Republicans in state Senate pick leaders

Grand Junction's Scott retains position as chairman of State, Veterans & Military Affairs panel

Ray Scott

Sen. Ray Scott will retain his position as chairman of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee when the Colorado Legislature reconvenes Jan. 11.

The Grand Junction Republican wasn’t certain if that would happen after he was elected by his Republican colleagues earlier this month as assistant majority leader in the 35-member chamber.

The chairmanship will leave Scott facing a slew of issues on that five-member panel, which traditionally sees GOP-sponsored bills that the majority wants to ensure gets passed, and Democratic-sponsored ones it doesn’t.

Other panels Scott also will serve on include the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Senate Transportation Committee, and the Legislative Council, which includes all leaders in both chambers from both parties.

Meanwhile, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, whose district includes Garfield County, will continue as chairman of the transportation committee. The Hot Sulphur Springs Republican also will serve on the agriculture committee.

The legislator who replaces outgoing Sen. Ellen Roberts, the Durango Republican who plans to resign her seat at the end of the year, is to serve on the Senate’s agriculture and judiciary committees.

To date, the only person known to be vying for that seat is Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker, said the new GOP leaders in the Senate, who hold an 18-17 majority, tried to change some things around from this year’s lineup.

“Our goal when making assignments was to diversify rather than concentrate power, which gets more of our members involved in the leadership of committees and strategic planning on the issues they handle,” Holbert said. “A lot of thought also was given to how the committee chairs and vice-chairs will work together as a team.

“It isn’t our goal to run a top-down kind of operation, but to ensure that committee members have a lot of say in what bills they want to sponsor and consider, giving them much greater voice in where our caucus is heading.”


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