Faith Winter Archives - Colorado Politics

Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 18, 20185min6110

In celebration of Women's History Month in March, the acclaimed documentary "Strong Sisters," which tells the story of elected women in Colorado, is available to download for free through the end of March, its producers said Friday. Women have been getting elected to office in Colorado longer than anywhere else in the world, and the 75-minute film tells their story.


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 17, 20188min5370

State Rep. Faith Winter has released a list of Colorado Latino leaders who are endorsing her candidacy for a state Senate seat in the northern metro area, including Ken Salazar, Polly Baca and other well-known Democrats.

Winter, D-Westminster, is taking on Republican incumbent Beth Martinez Humanik, as well as unaffiliated candidate Adam Matkowsky, who is a Thornton city councilman

“I enthusiastically support Rep. Faith Winter for the state Senate,” Polly Baca, a former state senator from Adams County, said in a statement. “She has been a strong supporter of legislation reflecting the values and principles we cherish in Adams County. She will be a great state Senator.”

Added Alberto Garcia, the former Westminster mayor pro-tem, “Rep. Faith Winter is committed to continuing to work with our diverse communities on issues impacting Latinos and Coloradans. Her track record shows that she is working hard for the people that she has represented, first on Westminster City Council and now as a state representative. Her record on promoting fairness and inclusion in all areas of her leadership is something I want to see her continue to do as our next state senator from District 24.”

Winter’s endorsers signed an open letter:

We represent Colorado’s growing Latino population. We represent families that have been on this land prior to Colorado being part of the United States. We represent first-generation college students. We represent DREAMers. The Latino population is growing in both economic and political power. We demand leaders that elevate the voices of Latinos and work in partnership with our communities. One of those leaders is Representative Faith Winter.

We all support Faith Winter for State Senate District 24. We believe that Faith is a strong partner for Latino communities and we are excited to support her.

Faith has a long history working with the Latino community. From the early days of her career registering Latino voters on campuses, to training at the first ever Latino Advocacy Day and partnering with the Latina Initiative to get more Latina’s to run for office, she has worked hard to ensure representation for our community.

As an elected official, Faith has time and time again shown up for the Latino community. From starting the Inclusionary Task Force in Westminster, to increasing affordable housing, to increasing small business support for Latino owned business, she has been an ally and advocate. As a State Representative, Faith is working hard to pass paid family leave, child care tax credits, and equal pay – all are legislation that would have an immediate, positive impact on the Latino community. She also uses her voice to stand up for DREAMers. Last year, she asked the Governor to pardon Ingrid Encalada Latorre in order to save her from being deported and keep her family together

Most importantly, Faith has been training women, including many Latina’s, to run for office across Adams County, the state of Colorado, and across the country. Because of her leadership, Latina’s are now serving on city councils and on school boards across our state. Faith is helping build the bench of Latina leaders that will lead our state now and well into the future.

Please join us in supporting Faith Winter for State Senate District 24

“I am grateful for the support of Latino Leaders across our great state,” Winter said in a statement. “I work hard to uplift the voices of our underrepresented Latino community, protect families, and be a strong ally in the state legislature. Part of being a strong ally is knowing that being an ally is a never-ending process. I will continue to work with, be an advocate for, and engage in conversations with our leaders in the Latino community when elected to the state Senate.”

Those signing the endorsement letter were:

