Fri Jan 18th, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
Colorado said farewell to Governor John Hickenlooper and welcomed Colorado’s new 43rd Governor Jared S. Polis on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Polis is the state’s first Jewish governor and the country’s first out gay man as an elected gubernatorial leader.
Making the crowd laugh, his first act as governor was to take a selfie with the crowd of inauguration attendees. This moment, was just after he had taken the oath of office and just before he addressed Coloradans for the very first time.
Polis was elected during the so-called blue wave that hit the state, which has put Democrats in both chambers within the General Assembly and into the top state executive offices.
“My fellow Coloradans, it is with the greatest gratitude, pride, and optimism for our future that I speak to you for the first time as Colorado’s 43rd Governor,” Gov. Polis stated to the thousands of supporters listening to him speak for the first time on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver after his inauguration. “I am honored by this great responsibility and humbled by your trust.”
Through this historic election, Polis is expected to bring progressive goals into place for the state. A few of his goals include: providing free all-day universal preschool and kindergarten, expanding the health care coverage for state residents and increasing the use of renewable energies.
Not only talking about it, Polis is working on it, starting with reducing healthcare costs; he is sitting down and collaborating with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to round up ideas that will bring real change to Colorado families.
Not stopping there, he is also dedicated to reducing the state income tax. “Going after expenditures, reducing special interest tax giveaways and loopholes and using those proceeds to reduce the state income tax between three and five percent is what we think we can do,” Polis stated in an interview with Nexstar Broadcasting.
Speaking to the struggles he faced during the election, “I am grateful and forever indebted to those who came before me — who struggled for equal rights, who stepped up for public service in all its forms, who made the difficult sacrifices and worked faithfully toward a brighter future for our state, our nation, and our world,” Polis stated in his speech, thanking the governorships before him.
In a celebration of diversity and recognition that the state has, “our mission now is to make Colorado a place for all families to have a chance to thrive today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” Polis expressed.
Southern Ute Chairman, Christine Sage was in attendance for the swearing-in ceremony. Sage and Tribal Council representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe were recognized for the work of government-to-government collaborations that existed before the start of the inauguration. “I would like to continue the working relationship with Governor Jared Polis just as we (the Southern Ute Indian Tribe) did with outgoing Governor Hickenlooper,” Chairman Sage stated. In past government administrations, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has collectively worked with the commissions, departments and directors to ensure a healthy working relationship. “This new Administration for Colorado is going to work with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe,” Chairman Sage stated. “We will continue to communicate so that they hear our issues.”
Alongside the Governor’s swearing in and the swearing in of his Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Treasurer Dave Young and Attorney General Phil Weiser were also among the statewide elected officials who took the oath of office. This is the first time in 70 years that all statewide office holders are Democrats. Voters also gave the state Senate back to Democrats which for the past four years was under Republican control.
Lieutenant Gov. Primavera will take over former Lt. Governor Donna Lynn’s position as chairperson of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA). “Meeting with Lt. Governor Diane Primavera was communal,” Chairman Sage stated. “She would also like to save the [Ute] language, this is an advocate that we share.”
CCIA currently has eleven voting commissioners who all represent the various interests within the Native American community and has the Lieutenant Governor serving in the statutory role as chair. Within CCIA, there are four main committees: Economic Opportunities and Resources, Education, Health and Wellness, and Reinternment; that are fully committed to working on a government-to-government basis. They are the official liaison between the State of Colorado and the two federally recognized tribes in Colorado, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. According to their website, “our ongoing goal is to positively impact the lives of Colorado’s American Indians and communities statewide.”
To date, Lt. Governor Primavera will be the sixth woman to serve in this position and she is, “one of the most fearless health care leaders and patient advocates in Colorado history,” Gov. Polis stated. “I’m so proud to work with you every day.”
Highlighting how his administration will work together to address Colorado’s challenges, “we will always view problems as solutions waiting to happen, we will always value bold ideas and new approaches, and we will pursue our goals always with joy and with endless faith in the people of Colorado,” Polis said.
Bringing the inauguration to a close, Polis stated, “that if you have a bold idea and you fight for it with conviction, creativity and optimism—then anything is possible.” Leaving the crowd with a final thought, “let’s walk through that door together for every Colorado family that, like mine, like yours, is lucky enough to call Colorado home.”