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Last updated 7:37PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Area Lawmakers Assess This Years Session
(2007-05-08)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Southwest Colorado's two representatives in the state legislature are giving this years session high marks.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

ROBERTS: AS A FRESHMAN FOR ME IT'S BEEN VERY CHALLENGING AND EXCITING AND I'VE BEEN GLAD TO BE HERE.
It was the first session for Republican 59th District State Representative Ellen Roberts.
Only one of the bills she sponsored, to fix problems with the cigar bar exemption of the state clean indoor air act, failed.
She says perhaps her great accomplishment was shepherding a bill through addressing rights for surface owners in dealing with the oil and gas industries.
ROBERTS: CERTAINLY IT WASN'T JUST THIS EFFORT THIS YEAR. IT WAS JUST FINALLY REACHING A TIPPING POINT WHERE WE COULD GET SURFACE OWNERS BETTER PROTECTION, GET INDUSTRY INCLUDED IN THE LOOP BECAUSE THAT HAS SUCH A BIG IMPACT IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO.
Roberts also won approval of a measure modifying the process for creating Health Services Districts.
She says the measure should give many communities including La Plata County, a new way to address health care issues.
As for disappointments, she says she really doesn't have any that come to mind immediately.
State Senator Jim Isgar of Hesperus worked with Roberts on several measures including the surface use and health care bills and a bill he sponsored to reform the make up of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Isgar, a Democrat, found himself in a unique position this session as part of the majority and thus, ended up carrying 25 measures.
All but one was approved.
ISGAR: I WAS BUSIER THAN I ANTICIPATED REALLY. IT'S, I GUESS, BETTER TO BE IN THE MAJORITY AND BE INVOLVED IN THE DISCUSSIONS THAN TO BE IN THE MINORITY AND HAVE NOBODY ASK.
Isgar expressed disappointment though that constitutional fiscal constraints kept lawmakers from increasing funding for health care, education, substance abuse and prison programs, investments he says could result in greater savings in the future.
ISGAR: IT'S LIKE A BIG BOAT WE'RE TRYING TO TURN AROUND AND WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO SPEND TODAY TO MAKE THOSE SAVINGS IN THE FUTURE.
Isgar says Democrat Governor Bill Ritter deserves a lot of credit for the sessions success because he reached out to all lawmakers.
ISGAR: I COULD SEE THE REPUBLICANS BEING INCLUDED MORE THIS YEAR THAN WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST. THAT'S HIS NATURE. HE'S REALLY VERY SINCERE, IS REALLY ENGAGED IN EVERY ISSUE OUT THERE.
Roberts says that bipartisanship in part is what helped her succeed in her first year.
ROBERTS: IT'S NOT EASY BEING IN THE MINORITY IN THE SENSE THAT A LOT OF TIMES YOU AREN'T SUCCESSFUL IN TERMS OF THE VOTES. BUT PERSONALLY AS A MODERATE IT'S BEEN A VERY SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR ME PERSONALLY.
Roberts says she has learned being a state legislator is daunting task.
ROBERTS: THERE IS NOTHING LIKE SITTING IN THE SEAT AND FACING THE TWO BUTTONS, THE YES AND THE NO BUTTON. WE HAVE SUCH A DIVERSE DISTRICT, THE 59TH DISTRICT IS SO DIVERSE IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO VOTE ON ANY ISSUES WITHOUT HAVING SOME PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY WANTED YOU TO VOTE A DIFFERENT WAY. SO THAT'S PROBABLY MOST CHALLENGING.
She, and especially Isgar, say they expect next year to be busier and perhaps tougher.
Numerous interim study committees have been formed to work on various issues over the next year.
In addition to his regular Senate leadership duties, Isgar will serve on half a dozen of those panels.
ISGAR: SO I'M GONNA HAVE MY HANDS FULL GOING BACK AND FORTH TO ALL THESE MEETINGS AND, IT SHOULD BE A LOT OF FUN.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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