  • Cristina Aguilar, community leader
  • Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver
  • Christine Alonzo, community leader
  • Dulce Anayasaenz, community leader
  • True Apodaca, community leader
  • Colorado Springs City Councilor Yolanda Avila
  • Former state Sen. Polly Baca
  • Patricia Barela-Rivera,community leader
  • Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City
  • Brianna Buntello, state House candidate
  • Yadira Caraveo, state House candidate
  • Denver school board member Angela Cobian
  • Westminster Mayor Pro-Tem Maria DeCambra
  • House Speaker Crisanta Duran
  • Wheat Ridge City Councilor Monica Duran, state House candidate
  • Northglenn City Councilor Julie Duran Mullica
  • Grace Lopez-Ramirez, community leader
  • Joan Lopez, clerk and recorder candidate
  • Denver City Councilor Paul Lopez
  • Alberto Garcia, former mayor pro-tem
  • Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo
  • Greeley City Councilor Rochelle Gailindo, state representative candidate
  • Julie Gonzales, state Senate candidate
  • Karla Gonzales-Garcia, community leader
  • Sophia Guerrero-Murphy, community leader
  • Dusti Gurule, community leader
  • State Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman
  • Denise Maes, community leader
  • Englewood City Councilor Amy Martinez
  • Scott Martinez, community leader
  • Judith Marquez, community leader
  • Pat Moore, community leader
  • Ysenia Mora-Plata, community leader
  • Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City
  • Aurora City Councilor Crystal Murillo
  • Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver
  • Antonio Parès, community leader
  • Ray Rivera, community leader
  • Rosemary Rodriguez, former Denver city councilor and school board member
  • Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton
  • Ken Salazar, former secretary of the Interior, former U.S. senator and former state attorney general
  • Northglenn City Councilor Jordan Sauers
  • Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco
  • Former Sen. Jessie Ulibarri
  • Paola Urgiles, community leader
  • Rep. Donald Valdez, D-La Jara
  • Alvina Vasquez, community leader
  • Thornton City Councilor Val Vigil, former state representative


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 7, 20188min3810

A Democrat-led House committee gave another celebrated approval — along party lines — for a proposed family and medical leave insurance program for Colorado.

Democrats passed a leave bill out of the House last year (without a single GOP) vote last year, and it was quickly squashed by the Republican majority in the Senate, at is it’s likely to again this year.

Employees would be required pay in less than 1 percent of their salaries annually to be insured against having to take time off to take care of a family member for up to 12 weeks. To create a broad enough pool to keep costs low, everyone would have to pay in, even if even if their employer already offers medical leave.

The program would increase labor force participation, especially for women who make up most household breadwinners. For young families, family leave gives mothers time to heal and bond with their child, as well breastfeed, which has benefits, witnesses told the committee.

Leave also could ultimately decrease the number of people forced leave the workforce or rely on taxpayer-supported programs, including putting loved ones in nursing homes, proponents said Tuesday.

House Democrats designated it as their top priority and made it the first bill introduced in the chamber this session, House Bill 1001. Such measures are a high-priority for Democrats nationally to sustain or build on the  #MeToo momentum of female and lower-income voters this fall, in response to Republican leadership in Washington.

One of the bill’s sponsors is Rep. Faith Winter of Westminster, who is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton in the north metro district that could, ultimately, decide whether the GOP retains its one-seat majority in the upper chamber. Democrats have a nine-seat edge in the House. Winter carried the bill last year, as well.

Near the end of the four-hour hearing Tuesday, committee member Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said he wished a solution was a bipartisan goal, short of changing the majorities in the next election.

“I wish this wasn’t partisan,” he said. “I wish we didn’t have to wait for a moment in time where we reshuffle the board and see if this can pass next year.”

Rep. Lang Sias, R-Arvada, said there are bipartisan ideas, perhaps that could be considered this session, but they do not create “a government behemoth” insurance program. Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, said lots of small businesses already offer leave programs. He preferred that such an individualized approach for busienesses, “rather than the government mandating a one-size-fits-all program.”

Colorado Democrats, however, have at least one Republican in their corner. President Trump called for a federal program (paid for by the government) in his State of the Union address last week. He called it “an investment in America’s working families.”

If a federal program came about, the state program would unwind.

“I would be happy to have that problem,” another of the Colorado bill’s Democratic sponsors, Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, told the committee.

Chambers of commerce and most other business groups oppose the bill, said it would make Colorado less attractive to employers. Small businesses would face a new level of record keeping and regulatory compliance, businesses representatives told the committee.

