In the News - 2021

Here is how Colorado's 2021 legislative session will impact Pueblo

Pueblo Chieftain - June 11

It was also the first time in decades that much of that power was concentrated with Pueblo politicians, as Senate President Leroy Garcia and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, both Democrats from Pueblo, navigated and negotiated throughout the Capitol halls during a session that focused heavily on bringing Colorado back from pandemic devastation.

  

“It just goes to show that we’ve really been able to have an opportunity to shape a lot of these important conversations,” Garcia said. “I’m really excited that revitalizing the economy has been one of the top priorities for all of us.” 

Crossroads hopes to build a new group treatment facility in Pueblo

Pueblo Chieftain - June 11

Funding for the program became available due to the efforts of Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia and Colorado House Majority Leader Rep. Daneya Esgar.

“The legislators from our area thought it was important to keep it alive. They stepped up and put a proposal together that was approved statewide, so now because we were able to save the program there are going to be three programs called circle programs." 

 

'Making Life Easier, Better, More Affordable': Gov. Jared Polis Touts Historic Colorado Legislative Session

CBS 4 Denver - June 10

Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic leadership at the Colorado State Capitol are celebrating a session that saw more major pieces of legislation passed than any other in recent history. Senate President Leroy Garcia said lawmakers didn’t come with a wish list; they came with a to-do list, and they did just about everything they said they would and more.

Where Voters Are Losing Patience with Lauren Boebert

Politico Magazine - June 10

“People here feel Boebert doesn’t represent their values,” says Colorado state Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat who is popular with voters in both parties. “There is a lot of passion around seeing her removed.”

Colorado lawmakers passed several bills that offer economic relief

Denver 7 - June 9

Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, described the bill as a product of several years of hard work and compromise, saying the final version that was passed involved a lot of give and take.

“I think it was being environmental stewards and making sure that we leave a better Colorado for the next generation, especially those of us who would really like to enjoy our outdoors and recreating and water and making sure that the lands are not full of plastic,” Garcia said.

Five stimulus bills pass Colorado Senate

Fox 31 News - June 9

Bill HB21-1262 provides funding for the Colorado Stock Show, the state fair and other agricultural events organizations across the state.

“Without direct support to the agriculture industry, Colorado won’t truly recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo).

Colorado lawmakers ditch bill that threatened Comanche 3 closure timeline

Pueblo Chieftain - June 5

In a surprising turn of events, the controversial bill that would close the Comanche 3 power plant was dropped after several Democratic leaders decided to incorporate various provisions. Board of County Commissioners Chair Garrison Ortiz had this to say: "We sincerely appreciate the support of the governor’s office and Sen. [Leroy] Garcia for their help on this. Locally, we appreciate the unanimous support from the City of Pueblo, the county, and others who have stepped up to oppose this bill."

 

With just a couple weeks left in the legislative session, there's still 200 bills on the calendar

Denver 7 - May 28

“I feel really good about where we’re positioned. Obviously, there’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but that’s normal this time of year,” Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said. “We still have so much important work to do.”

A landmark Colorado climate bill is on pause to look at impacts to Comanche 3 power plant

Coloradan - May 27

The Comanche Generating Station located in Pueblo, Colorado, has been providing power and jobs to Coloradans for decades. However, it has become part of a larger state-wide discussion surrounding climate change. Pueblo raised Senate President Leroy Garcia is looking to make several amendments before the bill gets a full vote.

Senate appoints former House Assistant Minority Leader Wist to ethics panel

Colorado Politics - May 26 

In late May, the Senate voted 34-1 to appoint Republican Cole Wist to the Independent Ethics Commission. Senate President Leroy Garcia noted in a statement that even though they come from different parties, he believed Wist was “an honest, principled man with integrity.”

Governor, legislative and congressional Democrats roll out initial plan for fed stimulus

Colorado Politics - May 24

COVID-19 has impacted every corner of the state, Garcia said, and even though the economy has rebounded faster than expected, the pandemic exacerbated many existing problems. "We have committed to use this $3.8 billion for relief for those struggling the most." 

