Author: Joey Bunch - October 23, 2017
Two Centennial lawmakers were the best in class of the 2017 legislature, according to the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. The two Republicans received their legislator of the year awards before sitting for a panel discussion on the state budget at the Streets of Southglenn last week.
South Metro Denver Chamber chairwoman Michele McKinney said the chamber’s Legislative Action Committee voted on the awards based on which lawmakers showed the highest level of support and leadership on bills and policies the chamber supported, including business-friendly legislation, transportation funding, construction litigation reform, energy and natural research.
She said the representative and senator have a lot in common.
“They are smart, they are thoughtful and they take a no-nonsense approach at the Capitol,” she said at the chamber meeting. “Furthermore, they have both shared a lot of their time with chamber members, and when they speak to us they remove the political rhetoric in talking about issues that are important to the chamber and business community.
“We hold those aspects in very high regard.”
Wist succeeded Tate as the representative for House District 37 in Arapahoe County, when Tate was appointed to the Senate District 27 seat last year. Both men won full terms last year.
Wist is the assistant House minority leader, as well as a sitting on the Legislative Council Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Legal Services.
McKinney called him a champion of small businesses and a defender of the oil and gas industry against over-regulation.
“Rep Wist has been an candid, open, thoughtful and, we believe, man-of-his-word legislator,” she said.
Wist said he opened to continue that open dialogue with the chamber to address the issues that slow the pace of building affordable houses and condominiums.
“Construction defects litigation reform would not have happened without the community coming together and trying to bridge the gap that divides us and plagued us in the past,” he told the chamber after accepting the award.
Tate serves on the Senate Finance Committee and Joint Technology Committee, as well as chairman of the Business Labor and Technology Committee. He has been a champion for reducing regulatory burdens on small business, McKinney said.
“He is known as one of the more knowledgable lawmakers on business issues,” she said. “… Over the years as a representative and now a senator, he has been a great resource to the chamber, and to several chamber members he has become a very good friend.”
Tate said he was honored to receive such an award from people in the chamber he’s worked with on legislation, as well as to be recognized jointly with Wist.
“I accept this award as encouragement to go forward and take those positive experiences and leverage those and deal with what might be the biggest issue of the decade, which is PERA,” he said, referring to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association system.”And hopefully, working with Cole again, we can use the recipe of success we had in this last session and try to come up with something productive next session.”
PERA is the retirement fund for the state’s 560,000 employees, including teachers. PERA’s 2016 annual report indicated that the retirement system had a $32.2 billion unfunded liability, which could mean future retirees don’t get all they’re expecting in order to pay current retirees.