Loren Furman, the senior vice president of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the state’s chamber of commerce, said a survey of members found many different kinds of leave programs appropriate for each business and its employees.

“Each employee’s situation is going to be different,” she said. “The best solution we see is working with those employees and seeing how we can meet those needs, based on the business that they operate (in).”

Small businesses would struggle to find skilled temporary employees for three months who would expect to have a job with the employee on leave returns, Furman. That labor force might not be available, and that could have a detrimental impact on some small companies, she warned.

Five states have implemented similar insurance programs: New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, pointed to an analysis by a conservative economist showing Colorado with a much more attractive job market than some of those states.

“Why would Colorado want to move in the direction of New York and New Jersey, when this would hurt the very people it’s meant to help” if there are fewer jobs, he said. “Why would we want to move toward the bottom rather than stay near the top?”

Winter argued that the employee-funded program is good for businesses, because it retains good employees who can return to work rather than quit to take care of a family member.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Rhonda Fields of Aurora and Kerry Donovan of Vail.

Donovan told a lunchtime rally for the bill on the Capitol steps that in the rural communities in the seven mountain counties she represents, if a person has to leave a job for a temporary family priority such as an infant or a sick family member, returning to the workforce is no guarantee, and it might mean a family has to move away to find work.

“It isn’t always an option to find another employment opportunity in a small town,” she said. “Having lost a job means you’re moving to a different community, and the impact that has on a family is self-explanatory.”

Fields promised a fight for the bill looming in the GOP-led Senate.

“I am ready to take this bill on in the state Senate,” she said to cheers at the rally. “When it comes us (Democrats) we’re going to fight for it. There are people in the building behind me who do not want to see this bill pass. They don’t want to provide benefits of paid family leave insurance to all people who live in the state of Colorado. But I do. They need to hear from us.”


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 5, 20187min3430

Middle-income families who shell out thousands of dollars every year for child care could get a little help from the state under a bill that is expected to show up in the Colorado House Monday.

The measure, which doesn’t yet have an assigned number, will be sponsored by Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, and Rep. Faith Winter, a Thornton Democrat.

Winter told of her own experience in looking for affordable, quality child care, once taking a week to scout out facilities. She said she and her husband worked two jobs: one to make ends meet and the other to pay for child care so they could work.

The bill would give families with incomes of up to $150,000 a state tax credit for child care, worth up to $400. Combined with an existing federal tax credit, those families could end up with an extra $1,000 in their wallets every year.

*The state already provides a child care tax credit for families with incomes of $60,000 per year or less, although the credit covers only a portion of child care expenses. HB 1208 would increase the amount of child care credit families with incomes of $60,000 or less would be able to claim, and for the first time, families with incomes between $60,000 and $150,000 also would be able to claim that state tax credit.

If passed, the extra tax credits would cost the state about $14 million in lost revenue; Winter estimated about 40,000 families per year could take advantage of the credit.

The bill’s biggest challenge will come from the Senate, where it has gained a Republican sponsor: Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik of Thornton. Although she is vice-chair of the health and human services committee, which might be considered a more friendly committee, the bill is mostly likely to head to the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee because it involves taxes. Should it clear that committee, it would likely next go to Senate Finance, perhaps its biggest challenge.

One advantage the bill has in the Republican-controlled Senate: Martinez-Humenik, whose seat is considered the most endangered in the Republican caucus. She’s up for re-election in the fall, and Republicans are likely to look favorably on bills that they believe will help her, and them, keep that one-seat majority.

This week, Winter and Rep. Matt Gray of Broomfield are also taking on the House Democrats’ top priority bill: House Bill 1001. It’s nearly identical to a measure pushed by House Democrats a year ago, and which died in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee last May.

Winter explained that nearly one in four mothers go back to work two weeks after giving birth, but child care facilities don’t take babies that young, putting pressure on those families to find alternative arrangements.