“A lot of big items still out there”: Colorado lawmakers have a massive to-do list with only a month left

Colorado Sun - May 18

 

With several big ticket bills to push through this session, the Senate Majority Dems are unfazed and focused. When approached, Senate President Leroy Garcia resolutely stated: “We’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to manage it well.

 

US Treasury issues guidelines on how states should spend ARP stimulus

Colorado Politics - May 14

"Senate President Leroy Garcia on Tuesday added that since the law was passed, "we have been working diligently on investment ideas for this one-in-a-liftime influx of funding." He said lawmakers are preparing, in the last days of the session, to get as much accomplished on this issue. "At the same time, it would be a mistake to rush and potentially squander this incredible opportunity we have before use." Lawmakers are considering multiple avenues, including interim committees or a special session, he said."

Pueblo County commissioners remain opposed to emissions reduction bill despite amendments

The Pueblo Chieftain - May 14

"House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Senate President Leroy Garcia, Democrats who both represent Pueblo, told the commissioners that they hear their concerns, but want to try to amend the bill so that if it is signed into law, the threats to Pueblo are minimized.

“If these amendments don’t go far enough or if you don’t think they resolve the concerns as presented, we’ll contemplate other things," Garcia said during last week’s work session." 

Five Bipartisan State Stimulus Bills Receive Unanimous Final Approval From the Senate

Einpresswire - May 03

“The passage of these bipartisan stimulus bills are the culmination of weeks of hard work and collaboration from both sides of the aisle,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo). “I am incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short period of time, and I can’t wait for Coloradans to receive such direct, meaningful relief so we can all build back stronger.”

Tell it to the Chieftain: Ag praise for Leroy Garcia, Comanche talk and more

Pueblo Chieftain - April 30

"Although his plate is full as Senate President, weighing the issues and aiming to bring Colorado back stronger after the pandemic, he has not forgotten about any of us in Pueblo County," Chieftain staff assert as they reflect on Session 2021. 

Front Range Passenger Rail District legislation advances in committee

KRDO - April 29

"This district is based on the commission's model to have 16 members, various experts including those who would be non-voting members including someone from Colorado Department of Transportation, Amtrak and the BNSF," Garcia said.  

"We would hope that this commission would be ready to hit the ground running. Again, it's with a number of experts who see this as an opportunity." 

"I think we're very ripe for that conversation, given the conjunction. I think we can continue to invest in transportation, roads and bridges, but we have to to be wiling to have a conversation about the future of transportation in Colorado," Garcia said.

Front Range Rail District Bill Wins Bipartisan Support in First Hearing

Colorado Newsline - April 28

"Discussions on how Front Range rail would support our infrastructure, accommodate our growing population, lower emissions and invest in our rural communities are not new," Garcia said. "But we have an unprecedented opportunity right now with the momentum coming out of the White House and the Biden administration to make this a reality."

Garcia introduces bill to create Front Range Rail District

Colorado Politics - April 10, 2021

"Senate President Leroy Garcia hailed the introduction of bipartisan legislation to create, manage and maintain a passenger rail line from the New Mexico to Wyoming border with stops up the Front Range."

"'Front Range rail has been a top priority of mine since coming to the legislature,' the Democrat from Pueblo said in a statement. 'For too long Colorado’s transportation system has been underfunded and overburdened, leading to crumbling roads and horrible traffic congestion.'"

"We need a long-term solution that will address our growing population needs while ensuring people can get to where they need to go safely and efficiently," Garcia said. "High-speed trains connecting our state from top to bottom will allow for more residential movement and increased economic growth. I am overwhelmingly proud to finally see this project get off the ground and in turn shape the future of our state for generations to come.”

Colorado Senate OKs $34 Billion Budget

The Daily Sentinel - April 10, 2021

 

“Budgets are more that just line items in a spreadsheet, they are principle documents that reflect what we care about as a community,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “This year’s budget is the result of five months of tireless, bipartisan work to revitalize the state after a devastating pandemic.”

