As 2012 wraps up, we’ve asked some of Colorado’s most respected politicos and political observers which GOP elected officials are poised to be influential in 2013. Here are a few of the most popular submissions.
Mark Waller, Minority Leader, Colorado State House
As the newly-minted minority leader, Waller will stand as loyal opposition to the Democrats, who now control the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s mansion. Perhaps Waller’s best move could be getting out of his opponents way as they introduce increasingly bizarre legislation.
State Senator Ellen Roberts and State Representative Cheri Gerou
These ladies are smart and practical enough to avoid wasting time and political capital on quixotic ideological pursuits. Beyond that they are experienced and a force to reckoned with. Despite not being part of the GOP “club” at the Capitol, they are likely to be more effective than all of the “club members” combined.
State Senator Greg Brophy
As we’ve noted in the past, Senator Brophy is one legislator who keeps it interesting no matter if it’s via his Twitter account or on the Senate floor. And, that’s a rarity. Sure, this Senator has made mischief in the past, but it’s his common sense perspective that bolsters his popularity. Plus, how can you not love a legislator who proposes to infuse your day with more sunshine?
Craig Richardson, Douglas County School Board
The Douglas County School Board members all deserve a round of applause for standing up to the petulant and childish teachers union, and Richardson is no exception. In addition to his great work on the board, he’s also incredibly accomplished professionally. He serves as general counsel to the El Paso Pipeline Group. Prior to his legal career, he worked in the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the Pentagon, and he began his federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow. A career naval reserve intelligence officer and decorated veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, Craig retired as a Navy Commander in 2009.
Laura Boggs, Jefferson County School Board
This is what John Andrews, Director, Centennial Institute, and former Colorado Senate President had to say about Boggs: “Tireless and fearless in advocating for parents and taxpayers despite constant harassment by educrats and their board allies. Attuned to broader statewide and legal trends as well; as we’d say of a good quarterback, she ‘sees the whole field.’ Her influence as a Colorado conservative has barely begun.”
Christine Mastin, former HD-3 candidate and current Colorado GOP treasurer
While Mastin came up short in her 2010 race for HD-3, she’s since made her mark in Colorado politics. Mastin is an immigration lawyer and serves on the board of SafeHouse Denver, a victims advocacy group. Her involvement in immigrant issues makes her a credible voice on immigration reform, rumored to be a hot topic nationally this year. All around, Mastin is destined for bigger things in the political sphere, we hear.
Colorado State House Representative-elect Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff
Navarro-Ratzlaff is no stranger to Colorado’s political scene having served on the staffs of Sen. Allard and Rep. Tipton, and having completed her tenure in the Las Animas City Council. Her community leadership has given her a broad perspective on the issues affecting her constituents. Importantly, her race was targeted by Democrats and she still won. We predict Navarro-Ratzlaff will be a force in the State House.
Colorado State House Representative-elect Polly Lawrence
Lawrence’s business background should come in handy as Democrats try again to push legislation that would harm Colorado’s small businesses. As State Rep. Carole Murray noted, “Polly’s extensive business background uniquely positions her to be a strong voice against the reckless regulatory and tax policies that continue to stifle our economic recovery.”
Which legislators are you keeping an eye on in 2013?
On the Horizon: 2014
Beyond these rising stars, as Colorado looks to the 2014 elections, all eyes will be on the GOP candidates hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall and Governor John Hickenlooper. With Attorney General John Suthers term-limited, the Attorney General slot is up for grabs, with his Deputy Cynthia Coffman currently a favorite to take the Republican nomination.