Answering FAQs of a Colorado state senator

State Sen. Linda Newell

Posted 7/10/11

Based on what I hear from constituents, I thought I could answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) that might help you better understand the Colorado …

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Answering FAQs of a Colorado state senator

State Sen. Linda Newell


Based on what I hear from constituents, I thought I could answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) that might help you better understand the Colorado State Legislature or my particular work as a state senator.

Yes, the Colorado General Assembly is a “citizen” Legislature and can be perceived as a part-time Legislature because it meets in session from mid-January through mid-May, but that doesn’t mean Colorado has part-time legislators. On the contrary, many of us in the Legislature work full-time, year-round to serve our constituents. Granted, some of us do more year-round work than others, but we all receive the constituent calls and emails no matter the time of year.  (You can see below some of the things I do year-round.)

When the Legislature isn’t in session, I’m still working for you — having town halls, open forums, visiting businesses, schools, walking neighborhoods door-to-door listening to you, attending conferences to learn about efficiencies and best practices in our policy areas, attending community events, working with stakeholders on bills for the next session, etc.

Yes, we do get paid: $30,000/year.  The last time I calculated it for me personally, I make about 75 cents/hour as a senator.

No, we don’t have staff year-round.  In Colorado, we have one part-time aide during the session only.  In order to be able to respond to you in a timely or efficient manner, we rely on volunteers who fill in the other hours during session and all the interim hours.

No, we don’t have funds for constituent services.  If we want to communicate with our constituents, we have to raise our own campaign money to pay for a website, email newsletters, and legislative updates you might receive on your doorstep.

No, we do not go to Washington, D.C.  We work at the State Capitol in Denver and work on state issues.  Federal issues are handled by your U.S. senators and representatives known as the U.S. Congress.

Staying connected…I wish I could meet with everyone face-to-face, but that’s not always possible in a district with soon-to-be over 140,000 people in it.  However, I do my best to be as accessible as possible to you year-round.


Every year during the session, I host several open forums and town halls in various parts of the district to provide an opportunity for you to share concerns, discuss important issues facing Colorado, and comment on potential legislation.  I also host district events focused on specific issues like my “Job-Seekers” event to help people polish up their résumés, practice their interview skills, and meet with prospective employers.  It felt great to use my HR background again and help individual people with some job coaching!  We got lots of positive feedback so we’ll be doing this again in the fall.

Recently, I hosted a “Small Business Growth” town hall to help people start or grow their own business.  It was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about resources available to them and to meet with experts to help expand their businesses. Last week, I hosted a “Buy Local, Be Local” event to help connect constituents with local businesses in our district to support the vitality of our local economy.

Due to the wide popularity of these, I will continue to host town halls like this year-round. You can learn about upcoming events by signing up for my email newsletter list. Please let me know if there are certain topics you’d like to hear about or if you have any ideas for state legislation.

During the interim, there are sometimes special committees to study issues that require greater focus and depth than is possible during the busy session. I will be serving as the chair of one such committee that is charged with creating more fair discipline policies in Colorado public schools so we don’t over-criminalize our kids while in school.  More to come on that.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve you.  I hope this has helped a bit to clarify your FAQs.  Please contact me at any time with questions, concerns or ideas at or (303) 866-4846.  Or you can go to my website: (under construction but available), my Facebook page or Twitter.

State Sen. Linda Newell serves District 26, which includes Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, west Centennial, BowMar and Columbine Valley.


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