HB 1001 would set up a family and medical leave insurance program in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. That insurance program would provide partial wage replacement for individuals who need to take off work to take care of their own serious health issues, care for a new child, or care for a family member with a serious health condition.

The measure would be paid for through monthly premiums on employee wages of up to .99 percent, eventually bringing in more than $550 million by 2020-21. Its upfront costs in the first year are estimated at around $31 million.

Opponents claim the measure will drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado as well as growing government when it isn’t needed. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock told Colorado Politics that the measure adds regulations and that will raise costs, such as in compliance. “It’s the opposite of what the sponsors intend to do,” he said. Families are hurting because of rising costs; this will acerbate that, he added.

Not a single Republican in either chamber voted for the 2017 version, and finding any, especially in the Republican-dominated Senate, that will back it in an election year may be its biggest challenge.

One issue with the bill is that every employee will pay into the program, even for companies that already offer a medical leave program.

State Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who is unaffiliated but usually caucuses with Democrats, also opposes HB 1001. She told Colorado Politics if a company wants to do it as a benefit to attract people, “more power to them.” In addition, her employees told her they don’t need to have money taken out of their paychecks for a program they may never use. “And who are we to say we’re so smart that we can do it better than people can do it themselves?”

Neha Mahajan of 9 to 5, the national nonprofit that is backing the bill, told Colorado Politics that the program would supplement existing medical leave programs that pay 66 percent of an employee’s salary, boosting the pay from 66 percent to 100 percent. It would also extend leave from 12 weeks in most programs to 16 weeks.

HB 1001 will be heard Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.


Correction: to note that families with incomes below $60,000 would be able to claim a larger credit; a previous version said they were ineligible.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 11, 20183min9960

Sure, there were all the opening-day rituals under the Dome on Wednesday — speeches, promises of bipartisanship and warm greetings among almost all of the 100 members, who insisted they were happy to see one another again. But then there’s the real business of the General Assembly: making laws (well, and killing legislation; plenty of that, too).

And the House Democratic majority got down to business the same day, releasing its caucus’s first five bills — enunciating some of their top priorities for the 2018 session. An announcement from the Dems’ press shop boiled it down to, “work-life balance, rural education, the opioid epidemic and college education credits.”

Or, as House Speaker Crisanta Duran put it:

“A major goal this session is to create more opportunities for Coloradans to turn their hard work into economic security. …These bills are part of a much larger agenda to preserve and enhance our Colorado way of life.”

Here’s the legislation — a lot of it with bipartisan sponsorship — as read across the House clerk’s desk:

  • HB18-1001/Reps. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Matt Gray, D-Broomfield – Creates an insurance programs that allows more Coloradans to take paid time off to care for a sick parent or loved one without having to quit their jobs, or risk being fired.
  • HB18-1002/Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale – Enables students in the final year of a teacher preparation program to receive stipends for teaching in rural school districts with teacher shortages. The first of several bills to address the rural teacher shortage.
  • HB18-1003/Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood – Authorizes grants for education, screening, intervention and prevention services to address the opioid epidemic, which is now the leading cause of accidental death among Coloradans 55 years of age and under. Part of a package of opioids bills from a bipartisan interim committee being brought by Reps. Pettersen, Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.
  • HB18-1004/Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver – Extends a tax credit for donations to child care facilities to help increase the availability of quality child care providers in Colorado.
  • HB18-1005/Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan – Expands notification to students and their parents about concurrent enrollment opportunities, so high school students can get a jump on their college educations.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 10, 20184min90590

After being greeted by black-clad cold shoulders on Opening Day of the Colorado General Assembly, embattled state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, said Wednesday afternoon in a Tweet that he won't caucus with the Democrats, who have been nearly universally calling on him to resign his seat in the face of allegations he sexually harassed a fellow Democratic lawmaker and a former lobbyist.