Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 29, 20174min394

He’s in the middle of all the action when the legislature is in session. Yet, you might not even notice him as he pounds out press releases at his desk or confers with lawmakers on the floor of the Colorado state House. After all, his job isn’t to get noticed but to make sure others do — notably, the members of the Republican House minority.

Joel Malecka has been at it for four years now as House GOP communications director. He enjoys the job and isn’t prone to complaining, but when pressed, he’ll admit to putting in  some marathon hours.

The longest day he’s ever pulled: “The longest day is usually the budget, and I have seen the clock roll past 2 a.m. more than a few times. But … the day time moved the slowest — that was Sine Die in 2014. We had wrapped up our business and were waiting to gavel out and retreat to the end-of-session party down the street at about 2 p.m. We just had to get through tributes for the departing members. Tributes are where after 120 days of talking, members still feel compelled to speak at length about how much they love each other and are going to miss working together. If I recall there were about 17 tributes. For each one, nearly every member went down to the well and said the same thing for 10 minutes as the last person, literally for each person departing. We staffers sat through almost nine hours of tributes. All the enthusiasm to go celebrate the last day was snuffed out …”

What drew him to the job: “I am a pretty extroverted guy, and while communications wasn’t necessarily my formal background, it was central to everything I had done prior. And I really saw this job as the opportunity of a lifetime, to be able to work at the State Capitol with the elected officials.”

Relations between the two parties: “I think the seemingly endless coverage of partisan politics overshadows the reality that the legislators work together the vast majority of the time. I have found that while the two sides of the aisle may disagree on specific policy, they all want to make Colorado a great place to live, work and raise a family. I try to make that point as often as possible in conversations about politics to counteract the perception that all elected officials do is fight with each other.”

The biggest challenge in dealing with the press: “Learning how each reporter covers the legislature and their different styles of reporting. I have found that the press coverage is pretty fair and balanced in Colorado. I have made it a point to get to know the Capitol press corps and break down some of the preconceived notions any members have about working with the press.”

What he hopes to be doing 30 years from now: “…Hopefully my wife and I are near a beach with full scuba tanks, some clear blue water and cocktails waiting back home.”


John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 25, 20173min475

Republicans are the minority caucus in the Colorado House. It's a tough gig. In the year of the Trump presidential election victory, the House Republicans lost three seats, swelling the Democratic majority to nine seats. The chamber's committees are naturally stacked against perennial favorite conservative proposals. Vote tallies are often lopsided; the results just as often predetermined. House minority Communications Director Joel Maleka is clearly frustrated. The theme he has landed on for his regular dispatches isn't subtle. Here are the five running posts from the "House Gop Latest News" box at the caucus website:


Clarice NavarroClarice NavarroDecember 14, 20165min474

I’d like to start off by saying how thankful I am to be able to serve the people of Southern Colorado for another term. This election was different in every aspect, and — as in every election — there are winners and losers. I feel the people of Colorado have spoken, and we have a great deal of work to do. Nationally, we saw that President-elect Donald Trump won the electoral vote while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The difference could be debated, and probably will be debated for years to come, but when I view the maps and overlays for popular versus electoral, the argument for how our president is chosen is clearly the right one. This is actually the fifth time in American history that this has occurred, and it is the second time in this century. Most will remember Bush v. Gore in the year 2000.


Tom RamstackTom RamstackDecember 12, 201610min367

A bill to greatly expand medical research and speed up drug approvals sailed through both the U.S. Senate and the House last week with strong support from Colorado’s delegation. The bill was co-authored by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO1, with contributions from U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. It passed in the House of Representatives by a 392-to-26 margin and in the Senate by a vote of 94 to 5.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 17, 20169min533

In its history, the Colorado General Assembly has had an intimate number of black women serve in its chambers. Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, is one of them, and a sense of reverent accomplishment shows through when the Denver legislator tells her story. Williams is proud to be included among this small, accomplished list of historic minority women, because she knows what it’s like to be underrepresented. “I didn’t run for office for any other reason but to help the underserved,” Williams said. The Denver Democrat is in the midst of a campaign for Colorado's Senate District 33 seat, currently held by Sen. Mike Johnson, who cannot seek re-election due to term limits. A district eclectic in “ethnicity, geography and socio-economic status,” Williams said she enjoys serving diverse districts like 33, one not unlike her current House District 7. “Everyone wants a good education for their kids, everyone wants access to health care, everyone wants access to walkable neighborhoods and biking trails. They want access to clean environments,” she said. “But how those issues affect communities are very different.”