Finally had my last day at the Capitol today, and I only cried twice. That's pretty good for me, considering I've been known to cry at baby commercials. Now I'm pretty sure you're not crying I'm leaving, and maybe you even cried when I got into office. But I can positively say it's been a privilege and honor to represent you for the last eight years in the state Senate.
I wanted to give my thanks to those of you who voted for me, volunteered, or donated to my campaigns. Thank you for believing in me in 2008 when no one had heard of me, and in 2012, when you received too many alluring (and deplorable) campaign pieces in your mailbox. And all the years in between calling or emailing your concerns or visiting me at the Capitol or my local town halls.
And also thanks to those who never voted for me, but let me know what your concerns were and how I might be able to help.
Together, we were able to accomplish a lot. Just getting elected in this district is a feat for anyone, yet possible when we come together as a community. Governing (in my book) is also a joint process, and I'm lucky to have had the best constituency in Colorado. We may not always agree, but at least we can talk and brainstorm together, peacefully. Because of that, I'm proud to say that of almost 140 bills I sponsored, 97 percent of them had bipartisan support. And the majority of them passed! Not all districts want that "purple" collaboration, but I believe we're better because of it.
So, what's next?
Well, some have asked me to run for higher office, some think I should go back into the private sector and actually make a reasonable living again. But for now, I'm really enjoying finishing my documentary I filmed last session about an insider's view of the state Legislature in Colorado - what the process is like from the inside and what it's like just being a senator.
Two things I know I'm called to do for now: educating people about what government is really like, and telling people's stories. Over the years walking door-to-door, it became very clear that most people just don't know what we do in the Legislature or how we do it. Not their fault, they just haven't been exposed to it. So I'd like to help with that, from the inside.
And there's no better way to do that than sharing people's stories. We live in our own bubble so much nowadays that we hardly know what our co-worker or next-door neighbor is really like. Can you imagine how much better we could get along with a bit of insight into others' lives?
So for now, I might be done in the state Senate, but I'm not done yet, as they say. You might even see more of me, who knows?
Very grateful to have served you ...
Linda Newell is now termed out as the state senator of Senate District 26: Columbine Valley, Bow Mar, Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, west Centennial and parts of Aurora. She can be reached at email@example.com or senlindanewell.com.