Gov. John Hickenlooper has urged Colorado lawmakers to show they can cooperate by passing legislation that would legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and by working to make the state more business-friendly.
The Democratic governor said Thursday during his State of the State address that "government should treat all people equally." He also encouraged lawmakers to prove wrong "cynics" who believe they'll struggle to compromise because they're in an election year. Hickenlooper also cited some successes from his first year in office, including attracting Arrow Electronics to move to Colorado.
Hickenlooper emphasized that the state can't afford to keep a nearly $100 million property tax credit for seniors because of the state's finances. He says that's another reason why lawmakers should concentrate on attracting business.
Here is the Governor's 2012 State of the State Speech:
When people think of the West, it?s easy to envision wagon trains, Buffalo Bill, the glory days of the Gold Rush.
Cowboy hats come to mind ? rocks ? even beer ? but let?s talk about hats.
John B. Stetson left Pennsylvania in the early 1860s, suffering from tuberculosis, and came west. He soon found himself panning for gold in the Colorado Rockies.
Fierce storms, without warning, would come up over the mountains and drench the mining camp.
Mr. Stetson saw a problem in need of a solution, and he had a unique skill. His father had taught him hatting as a kid, and he made a felt hat that could protect him from wind and cold. The other miners were envious. One fellow bought the hat right off his head for a $5 gold coin. A business was born.
By 1906, Mr. Stetson was selling 2 million hats a year.
Cowboys would sleep on their Stetson or bend it to provide better visibility. They would fill the hat up with water ? ever heard of the 10 gallon hat? ? because it was water proof on the inside. Cowboys still do this ? and even a smattering of our legislators.
The story of the Stetson is about one of Colorado?s earliest entrepreneurs. Of course, back then almost everyone coming West was an entrepreneur.
That same spirit is with us today. Indeed, in some way everyone in this room is an entrepreneur.
You came here because you believe you can come up with solutions. You came here ? under a gold dome that is getting a makeover of its own ? to be inventive and create a better future.
President of the Senate, Brandon Shaffer, Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman and House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino ? it?s not easy to lead a room full of creative and imaginative people, is it? But you do it well, thank you.
Thank you all ? every member of the General Assembly ? for your service to Colorado. Thank you for your partnership. Thank you for sitting together today. And thank you for the kindness you have shown my family and me this past year.
I?d also like to thank the ever cooler Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and his wife, Claire; Attorney General John Suthers; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton; Secretary of State Scott Gessler; and the distinguished members of the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Board of Education here today.
Speaking of good partners, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is here as well.
Our thoughts are with Chairman Jim Newton Jr. from the Southern Ute tribe who was in a minor car accident this morning. We are pleased to have Councilwoman Pathimi representing him. We also have Chairman Gary Hayes from the Ute Mountain Ute tribe here. Your ancestors were here long before the Stetson, and we look forward our continued work together.
I owe special thanks to my wife, Helen, for her steadfast support, and to our own little entrepreneur, 9-year-old Teddy, who continues to inspire us both.
A final word of appreciation to the talented people we have been fortunate to lure into public service as Cabinet members and the Governor?s Office staff.
Thanks as well to Colorado?s state employees. Because of this recession, you have worked for four years without a raise ? yet you continue to try and find opportunities to make our state more efficient.
This legislative session is not expected to be easy.
Cynics say it?s an election year and partisan fights will drown out any hope for success.
We believe the cynics are wrong.