Op-ed: A tale of two cities, Pueblo and Commerce City, and the Colorado state budget

Pueblo Chieftain - April 9, 2021

Colorado is on Track to take its most Significant Step Toward a Front Range Passenger Train System

The Colorado Sun - April 9, 2021

 

"Colorado lawmakers on Friday introduced a bill that, if passed, would mark the most significant step the state has taken yet toward funding, building and eventually operating a Front Range passenger train system."

'Right now is the right time,' said Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat and prime sponsor of the bill."

"'I see this as a great opportunity for us not only to (show) Amtrak, but to demonstrate to our federal delegation, to demonstrate to Coloradans that we’re serious about this,' Garcia said."

Colorado Legislature to Consider Garcia, Esgar Pueblo Chemical Depot Redevelopment Bill

Pueblo Chieftain - April 7, 2021

 

"The bill was first introduced by Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, in February. It passed in that chamber on March 1. It's next stop will be the House floor on Thursday.'Passing this bill allows us to get land back into the hands of our county safely and efficiently. Now that this bill has passed out of the House, I am excited to move forward with our plans for Pueblo's future,' Garcia said in a statement."

Colorado Lawmakers Introduce Round of Stimulus Plan Bills

Kiowa County Press - April 6, 2021

 

"Our goal with this stimulus package is to get funds out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible," Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said in a statement.

 

"Coloradans have been struggling under the weight of this pandemic for more than a year now, so it's exciting to say that additional relief is finally on the way," he continued

Colorado Lawmakers are Creating a Fund to Raise Teacher Pay

The Colorado Sun - March 31, 2021

 

Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat who is also a prime sponsor of Senate Bill 172, called the legislation “a foot in the door.” He’s supportive of a ballot initiative to raise money for the account.

 

The highest average salary for Colorado teachers is $53,434 compared with the national average of $61,730, according to a report recently released by the Colorado School Finance Project.

Veteran Getting Attention they Deserve at the Colorado Capitol

Colorado Springs Gazette - March 28, 2021

 

In the Marines, Leroy was a mortuary affairs specialist, whose service included the battlefields of Iraq when fighting started in 2003. That’s the government’s way of saying he collected the bodies of heroes who died in the line of duty and making the arrangements to get them back to their family.

 

That’s not work anybody could do and not see ghosts in their dreams.

This session, he’s trying to create a pilot program to reduce the state’s rate of suicides among veterans. Senate Bill 129 would task the Colorado Department of Human Services to work with established nonprofit organizations to offer free counseling for post-9/11 veterans and their families.

 

Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill Moves Forward in Colorado Legislature

KRDO - March 28, 2021

 

Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia understands the gravity of this bill, being a Marine Corps veteran himself.

"I attribute my transition from the military back to civilian life in having resources and support," said Garcia.

Leroy Garcia's veteran suicide prevention program bill advances in Colorado legislature

Pueblo Chieftain - March 24, 2021

 

“As we recognize the immense sacrifices that not only veterans make, but also their family members — and Colorado being home to not only the United States Air Force Academy but a number of important military strategic bases and having the Home of Heroes here in Pueblo — in my viewpoint we as a state have a responsibility to take care of and address challenges that our veterans face,” said Garcia, who served in Iraq from 2001 to 2007.

State officials, lawmakers to hold statewide listening tour on how to spend federal stimulus dollars

Colorado Politics - March 22, 2021

 

Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said that rural Colorado and agriculture have had to face more than their fair share of challenges during the pandemic.

 

2020 brought historic changes to policing in Colorado. Here’s what lawmakers want to do next.

Denver Post - March 22, 2021

 

Colorado Democrats made it clear last year that they wanted to rethink policing. This year, they’re doubling down.

In the coming weeks, Democrats who run the legislature are primed to introduce a series of proposals that will, among other things, limit use of the sedative ketamine by first responders; limit and/or ban no-knock warrants; and, as Senate President Leroy Garcia put it, “demilitarize” police forces by restricting their use of military surplus vehicles and equipment.

