Colorado Democrats on Thursday elected
state Rep. Mark Ferrandino to be the new Speaker of the House of
Ferrandino, who last session served as
minority leader, becomes the first openly gay speaker in Colorado
The move comes two days after Democrats
won 5 additional seats to regain control of the House.
Democrats in the Senate elected Senator
John Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, as Senate President,
passing on Pat Steadman, who is openly gay.
“I couldn't dream when I was in high
school that I'd be standing here,” Ferrandino said.
In a television appearance on Fox 31
Denver, Ferrandino said the Republican loss signaled increased
support for gay rights, in particular a civil unions bill Republican
House leaders blocked last session.
“We saw such a great turnout because
of what happened at the end of the last term,” he said. “People
wanted to help, and the LGBT community really came together in a way
that we haven't seen before.”
“We found that civil unions had the
support of the people. So we really found a lot of people on the
campaign trail who thought that the House didn't live up to its
potential in a democratic way by killing civil unions.”
The civil unions bill is now almost
certain to move quickly though the legislature next year.