Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia might be in line for a new “employee of the month” parking space at his day job.
The Pueblo Democrat recently introduced legislation that would directly benefit his employer, American Medical Response (AMR).
AMR provides “emergency and non-emergency medical transport” in Colorado, and “employs approximately 200 paramedics and EMTs and handles an average of 40,000 calls annually.”
Garcia is a paramedic for AMR in Pueblo, and recently told the Denver Post he wants the General Assembly this year to consider “community paramedicine to relieve the system by getting patients treatment earlier.”
“Some people are looking at it from a lens of just the pandemic,” Garcia said. “In reality, there’s more to it than that.”
By “more to it” Garcia must have really meant “more taxpayer cash” for his employers.
Garcia and State Rep. Kyle Mullica are the prime sponsors of SB21-156 which would create a “a pilot grant program to help finance the use of nurse intake of 911 calls, which involves nurses assisting with 911 dispatch for the purpose of diverting non-urgent 911 calls to medical care that does not require ambulance service or treatment in an emergency room.”
AMR submitted a background document to the legislature pitching their 911 nurse triage services for the very program in Garcia’s bill.
The merits of a 911 nurse triage program aside, Garcia’s proposal smacks of unabashed self-dealing.
Does anyone really believe Garcia would not be somehow rewarded by his employer if his bill were to become law and AMR started to collect grant money?
The fact no journalists have picked up on this story says something about what Colorado Democrats think they can get away with because of a complete lack of scrutiny from their allies in the press at the state capitol.
It’s not as if reporters were unaware Garcia works for AMR, the Denver Post reported on his work there just a few months ago.
That Garcia thought he could pursue this legislation without anyone holding him accountable is simply galling.
There’s another interesting political angle to this story as well.
Garcia has been mentioned as a potential candidate to run against U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in 2022, pending redistricting.
If he enters the race, he’ll have to explain to voters why he thought he could sneak taxpayer dollars to his employer and past the general public.
Adding further intrigue, Garcia’s number two in the Senate Democrat leadership, Vail State Sen. Kerry Donovan, has already declared her candidacy for Congress against Boebert.
No word on whether Donovan will support the Garcia Grift, but if they end up going head-to-head in a primary … let’s just say we won’t be shocked if this scheme he’s proposed becomes an even bigger headache for Leroy.