Last updated 4:55AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Ritter Delivers State of the State, Area Lawmakers React
(2007-01-12)
(ksut) -
HOST LEAD: Governor Bill Ritter laid out an ambitious agenda for improving Colorado's economy, education, transportation and health care.
He did so during his first "State of the State" speech, delievered yesterday during a joint session of the Colorado House and Senate.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports on what the governor said, and has reaction from some local lawmakers.

NAT SOUND: IT IS NOW MY PLEASURE AND HONOR TO PRESENT TO YOU, THE HONORABLE BILL RITTER, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF COLORADO.
VICTOR: Calling his first State of the State speech more of a State of the People address, the new governor made an overture to Republicans, saying Democrats don't have a monopoly on ideas, even though they control the House, the Senate and the governor's office for the first time in four decades.
He laid out his agenda for the 120 day legislative session which just convened, and his first four year term, detailing his goals in several areas to achieve his Colorado Promise.
Those areas include energy development, health care, transportation, economic development, education, public safety and government efficiency.
He says Coloradans have ``the opportunity of a lifetime'' to build what he's calling, a New Energy Economy, around renewable energy:
RITTER: ENERGY IS TODAY'S VERSION OF THE SPACE RACE OF THE '60S AND THE TECHNOLOGY RACE OF THE '80S AND '90S. WE HAVE A HEAD START BECAUSE OF OUR NATURAL RESOURCES, OUR INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES AND OUR ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.
On Health Care, he proposes establishing a Colorado Health Plan to provide every Coloradan with access to some form of basic health insurance by 2010, and he promised to take immediate action as well to address health care issues.
RITTER: IN THE SHORT TERM, WE CAN MAKE IMMEDIATE PROGRESS BY JOINING A MULTI-STATE DRUG-PURCHASING POOL, AND WE CAN DO IT WHILE STILL PROTECTING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS. THIS WILL BE ONE OF MY FIRST EXECUTIVE ORDERS.
Ritter pledged to spend a quarter of his time in Economic Development endeavors, and pledged to create a 21st Century Transportation System that addresses both urban and rural needs.
As for education, Ritter says he wants to start the state down a 10-year path of progress, which includes cutting the dropout rate and achievement gaps among students in half within a decade.
RITTER: I KNOW THESE ARE BOLD AND AMBITIOUS GOALS, AND HERE'S HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET THERE. WE'RE GOING TO ALIGN OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS WITH TODAY'S COMPETITIVE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE. WE'RE GOING TO PREPARE OUR STUDENTS FOR 21ST CENTURY INDUSTRIES - 21ST CENTURY OPPORTUNITIES - LIKE RENEWABLE ENERGY, AEROSPACE AND BIOMEDICINE.
And Ritter says he will create the Colorado G.E.M. Performance Review - Government Efficiency and Management Performance Review, to be sure government is operating properly, serving the people and not itself.
Ritter's speech did not include any budget proposals or dollar amounts for his programs, but he told the assembled house and senate members:
RITTER: MY BUDGET PROPOSALS TO YOU WILL REFLECT A SHARED VISION FOR COLORADO. A BUDGET IS A MORAL DOCUMENT. IT SHOULD SET HIGH GOALS AND REFLECT THE BEST POLICY AND BUSINESS PRACTICES OF ANY STATE IN THE NATION.
In reaction to the speech from Southwest Colorado lawmakers, 6th District Democrat State Senator Jim Isgar of Hesperus said it was positive and upbeat.
But Isgar says Ritter's biggest obstacle in reaching his goals will be funding, and he'll need the help of lawmakers.
ISGAR: HE DOES HAVE A DEMOCRAT LEGISLATURE AND HE'S APPOINTING ALL THE CABINETS SO HE DOES HAVE A LOT OF SUPPORT AROUND HIM, SO THE REAL OBSTACLE IN GETTING HIM TO WHERE HE WANTS TO BE WILL BE THE FINANCIAL HURDLES THAT WE'LL HAVE TO OVERCOME, AND LIKE I SAID YOU HAVE TO CUT PROGRAMS AND WE'RE PRETTY LEAN AND ITS HARD TO CUT PROGRAMS TO COME UP WITH MONEY, EVEN IF THEY'LL SAVE YOU MONEY IN THE LONG RUN.
59th District Republican house member Ellen Roberts says she is encouraged by his comments, especially about health care.
She says some of what he said about health care fits well with health care needs in this area.
But she wants to hear more details on that and other proposals outlined in the speech.
ROBERTS: IT WAS REALLY MUCH MORE OF A SKELETON, AND I THINK IT WAS NOT DISSIMILAR TO WHAT WE HEARD ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING THE SPECIFICS NOW THAT HE HAS HIS CABINET IN PLACE I WOULD IMAGINE WE'LL START TO GET DOWN TO THE DETAILS.
Ritter concluded saying:
RITTER: THE VOTERS HAVE ENTRUSTED US TO SERVE THEM WELL. NOT TO BE PLACEHOLDERS, BUT TO BE LEADERS. NOT TO TINKER AROUND THE EDGES, BUT TO FIND REAL SOLUTIONS TO REAL PROBLEMS. NOT TO ADVANCE NARROW AGENDAS, BUT TO BE AMBITIOUS AND COURAGEOUS.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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