Bill to Establish Veteran Suicide Prevention Program Clears Committee with Unanimous Support

EIN Presswire - March 19, 2021

 

"Colorado’s rate of veteran suicide is higher than the national average, ” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “As a Marine Corps and Iraq war veteran and a lawmaker, those numbers are hard to hear. This bill will ensure that Colorado upholds our end of the bargain by providing critical services for veterans when they return home from service.”

Colorado lawmakers consider permanent fence around state Capitol

Colorado Sun - March 18, 2021

“I don’t believe a fence says exactly what this building represents and stands for,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia as discussions about the safety and security of the Capital building swirl in the wake of destructive rioting. 

 

Pueblo representatives respond to county's 'Cattlemen's Day'

Pueblo Chieftain - March 11, 2021

 

“As a sixth-generation Coloradan from a long lineage of ranchers, I’m proud to support Pueblo’s new Cattlmen’s Day!” Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) said in a statement. “It’s important that we as a state recognize the significance of our agricultural industry.” 

From Clean Energy To Restaurants, Here’s Where Colorado Lawmakers Plan To Spend A $700 Million State Stimulus

CPR News - March 10, 2021

 

“Colorado can’t recover economically unless we invest in the long-term health of our communities across Colorado, from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Democrat.

Lawmakers plan to create Health Care Reserve Corps

KOAA Southern Colorado - March 3, 2021

 

Colorado lawmakers are working to create a new Health Care Services Reserve Corps with the goal of having a dedicated group of medical professionals trained to step in and help when hospitals experience a spike in admissions.

USS Pueblo crew members awarded $2.3 billion for suffering during 1968 imprisonment

The Pueblo Chieftain - February 26, 2021

“The crew members aboard the USS Pueblo suffered unimaginable pain during their captivity in North Korea,” Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) said in a statement. “After everything they endured, these brave Americans and their families deserve to be made whole again, and this decision is a positive recognition of that fact.” 

State reps preach bipartisanship, Southern Colorado focus in Pueblo-centric town hall

The Pueblo Chieftain - February 24, 2021

In a Pueblo- centric town hall, Senate President Leroy Garcia and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar addressed a variety of questions, as well as detailed their plans of looking past party lines to do what's best for Colorado in Session '21. 

 

"We have to be willing to work with anyone who is willing to get the job done," Garcia said as he spoke about building a stronger Colorado, with a focus on outside the Denver Metro. 

 

Op-ed: Daneya Esgar and Leroy Garcia want to continue to make history as Pueblo's state politicians

The Pueblo Chieftain - February 22, 2021

Senate President Leroy Garcia is determined to put Southern Colorado on the map by working with House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar to build economic recovery that directly addresses the needs of his native Pueblo. 

The pair remarks, "Everyone desperately wants to get back to the way things were before the pandemic hit, but we know that returning to “normal” is simply not enough for Pueblo. We need to build back a stronger, more just Colorado, where hardworking families don’t get left behind and where everyone has the opportunity to thrive." 

Colorado Senate Dems Chart A 2021 Agenda They Call “A STRONGER COLORADO FOR ALL” ​

Ark Valley Voice - February 17th, 2021

President Leroy Garcia wants to use the pandemic as a means of building structural economic change that puts Coloradans first. 

 

In his opening day remarks, President Garcia said, “We come ready and willing to not just recover from this pandemic and the civil discord that has gripped our nation – but build back a stronger, more just Colorado. Like the trials of previous generations, this pandemic has and will make us stronger, but it will also make us more connected, more human. Not because such a conclusion is a given but because we can choose to alchemize pain into purpose."

Senate President Leroy Garcia's Address as Legislature Resumes Work

Colorado Politics - February 16th, 2021

 

Good Morning, it is an honor to be here, and once again, gather beneath the golden dome of our democracy. 

While in many ways it is just a building, not unlike the countless others across our nation’s capitals, we are reminded of its symbolic significance and the sacrifice necessary to keep it standing."

