April 11, 2013

Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, brought two memorial resolutions to honor the lives and work of Reps. Frank Evans and Bob Jackson. [...] Many Pueblo public servants and elected officials attended. Former Gov. Dick Lamm, former House Speaker Ruben Valdez, former U.S. Congressman Ray Kogovsek, former Sen. Abel Tapia, and former Rep. and current Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace were present.

A smart way to help the homeless
Pueblo Chieftain - April 7, 2013

Our proposal, HB1261, would repurpose the historic Fort Lyon campus in Las Animas to provide transitional housing, supportive services and vocational training for up to 300 of our most vulnerable homeless individuals in order to help end veteran homelessness, reduce chronic homelessness throughout Colorado and sustain an economic driver for Southeastern Colorado. [...] This community simultaneously will provide housing, assistance for substance abuse, mental health services and vocational training

Budget bill lauded, lamented
Pueblo Chieftain - April 6, 2013

State Reps. Leroy Garcia and Ed Vigil, both Democrats, amended the 2014 budget bill Friday to require that $3 million in state assistance grants be targeted to rural counties with high unemployment — a change they believe will help Southern Colorado. Garcia, who represents Pueblo, said the Colorado Department of Local Affairs was allocated $3 million in grant money to help rural communities diversify their economies.

A lesson in DOC tragedies?
Pueblo Chieftain - April 4, 2013

Evan Ebel's violent behavior while a Colorado prison inmate has state lawmakers looking for policy changes that might prevent a future tragedy like the murder of state prison chief Tom Clements. "Ebel should never have been released," state Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said Friday after reading about the man's nearly eight years in prison and his assaults on both prison guards and inmates.

New purpose for a national treasure
Pueblo Chieftain - March 31, 2013

A bill offering hope and opportunity for homeless veterans and the chronically homeless will bring new life and a renewed purpose to the historic Fort Lyon facility located near Las Animas in Southeastern Colorado.  HB1261 is sponsored by Colorado state Reps. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, along with 37 more representatives from both sides of the aisle, including Reps. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo West, and Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland.

Good news
Pueblo Chieftain - March 31, 2013

There was good news for Bent County at the Statehouse on Thursday when a House committee approved legislation to establish a program to help homeless military veterans and others at the Fort Lyon VA Hospital campus near Las Animas. [...] In Thursday's action, the House Local Government Committee passed the legislation 10-3.  The bipartisan HB13-1261 now will be heard by the House Appropriations Committee.

Fitting tribute
Pueblo Chieftain - March 28, 2013

A bill to repurpose the former Fort Lyon VA hospital and subsequently a state prison is scheduled to be heard today by the Colorado House Local Government Committee.  The bill is sponsored by Reps. Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat, and Tim Dore, a Republican from Elizabeth.  The bill seeks to codify a plan by the administration of Gov. John Hickenlooper to repurpose a portion of the facility into a transition center for homeless people--particularly homeless military veterans.

PCC teacher may abstain on bill vote
Pueblo Chieftain - March 24, 2013

State Rep. Leroy Garcia said voting on a bill that would allow community colleges to seek approval for up to 10 bachelor's degree programs could be a possible conflict of interest for him because he is an employee at Pueblo Community College. [...] "I have not taken a position on this bill because I still work for Pueblo Community College. I actually am requesting legal counsel to look under Rule 21-C, which is a disclosure that I would not vote on this bill," Garcia said.

Garcia pushing on Fory Lyon
Pueblo Chieftain - March 24, 2013

State Rep. Leroy Garcia on Saturday outlined his accomplished legislation and bills he is preparing to tackle at a town hall meeting at the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library. [...] Garcia spoke about his proposed HB1261, which would allow repurposing the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility near Las Animas as a transition center for homeless people, including homeless military veterans.

Bill to revive Fort Lyon moving next week
Pueblo Chieftain - March 22, 2013

House Bill 1261 will be heard in the House Local Government Committee next week and it already has 40 House co-sponsors, Garcia said Thursday.  That shows broad bipartisan support for resuscitating the former state prison and Veterans Administration hospital complex east of Las Animas.

New bill would repurpose Fort Lyon
KOAA Pueblo/Colorado Springs - March 17, 2013

A bill at the state capitol could possibly change the fate of Fort Lyon in Bent County. [...]  "The bill calls for using the current facility as a treatment facility where we can specifically try to help homeless veterans with not only substance abuse treatment, but also with vocational rehabilitation training," said Rep. Garcia.

EMT training
Pueblo Chieftain - March 15, 2013

Freshman Rep. Leroy Garcia's first bill to become law will create a new category of critical care training for emergency medical technicians. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the new legislation into law last week.

Hickenlooper signs law on EMT training
Pueblo Chieftain - Mar 9, 2013

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation creating a new category of critical care training for emergency medical technicians. [...] Garcia said the new level of training, called a critical care endorsement, is especially needed in rural areas where EMTs have to provide care while patients are being transported to distant hospitals.

Democrats to honor Garcia
Pueblo Chieftain - Mar 2, 2013

State Rep. Leroy Garcia will be honored tonight by the state party as one of its rising stars. [...] He was nominated for the award by the Pueblo party. In the nomination letter, Garcia was lauded for his military service and desire to continue to serve his community.

Letters: Critical victory
Pueblo Chieftain - Feb 24, 2013

The Critical Care Paramedic Endorsement (HB 1063) will allow for paramedics to provide a higher level of treatment in the pre-hospital setting. Given the vastness of our state, it will help improve health care, especially in the rural areas.

More than 100 gather for town talk
Pueblo Chieftain - Feb 21, 2013

More than 100 people attended a bipartisan meeting last Saturday to hear what Colorado State Representatives Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff and Leroy Garcia, along with Colorado State Senators Angela Giron and Larry Crowder, had to say about what's going on in the legislature. 

'Boots to Suits' aims to move vets into college
Colorado Statesman - Feb 11, 2013

Many student veterans go directly from high school into the military, and most lack business attire to wear to job interviews. [...] Garcia said what resonated with him about the Boots to Suits program was its desire to help vets move from military to civilian life, as well as its focus on mentoring veterans who are making that transition.

Governor, legislators key into business issues at the Capitol
Colorado Statesman - Jan 11, 2013

Reps. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, have introduced House Bill 1003 also as part of the House Democrats' job package. The measure would create a so-called economic gardening pilot program. Economic gardening is a Colorado-specific economic development method that counsels second-stage companies on growth.