Garcia, Holbert prioritize different goals but pledge to work together toward recovery in delayed 'opening day'

Colorado Politics - February 16th, 2021

 

Colorado state Senate leaders pledged to work together to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic but offered different priorities as lawmakers gear up for this year’s legislative session.

In an address to the chamber after lawmakers returned to the state Capitol after a five-week hiatus on Tuesday, Senate President Leroy Garcia called on members to use the tragedy wrought by the pandemic to “re-envision a community built on stronger ground.”

As Colorado House and Senate reconvene, leaders pledge funds for K-12, higher education

Chalkbeat Colorado - February 16th, 2021

 

In the Senate, President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat, praised teachers and child care staff as some of the frontline workers “putting the well-being of others before their own and pressing forward even in their darkest hours.”

 

Garcia said this session should be a time of restitution but also reimagining how the state’s institutions work.

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: What Should the General Assembly Focus on this Session?

Colorado Springs Gazette - February 14th, 2021

 

“We’re all seeing communities where [the effect of the pandemic] is being shaped differently,” [President Garcia] told Colorado Politics recently. While there’s good news on the horizon with the distribution of vaccines, “it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.”

As legislative session gets ready to restart, economic recovery tops lawmakers' list of priorities

Denver 7 - February 11th, 2021

 

Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, would like to see legislation aimed at helping families cope with their own economic hardships.

 

“We would really need to be able to respond to the urgent needs that Coloradans are facing, whether that’s housing or utility assistance, helping the unemployment,” Garcia said.

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo receives the first of two Moderna vaccinations for Covid-19

Colorado Politics - January 19th 2021

 

“We’re all seeing communities where [the effect of the pandemic] is being shaped differently,” [President Garcia] told Colorado Politics recently. While there’s good news on the horizon with the distribution of vaccines, “it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.”

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo receives the first of two Moderna vaccinations for Covid-19

Colorado Politics - January 19th 2021

 

“We’re all seeing communities where [the effect of the pandemic] is being shaped differently,” [President Garcia] told Colorado Politics recently. While there’s good news on the horizon with the distribution of vaccines, “it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.”

 

Three Colorado health care workers who moonlight as lawmakers say pandemic showed “why we’re doing this”

Denver Post - January 18 2021

Senate President Leroy Garcia is joined by two of his colleagues in health care, Representative Kyle Mullica and Representative Yadira Caraveo, as they pick up shifts at their local hospitals. "All of them had advocated for more accessible, affordable and equitable health care for Coloradans before the COVID-19 crisis. And now, Mullica said, “what this pandemic did is it showed why we’re doing this.”'

Leroy Garcia Tabbed for National Conference of State Legislatures Post

Pueblo Cheftain - January 14th 2021

 

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia Jr., a Democrat representing Colorado Senate District 3, has been named the immediate past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that seeks to support state legislatures and foster interstate cooperation.

 

As Colorado lawmakers reconvene, priorities for the 2021 legislative session vary

Denver 7, 360 News - January 13 2021

Senate President Garcia asserts, “Our time should not be wasted on political bickering and differences like we’ve seen in Washington DC. We really are expected, especially now with all the challenges that are being presented, to stand up and read and implement and pass meaningful legislation." 

Colorado congressional delegation’s reaction to violence in Washington, D.C.

Denver Post - January 6th 2021

 

Senate President Leroy Garcia, House Speaker-designate Alec Garnett, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar today released the following joint statement condemning the violent assault on the US Capitol and attack on American Democracy:  “American democracy is under attack. Nothing short of a siege is raining down on Congress, incited by a president who has refused to give up power after a free and fair election and enabled by those willing to turn a blind eye as our foundational principles are trampled.

Colorado’s 13-member Democratic Latino Caucus has big plans for 2021

Colorado Newsline - January 5th 2021

 

Latinos now hold two of the six top leadership positions in the Colorado House and Senate. Gonzales-Gutierrez was recently elected by her fellow Democrats to serve as assistant majority leader in the House, while state Sen. Leroy Garcia of Pueblo was reelected to his position as Senate President.